Social media’s higher calling: Saving Lives

This sounds like a fairy tale, doesn’t it? Not so fast….

PillsFew people currently question the opportunity social media has to revolutionize industries and companies. Many organizations are currently leveraging social media to transform their business by allowing them to engage with their customers, partners and influencers to offer a more consistent and real-time customer experience.

How about saving lives? The world first experienced the true power of social media during the ‘Arab Spring’ events that toppled governments in the Middle East more than two years ago. More recently, many associate the capture of the bombers during the horrific events in Boston a few weeks ago to the effective spread of the news over social media.

Based on what I have seen so far through our work with some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, I believe the world is now in a position to prevent the loss of human life through the effective use of social media. The opportunities I have seen through the use of technology are both limitless and beyond my wildest imagination. From the effective use of social media to gain real-world insights by connecting with others to research new therapies by adopting crowd-sourcing techniques, to proactively identifying potentially lethal product safety issues before they spread, I believe the potential social media has to actually save lives is enormous.

One of our customers is using our platform to gain real-world insights by engaging with medical experts across various social media channels. The insights and speed by which they attained those insights would have been unimaginable without the use of social media. Their researchers will soon be able to hone in and focus on approaches that would have taken them years to develop on their own.

Another one has been able to detect potentially lethal product safety issues with an over-the-counter medication on two separate occasions. By proactively recalling their products and notifying the public, they were able to prevent the loss of human life.

Imagine the possibility of being able to track millions of conversations across the web about a drug or disease and have your platform analyze and present you with a summary of these conversations. Now imagine being automatically alerted based on the velocity of these conversations, kinds of people talking (e.g., consumer vs. expert) and the underlying content, context and sentiment of these conversations. Today’s social media analytics and engagement platforms make all this possible.

Can you attribute an ROI to this? I think not.

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