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IT & Communication


over the way their customers obtain product information and marketing messages. Despite the potential risk associated, these companies need to ask themselves, “Can we afford to ignore Health 2.0?”. definition of health 2.0: Web


2.0-based online networks and mobile-enabled services where patients, health professionals, biomedical researchers, life sciences companies, payers and government can interact globally (see Figure 1). Capgemini Consulting recom-


mends that the life sciences industry embrace Health 2.0 as a way to gain valuable market insights and height- en engagement with their customers. The evolution is occurring now—it’s time to play or be played.


The Rise of Health 2.0 Adoption of Health 2.0 by patients and physicians has continued to grow significantly across all age groups. The number of users looking for online information regarding prescription drugs grew from 25 million in 2002


to 100 million in 2008. The Internet is now the top source of health informa- tion for adults in the U.S., outranking their own physicians.1


Despite that


growth, life science companies spent less than 3 percent of their total ad expenditure for prescription medica- tions on Internet ads in 2008 ($130 million) according to TNS Media Intel- ligence. 2 Behind search engines and health


portals, social media is the third main online tool used by adults in the U.S. to find health information.3


Wikipe-


dia, for example, is one common, well-known social media source. A confluence of factors has facilitated this shift, particularly the increased expectations in consumers’ minds of accessibility and active participa- tion in social communities. This shift will have greater importance as the pharmaceutical industry transitions from blockbuster to specialty drugs, where marketing budgets are under pressure to reach a smaller target population, and in-depth knowledge of the niche market is critical.


There are several key factors that


continue to drive the adoption of Health 2.0 practices: Maturing infrastructure and tech- nology - Mainstream Internet adoption - Increased use of mobile devices Favorable market forces - Transition from blockbuster to specialty drugs - Government acceleration of elec- tronic health records Change in patient and physician behaviors - Increased active engagement and control of personal health - Access to online community and social networks


Healthcare Stakeholders Already Embrace Health 2.0 Where life sciences companies have been slow to adopt Health 2.0 practices, several healthcare stake- holders have leveraged online tools and communities with impressive results. In this healthcare perspec- tive, the key healthcare stakehold- er groups are patients, healthcare providers, payers, the government and researchers.


Patient Opinion Leaders Become Stronger influencers While the influence of Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) remains important among the physician community, Patient Opinion Leaders (POLs)— specific individuals sharing their personal experiences via a Patient Support Network independent of geography—are wielding significant influence among patients of specif- ic diseases. POLs use social media like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, providing their followers informa- tion about specific diseases from a patient point of view (see Figure 2). Respected by their fellow patients, they often provide coaching, assistance and best practices while


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