The confusion over the “digital healthcare” definition

Posted on January 29th, 2020 by

If you asked healthcare professionals, industry experts and patients what they thought the definition of “digital healthcare” was, you would likely get a myriad of varied answers. Anything ranging from patient-generated data in wearable technology to companion diagnostics in genomic medicine is likely to get a mention or be covered by any one definition. Thus, the potential for confusion around the term and its true definition – if there is one.

Pharma meets big tech

In the pharmaceutical industry, the trend for partnership with big tech firms, whilst not new, has taken place at a faster rate in recent years[1] (Novartis with Microsoft, Roche with Spark Therapeutics, Pfizer and IBM to name a few). So, where does the integration of pharma and healthcare organisations with big tech end? And where does digital healthcare on its own merit begin? Is there even a difference?

According to the Digital Therapeutics Alliance , [i]for digital healthcare to distinguish itself from other healthcare categories:

“its primary function should be delivering software-generated therapeutic interventions directly to patients to prevent, manage or treat a medical disorder or disease”.[2]

This could more or less read: “all the above” as a correct definition from the industry’s biggest consortium of commercial leaders. At the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference that took place on the 13th-16th January 2020, the themes of this breadth of inclusion in the term’s definition, the potential confusion it causes and how it might be hurting the sector were big topics.[3]

Because of the diverse approaches to the definition, there are big differences in quality and strategy from many new companies dabbling in digital healthcare. We are yet to see how many of these can be successful.

Old technologies

It has also been questioned whether an industry that still uses fax machines in daily communications is ready for the digital innovation available. One counter argument is that fax machines and other ubiquitous “dinosaur/retro” technologies still used in healthcare today are reliable, easy to operate and fix – if it works for healthcare professionals and patients, does it need to be replaced by something new at all? (medDigital have written an article about the “dark side” of using fax machines on the medCrowd blog).

At the JP Morgan conference, American Medical Association CEO James Madara said that better curation is needed in order to help healthcare professionals make informed decisions about recommending new technologies under the label of “digital healthcare” to patients.

There has been no consensus as to whether this broad scope has a potential to harm the sector. The question remains: how would defining “digital health” in a more nuanced way add value to the healthcare sector? Could it be defined and differentiated from other healthcare as succinctly as say, champagne is distinguished from all other drinks on the market?

What the future holds

The truth is probably that time will tell. Digital healthcare has arguably been integrating itself into everyday clinical practice and healthcare research for many decades now. So, its increased umbrella use by emerging partnerships and innovations may help distinguish its application eventually. As time goes on, this could transform it from an aspiration today into a well-defined entity in the future.

What do you think the definition of digital healthcare is?





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Benefits of social listening

Posted on September 26th, 2019 by

From communications to education and access to information, social media are serving many needs of modern life, in a fast and efficient manner. Not only the public, but also healthcare professionals (HCPs) are joining online communities where they can read articles about new research for their medical development, share practice issues and cases, consult colleagues and network with their peers.

Notably, studies show that internet usage among HCPs worldwide exceeds 80%! To meet this demand for social interaction on the web, alongside the giants Twitter and LinkedIn, several HCP-focused social networks, such as Sermo, Doximity and QuantiaMD, have emerged.

As a result, there is a vast amount of information flowing through the web sphere that the pharma industry can turn into meaningful insights by performing what is called “social listening”: the process of monitoring digital conversations to understand what people are saying about a company, their products and a therapy area online.

What are the benefits?

Prepare ahead of scientific congresses and analyse post-congresses

Monitoring of the conversations among clinicians and researchers prior to the congress enables pharma teams to understand the key scientific trends, medical needs and challenges their customers have, and shape their activity at the meeting. Furthermore, continuing analysis of social activity post-meeting can provide information about exceptional engagement, negative or positive feedback and healthcare teams worth engaging with. This analysis could also serve as a benchmark to check against the industry’s strategies and offer key learnings for the future. Furthermore, post-meeting discussions could be initiated with the aim to collect specific insights, through the use of platforms that facilitate communication in a compliant manner, such as medCrowd.

Identify key opinion leaders

Monitoring users’ activity, conversations and engagement contributes to the identification of Key Engagement Experts (KEEs). In fact, the term KEE has lately been replaced by the term Connected Engagements Expert (CEE), as the type of thought leader with influencing power among the social networks. CEEs are established in their field, own a large following and drive conversations using their expertise and reputation.

Plan release of medical publications and follow reactions

Social listening also means being able to analyse the seasonality of conversations, discussions around journals and current research trends, and identify the most suitable timing for a publication. Moreover, it enables outcome forecasting of new data, and how they will be accepted by the scientific community. This is largely based on analysing the public’s perception of competitors’ products. The online “voice” post-publication can also reflect how well a new study was perceived by the community.

