Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How Social Media can enhance the effectiveness of Medical Devices firms.

Around the globe, social media venues, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Blogs to name a few, have experienced exponential growth, as a means for sharing and discussing ideas, information, and trends across various industries. But the medical device industry, worldwide, is lagging behind in using social media to communicate with prospects and customers mainly due to lack of a robust social media strategy by organizations and unclear FDA regulatory guidelines governing the use of social media.

Although employees are familiar with and use online networking tools as part of their day-to-day work flow, a cohesive company-wide social media policy is not present at the vast majority of medical device organizations. A 2011 research completed by MassMEDIC involving medical device industry personnel revealed that only 50% of the respondents’ companies have social media policies in place.

Social media, being a flexible, rapid and transformative communicative medium, offers an immediate and direct communications channel for medical device organizations to indulge in a dialogue with its customers, potential consumers and other key audiences. Tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter provide device companies an opportunity to introduce, educate and comment on multiple issues affecting the industry in terms of policy, product or competitive issues enabling the development of a more personal relationship with the consumer. Facebook, like LinkedIn, enables a device company to communicate directly with its audiences, answer questions, introduce and address issues. Twitter tends to allow and encourage more immediate initiation and response and allows medical device companies to develop a database of "followers" who can be future consumers of their products.

Social media can be used in the following areas by the medical device industry:

a) Product Innovation through consumer feedback: One-on-one conversation with the consumers through social media tools can provide tremendous insight into the various shortcomings of the medical device and help the organizations to improve their products based on the feedback by the customers and hence providing enhanced customer experience.

b) Marketing and Branding: Through thought leadership material, newsletters, company initiated dedicated blogs and portals that allow consumers to share experiences and gain valuable information about the device as well as the organization. But it is a double edge sword as negative publicity can also be a result.

c) Defining target market: With more and more people using internet as an effective source for gaining information on diseases and treatment options, social media tools provides an engaging platform for medical device industry to identify target consumers of their products and implement direct marketing strategies in their marketing mix.

I feel this is not an exhaustive list but surely there can be other ways in which Social Media can be integrated into the medical Devices industry business processes.

I would love to hear your views on the same.

About the author

Dr. Sumeet Kad is a Marketing and Business Strategy professional with over 4 years of experience in Healthcare/Life Sciences & FMCG sector. He is an avid reader, irregular blogger and a gadget freak. He blogs at and has co-authored a book based on it. He can also be followed on Twitter @sumeetkad.


  1. Hi Sumeet, of all the application of Social Media in the Medical Devices space, I guess you've hit the bulls-eye in stating it's application to revolutionize the Medical Product innovation by real-time end use feedback. This might sound simple but the result is overwhelming. It not only allows companies to make better products via real-time collaboration, but also save lots of money that that is being invested on Market Research & End user feedback. Cheers!

  2. I totally concur on this. Customer ffedback should be an integral part of any business let alnoe medical device industry. It provides effective inputs for product development and innovation thus saving money and coming up with customer attractive products.

    Thanks for highlighting this very imporatnt aspect.