eyeforpharma 2018 – VR in the pharmaceutical industry

Posted on October 22nd, 2018 by


Does Virtual Reality have a place in the pharmaceutical industry? At medDigital we certainly think so. And as the AR/VR sponsor at this year’s eyeforpharma Marketing and Customer Innovation conference, we were thrilled to see so many presentations, practical demonstrations and discussions dedicated to discussing this question.


Joerg Schaub (Eli Lily) began the discussion, asking “Virtual reality: buzzword or transformative tool?”. Joerg highlighted the fact that human desire for virtual reality is not a new concept. After all, 3D videos were first released in 1961 and the first virtual reality head gear appeared in 1994.  Whilst the pharmaceutical industry is not driving the use of this technology, Joerg suggested it should be a potential channel for congresses, face-to-face events and the sales force, stressing that we need to be with our customers when they are using it. He presented a case study of how Lily have been using virtual reality in Dermatology to show HCPs different modes of action under the skin and to help improve their diagnosis of patients. He felt that VR was not a buzzword or a transformative tool but a channel with tangible applications.


Following on from Joerg’s presentation, our very own founder Felix Jackson hosted a round table discussion answering, “Is AI, AR, VR or Machine Learning being applied in pharma?”. This discussion resulted in several potential applications being highlighted for use including:


  • Education and information showcasing key concepts such as biological mechanisms and mode of action
  • To enhance the treatment of patients
  • To provide disease awareness and educate patients about a condition and potential ways to prevent a condition or progression of a disease
  • To assess a patient’s response to a treatment
  • Gamification


There is clearly potential to use these technologies, with many of the above applications falling under the bracket of education. But when considering using VR in education we have to ask ourselves, how does it compare with other training methods? Does it actually help to improve retention of the information?


According to Abby Fleming (Janssen), the answer is yes. VR powered training allows HCPs to learn by doing, a training method shown to result in an average of 75% learning retention rate, far outweighing audio-visual (20%), reading (10%) and lectures (5%).


Janssen introduced their work using virtual reality nurse training in multiple myeloma to improve patient outcomes and minimise delay to treatment. The room was in awe as the Janssen team demonstrated their VR chemotherapy suite with data, prescriptions, graded symptoms and stats as well as in-built sound to hear the difference in patients’ symptoms. Janssen concluded that VR had vastly improved the confidence of the nurses and tackled their apprehension about using the technology.


As the conference came to an end, it was important to revisit the key question: Is VR still a buzzword or does it have real applications in our industry?


Case studies and discussion have shown us there can be powerful application of VR in this space particularly around education, awareness and training but as with all digital activities the channel should be chosen when it meets a need not because it’s a hot trend! Remember, while you may have great content, it must reach your customers in the way that they want to receive it in order to encourage an action, a meaningful engagement.


At medDigital we look forward to working with our customers to use VR to enhance learning and improve the patient experience. Attending conferences such as the eyeforpharma summit is key for us to be involved with the most up to date discussions and hear key learnings from industry experts. We now look to the 17th annual eyeforpharma Barcelona, held on 12th-14th March 2019. When we asked our Scientific Director Jess Thilaganathan for her thoughts on the upcoming conference she said:


In Barcelona next year we’re really looking forward to seeing the progress made in the next six months and how we can contribute to the evolution, with our founder Felix Jackson set to be on stage sharing medDigital’s latest insights.


We hope to see you all there!



By Alex Teckkam


Meta Title: VR in the pharmaceutical industry
Meta Description: Blog post on opportunities of virtual reality in the pharmaceutical industry

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How to accelerate your marketing with Extended Reality

Posted on October 10th, 2018 by


As the growth of XR (industry umbrella term for all things VR, AR and MR related) continues to gather momentum across both the consumer and enterprise sectors, it is a very exciting, and important time for vendors working across the value chain in the Healthcare sector.

