A survey examining how the medical device industry uses social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn found that the medical device industry has been slow to pick up on social media as a marketing tool.
Co-sponsored by MediComm Consultants Inc. and BB Marketing Plus, the 33-question survey of 251 respondents looked at how medical device players use the tools to engage customers and prospects and how effective the tools are at expanding networks.
Of the 57 percent of respondents who worked for regulated medical device companies, more than two-thirds for firms employing at least 51 workers. Only 16 percent of respondents employed by companies regulated by the Food & Drug Administration reported using social media to communicate with customers or prospects (although 67 percent did say they use the networking tools for job-related activities). And most of the companies that do use the tools only began using them within the six months preceding the survey. Only one of those 18 companies said it was able to quantify success in its use of social media sites.
The surveyors also conducted follow-up interviews with five of the respondents who worked for FDA-regulated companies and used social media to communicate with customers and prospects. Those interviews showed differences in participation between consumers and clinicians and even between clinicians with differing specialties.
“One of the participants said that in her experience use of social media varies by medical specialty. For example, she noted that emergency room physicians were among those most likely to use social media,” Robert DeSimone of MediComm Consultants told MassDevice.
One concern exposed by the survey is FDA regulation of medical device makers’ use of social media.
“I am very concerned about information that is posted about my company’s products within social media sites, such as recommendations exchanged between users promoting off-label use,” one respondent noted. “In addition, I know from recent communications with the FDA that they are monitoring social media sites for issues with products and using that information during inspections to delve deeper into a company’s regulatory compliance.”