How to Harness the Power of Social Media: Physicians, Industry and Innovation

Presented at the 15th Biennial International Andreas Gruentzig Society Meeting, February 3-7, 2019

Program Agenda               Faculty Disclosures              Vendor Acknowledgment


11.1 / IAGS 2019
Session 11: Industry Session 1
How to Harness the Power of Social Media: Physicians, Industry and Innovation
Problem Presenter: Charles Simonton, MD

 

Statement of problem or issue

Innovation in interventional cardiology is a complex process of problem solving that encompasses R & D engineers, business executives, academic and non-academic physician experts, and investors.  Traditional models of innovation utilize advisory boards, paid surveys, and key opinion leaders (KOLs) which are time consuming, expensive and not comprehensive. The cost, time and uncertainty in the innovation process begs the question if the use of social media can assimilate KOLs, digital opinion leaders (DOLs) and others in the process, to speed the time and efficiency from idea to the practical application of new interventional tools.

 

Gaps in knowledge

From the industry perspective, which is the operational arm of the innovation process, how can they utilize techniques like crowd sourcing, online collaborations, and social media to speed innovation? While there are several successful examples of how social media has advanced other areas of business by putting the power in the hands of end users, this has not yet occurred in medical innovation. Examples in other industries include Kickstarter in venture capital, Apple iTunes in music, Sermo in online collaboration and Udemy and Coursera in education. The validation steps for the medical uses of social media have not been accomplished, and this is a large knowledge gap that will need intensive research and solid solutions.

 

Possible solutions and future directions

The use of programs like Symplur, which catalog and quantify the opinions of medical professionals and physicians in response to certain topics, treatments, or devices, may help industry and their cardiology partners to resist or to sway the course of fledgling innovation and new ideas. The use of crowdsourcing for difficult diagnostic dilemmas may help individual cardiologists and patients to arrive at a correct diagnoses or employ interventional techniques to treat uncommon conditions. Eventually, technology, like the use of social media, could lead to the “democratization of innovation” and the companies and cardiologists that crack this nut first may be on the cutting edge of new, faster and a more trustworthy innovation process.