Early disenchantment and doubts over the role of technology in delivering the level of value necessary for sustained investment have been replaced by solid academic evidence of human performance enhancement and an ever-increasing portfolio of case studies that demonstrate tangible value. None more so than across Pharma, Healthcare and Medicine.

Due to the unique benefits of XR and its transformative potential across almost every aspect of Healthcare, growth within the sector is predicted to reach $5.1 billion worldwide by 2025.

Benefits, such as the ability to overcome narrative and communication challenges posed by complexity, scale and distance. All three of which feature regularly across much of Pharma’s subject matter, and the products and services involved.

Or the level to which VR can improve message acquisition and recall by enhancing content with spatial context recreations, and passive content consumption by communication through active interactions.

Link to Alzheimer Research Case study

Augmented Reality, on the other-hand, can bring existing print materials to life using interactive, 3D content that has now been proved to generate x1.9 the depth of response than non-AR content.

Whilst Mixed Reality can create highly memorable and impactful experiences at trade shows, exhibitions or sales conferences, leaving lasting impressions on prospects that improve the chances of further engagement.

All these benefits are now well established, and can be easily researched online, or actively understood through work shopping. What’s not so readily available however, is how to get started. So here are four tips to help bring XR into the center of your marketing and communications

1. Build a culture of curiosity and sustained knowledge sharing.

XR is no longer something that might happen to the way you deliver marcoms – it is going to transform it significantly! Especially as enabling technologies like Artificial Intelligence and 5G unlock new levels of innovation and capability. Awarding it the same degree of ongoing curiosity and discovery as other media in your mix, is essential to making sure your marketing and communications remain competitive.

Equally, packaging and sharing that knowledge with both your wider teams, as well as your clients on a regular basis, will only serve to energize the appetite for how they can be actively used in future campaigns.

2. Make XR tangible within your department

For a relatively small investment, you can set up an XR experience area within your business, with all the main VR, AR and MR hardware and interfaces. Giving staff from all departments – and clients – the opportunity to interact with these tools, and explore content and experiences first hand, will not only demystify XR, it will almost certainly open up internal ideas and suggestions about how it can be used across the business.

3. Start small, take action, learn

Understanding and using new technologies like this can be overwhelming at first, so start small and stay focused on areas that mask the short-term opportunities. Look across the business, your clients buying journeys or their patient wellness pathways, for challenges or opportunities posed by those areas of complexity, scale or distance.  Then draft and test hypotheses, build prototypes, test them with users and understand what works and what doesn’t.

4. Choose XR Partners Wisely

Depending on where you are on your XR roadmap, it’s important to choose an XR specialist partner carefully.

As the technologies become increasingly integrated with core business models, working with XR vendors that can provide planning and consulting, and ongoing product and experience management support, either side of creative and production is becoming increasingly important. Providing a genuine extension to your marketing department on all levels, helping you to overcome the medium-term time and talent resources barriers.



XR, supported by ongoing supply chain innovation, and the emerging support of AI and 5G, is going to transform marketing and communications across Pharma, Healthcare and the Life Sciences. Providing a new means of competitive advantage and growth for brands that are willing to adopt the necessary degree of commitment and focus.

To both understand how and where to they can be integrated into their marcoms strategy, and take definitive action towards building, testing and rolling out XR solutions.

VISYON and medDigital will be exhibiting at Eye for Pharma (Booth #4)


By Christian Burne

Commercial Director, VISYON UK

Meta Title: Extended reality in pharma marketing
Meta Description: Blog post on extended (virtual, augmented and mixed) reality in pharma

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AR and VR: Evolving digital engagement in pharma

Posted on October 3rd, 2018 by


You are a consultant ophthalmologist. You have been invited to attend a promotional event about the clinical trial data of a pioneering treatment for macular degeneration. You picture the moment: speakers, discussion panel, hundreds of slides and an audience patiently absorbing the words.

