PROs join recruitment in social net benefit

Determining the patient-reported outcomes to be measured in a trial and providing data to help speed up studies are two of the drug development areas that can benefit from social media, says a Deloitte research study. You can add them to volunteer recruitment, perhaps the most appealing of non-marketing uses for drug developers.

Strategic applications beyond marketing are evolving, the research says. But they are evolving slowly due to the absence of regulatory guidance. Nonetheless, "innovative companies are beginning to leverage the online social networks of physicians, patients and scientists to explore unprecedented opportunity to collect information and collaborate externally," says Terry Hisey, life sciences sector leader at Deloitte, in a release.

Even after the FDA issues guidelines, more than half of survey respondents say they expect confusion to remain on their use of social networks. More than one-third is waiting for FDA guidance before making any investment.  And 20 percent say they are indifferent to using social networking. Yet in a testament to the power of social media, 73 percent say they expect the budget allocated for social networking to increase over the next three years.

Recruiting and retention of clinical trial subjects are among the early non-marketing uses of social media in the life sciences having some success.

- see the Deloitte release

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