Market research and competitive analysis

Social listening can provide insights related to the performance of competitors’ activities, for example a conference campaign or the publication of the data from a new trial. Therefore, pharma companies can understand the competitive landscape and re-evaluate their own strategy. Understanding the landscape may also reveal niches of innovation that pharma companies can consider expanding into, for instance a new unmet medical need or a new collaboration opportunity.

How can I achieve insightful social listening?

Monitoring of discussions, engagement and impressions can offer insights that would have been hard to extract with the limited resources just a decade ago. Specialised social listening programs have been developed, including Brandwatch and Crimson Hexagon, Digimind, Linkfluence and NetBase. Remarkably, Symplur is a healthcare-focused social listening tool that gathers data from Twitter to find out what people are talking about in any given therapy area, what are the key trends and who are the main influencers.

In this digital era, it is important that pharma companies leverage the potential of social media efficiently and securely, in order to effectively reach a broader audience, gather insights and achieve their goals.

Contact us to find out more about how we can support you with gathering the most relevant insights!

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6 steps to creating medical content that will truly meet your customers’ needs

Posted on August 29th, 2019 by

Developing engaging, factual and high-quality content can be challenging, particularly in the heavily regulated pharmaceutical industry. As healthcare professionals and patients adapt to the internet of things (IoT) era, their expectations around access to information are continuously evolving.  At least 8 out of 10 people turn to search engines as their first source for health information1, so how do we develop medical content that meets your customers’ needs and stands out from the crowd?

Develop a clear content strategy

Whilst marketers spend months each year brand planning, it can be easy for medical teams to skip the content planning phase. However, developing a clear strategy to identify the objectives of the content you are looking to create is key to success. You can start by answering the following questions:

  • Who is your intended audience?
  • What topics do you want to share as a thought leader in your field?
  • Which platforms are you going to use to share this content?
  • What story are you trying to tell?
  • How will you make sure this content stands-out?
  • Which initiatives are you looking to support with this content?
  • What are your key performance indicators?

Seek advice and collaborate

In order to ensure your content is of the highest quality you need to make sure it resonates with your intended audience.  The best way to do this is to engage with customers to get their feedback on your ideas and throughout the content development lifecycle. This ensures that the content you are producing not only meets your objectives but theirs too. You could do this by setting up a steering committee online using platforms like our very own conversation tool medCrowd.

Plan for approvals          

One potential barrier to creating engaging content is the approval process, which can be challenging and lengthy. Streamline the process by engaging reviewers early in your plans and getting their buy in to your approach. Ensure content is code-compliant and referenced properly before it goes into the approval system.

Do your research and make sure it’s authentic

It is often perceived that most medical content is produced by marketers. While it is true that we need to learn from our marketing colleagues and make sure that content is easy to understand and digest, we also need to make sure it doesn’t come across as too promotional. Medical content should be well researched and referenced as well as being factual. The real benefit comes from translating these facts into something meaningful for the audience with insights about how it will change their lives, practice or understanding.

Make sure it’s accessible

Having an engaging piece of content is only half the job. It’s only valuable if customers can access it. It’s key to make sure you have a dissemination plan to communicate your asset both internally and externally.

Measure performance and adapt

After your asset has been available for a while, it’s important to reflect on the performance against your key performance indicators. Use these insights to adapt your content strategy accordingly and keep creating meaningful content!

Contact us to find out more about how we can support you with creating insightful medical content.  



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medDigital are hiring a Senior Client Relationship Manager!

Posted on July 26th, 2019 by

****Applications now closed****

medDigital is a specialist medical communications agency for the life sciences industry. 

We are a team with expertise in many therapy areas who specialize in digital. We combine insightful science with seamless digital communications to transform patients’ lives.

We have also developed medCrowd, the instant messenger for health and care that protects confidential information to the required standards, which is being used by health and care professionals all over the world.

Client Relationship Manager or Senior Account Manager

Due to our continued international growth, we are looking for someone who wants to progress their career in a dynamic and exciting environment. You will be working with both our internal team and our clients within the life sciences industry, this is an opportunity to take on a varied and interesting role. If you want digital communications to transform patients’ lives, then you will fit in well with our team. Your role will involve:

Client Relationships

  • Working with our clients to build strong relationships and help them get the work done.
  • Leading regular client meetings with our team to help keep projects on track.
  • Overseeing project estimates and budgets. 
  • Supporting pitches and new business proposals.
  • Optimising sales and account management process to constantly improve how we work. 
  • Identifying new opportunities with clients.
  • Help the medDigital team to exceed client expectations.

What do I need to apply?

  • 3+ years experience leading client projects in medical or healthcare communications, advertising or PR within the life sciences industry. 
  • Excellent organisational skills.
  • Flexibility whilst working under pressure.

What is desired?