To your surprise on the day, you find yourself walking through a 360° video representation of the retina. Graphs and stats are popping up in the space around you as you interact with points of interest and engaging animation is explaining the physiology. How does this make you feel?

In the digital age we live in, virtual and augmented reality are a reality. VR and AR, as usually called, provide immersive experiences that awaken our senses and revolutionise the way we perceive our surroundings. VR started out with a niche in the gaming market. However, with headsets easily available from companies such as Oculus, HTC and Sony, many other industries are beginning to make use of this technology.

The healthcare industry should be no exception. The most valuable asset of VR is its story telling power, that can take healthcare professionals on a journey of deep, personalised engagement with brands that conventional marketing channels simply cannot achieve. VR allows an innovative way of learning through living and interacting, creating emotions and memories that can be easily recalled. As such, the anatomy of a defective eye is no longer a static image, but a 3D hologram that you can virtually operate and examine. The burdens throughout the patient journey are no longer impersonal testimonials, but a deep moving experience unfolding around you, that you become part of. With the power of simulation technologies at hand, why would healthcare stick to worn out methods of customer engagement and education?

The limitless applications of VR in healthcare, from both an educational and customer communications perspective, will be a central theme of this year’s eyeforpharma conference in London. On the 16th and 17th of October 2018, forward thinkers from both the pharma and the technology industry will come together to discuss how to re-shape long-lasting relationships with healthcare professionals by embracing digital. medDigital, a specialist medical communications company, together with Visyon, experts in innovative VR, will be present to showcase transformative ways of evolving customer experience in pharma. The 2-day summit may prove that futurism owns a definitive place in medical education – will you miss it?


By Asimina Pantazi

Meta Title: Virtual reality in pharma
Meta Description: Blog post on virtual and augmented reality in pharma

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What does digital mean today?

Posted on September 28th, 2018 by

Welcome to #medDigitalDigest bringing you scientific insights from the medDigital team.


Digital has taken the life sciences industry by storm. From the use of wearable devices to collect clinical trial data to the development of thousands of innovative healthcare apps and even organisations dedicated solely to categorising them – we are seeing it all!

In fact, there is no industry that has not been transformed by digital revolution. However, while everyone talks about digital and “going digital”, there is little solid understanding about what this really means. Common misconceptions include that digital merely refers to “the internet of things” or the emerging technological breakthroughs characteristic of the fourth industrial revolution.

To shed light on the topic, we asked Dr Felix Jackson, Founder of medDigital, our specialist medical communications agency about what digital means today and what to expect in the future.

Watch our Founder, Dr Felix Jackson’s insights below:


Video interview of Dr Felix Jackson talking about what digital means today in the life sciences industry.


Dr Felix Jackson is a Digital Health Expert, Founder of medDigital, our specialist medical communications agency and medCrowd, the instant messenger for health and care.



Meta Title: #medDigitalDigest Defining Digital Today
Meta Description: Blog post containing video interview on what does digital mean today

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Digital Engagement and the Healthcare Industry

Posted on June 14th, 2018 by



Innovation and experimentation is everywhere. New digital technologies are fuelling creativity in all areas of industry and companies are using novel platforms to engage and excite their customers.

Healthcare is no exception. Despite complexities including regulatory compliance, adverse-event monitoring and risk disclosures, companies are continuing to grow more confident in applying innovative technologies, whether advertising to healthcare professionals or engaging in public awareness campaigns.

The last year has provided a number of outstanding examples of creativity in the industry. Here we will have a look at some of the highlights.

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Precision Medicine: The Megatrend Shaping the Future of Healthcare

Posted on May 9th, 2018 by

What is it?

Precision medicine, also widely known as personalised medicine can be described as a medical model with customisation of care as the focus, where medical treatments and products are tailored to the individual. Precision medicine recognises that personal genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors are key drivers in both the causes and ability to overcome a disease and hence tailors the approach to care with these factors in mind.

What’s behind this trend?

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