  • Experience leading digital activities, such as website content, Facebook pages or Twitter accounts with the life science industry.
  • Familiarity with agile ways of working.
  • A scientific background is a plus but not essential as our team of Scientific Advisors will be on hand to work with you.

What qualifications or authorisations do I need?

  • Minimum of 3+ years of relevant experience.
  • UK work authorisation.

Where will I be based?
You will be based at our office on the London South Bank with skyline views, great events and free beer! Flexible working is also available. You will also need to visit our clients’ offices from time to time which may involve international travel.


  • Competitive salary
  • 6% qualifying earnings employer contribution PQM pension
  • Private healthcare with BUPA
  • Life Insurance (5x your basic annual salary)
  • Generous 25-day annual leave allowance
  • £500/year training allocation
  • Team reward activities
  • Laptop and current mobile phone
  • Perkbox perks!

How can you apply?
To apply please send your CV to and complete our on-line application form:  

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Creating compelling scientific videos for social media

Posted on July 16th, 2019 by

Social media presents a fantastic opportunity for keeping in touch with your wider audiences. Posting videos can be especially useful for sharing engaging educational content, highlights from conferences or key updates on a therapy area. But with many social media users scrolling through hundreds of posts per session, you have to be savvy to draw someone in and keep them interested.

Remember that viewers on social media may not understand complex topics and scientific language, so it is important to explain information in a clear and simple way. Imagine you are telling the viewer a story. This format helps to keep the viewer engaged while making sure that the flow of the information is easy to follow.

1. Have a clear beginning, middle and end

When conveying the story, it is important to have a clear beginning, middle and end. Try to share the ‘why’ before the ‘how’, so that each point clearly and simply leads on to the next. This will help to keep the viewer engaged and interested throughout the video. 

2. Avoid jargon

Viewers on social media may not understand specialized scientific terms. It is important to keep messages simple and to avoid jargon. One way to reduce specialized vocabulary is to consider your language through the eyes of someone you know – perhaps someone without a professional science background at all. 

3. Be light on the detail

Try to resist explaining too much too soon. If detail is not directly relevant to your key points, it is best to avoid including this completely. If the detail is essential, make sure that you share this only once the viewer understands the basic concept.

4. Use analogies and examples

Using examples and analogies can help a viewer to understand complex topics, as it gives them a frame of reference. Even if an analogy is not 100% accurate, it may help to get your point across without confusing the viewer. 

5. Talk to the viewer as an individual

Using the first person as much as possible is important when trying to educate. It helps to keep the viewer engaged, which is key when discussing a complex topic.

6. Make the content relevant

Why is the topic important to the viewer? As interesting as the science may be, public audiences are not likely to engage unless it has relevance to them. Try explaining the end goal of the research or how it could directly impact patients, even if this is far in the future. 

Interested in creating a compelling scientific video? At medDigital we love turning complex science into powerful and digestible content. We offer a range of content services that can support you in engaging your audiences.

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medDigital insights in the Journal of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine!

Posted on June 7th, 2019 by

medDigital logo on frosted glass

Last Monday, we were thrilled to find out that the medDigital article “Enabling the Digital Health Innovators” was published in the lead column of the Journal of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine (JFPM)!

The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine (FPM) is an organisation that brings together around 1,500 medically qualified members of three colleges of physicians in the UK:

  • The Royal College of Physicians of London
  • The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
  • The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow

medDigital fully align with the mission of FPM “to advance the science and practice of pharmaceutical medicine by working to develop and maintain competence, ethics and integrity and the highest professional standards in the specialty for the benefit of the public”. FPM members work in diverse areas in order to achieve this, from clinical trials, pharmaceutical marketing and regulatory affairs. They aim to improve health of the public through their activities, including discovery, development, evaluation, licensing and monitoring of medicines.

In our article, we wanted to highlight the importance of digital innovations in healthcare and offer an overview of the support available in the UK environment. We believe that all modern healthcare systems, including the NHS, should adapt to the technological developments in order to ensure patients receive the care they need, quickly and efficiently. For instance, in 2018 and early 2019 we have seen numerous medical applications (Apps), wearables, virtual reality systems emerging in the healthcare start-up environment. These new technologies are enabling real-time diagnosis, tele-monitoring of symptoms and health progress tracking. In our article we listed organisations and initiatives, such as DigitalHealth.London Accelerator, Health Foundry, Digital Catapult and MedCity who are doing the essential work of offering useful services and shaping the right ecosystem for digital innovations to flourish.

Transforming patients’ lives is at the heart of all the work we do at medDigital. We believe that insightful science combined with digital means can upgrade health and we are advocates of the digital movement in healthcare and its supporters.

Are you interested in Digital Health Innovators? Read our article on page 4 of FPM, edition 4, summer 2019!

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