You’ve got everything now: how social media is harvesting low cost health data

A new platform has been launched to allow healthcare companies to collect valuable health data from social media conversations

Healthcare brands are increasingly under pressure to provide up to date credible evidence to support their product licensed indications and claims, as well as general product safety, throughout a product’s lifecycle.

This is backed by the Association of The British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) in its white paper citing the growing number of examples where real world evidence (RWE) has been ‘essential for the market access of a product’.

Until now there has been no systematic collection of data from non-prescription healthcare interventions, leaving these brands with the only option of repeating expensive and time consuming randomised clinical trials (RCTs).

In response to this increasing demand on healthcare brands and the current lack of solutions, a new platform – Real World Data Collection using Social Media – has been launched, enabling brands to collect low cost to support their licensed indications, pattern of use and outcomes in the real world.

The data collection solution has been developed by social and digital firm Orbital Media, while independent medical officer Dr. Martin Goldman, pioneered the concept and process.

It is a low cost solution in comparison to RCTs; often up to a tenth of the cost with the potential to save the industry hundreds of millions of pounds.

The system collects data on a large scale with high levels of detail and has the ability to conduct studies into areas where conventional healthcare research is not possible or difficult such as the use of healthcare products in babies, and the societal impact of conditions which might not generate a doctor visit e.g. nappy rash, other minor skin ailments.

Another benefit, according to Orbital Media, is that the data collection is not governed by clinical trial regulations, giving brands greater control.

Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream, a UK superbrand, is the first product to have used Real World Data Collection using Social Media.

The resulting, published, peer-reviewed study has been successfully used to support Sudocrem’s claim for treating infantile nappy rash, by showing rapid skin healing and reduction in signs of inflammation.

The study now allows, amongst many other things, Sudocrem’s to claim that 99.3% of users see nappy rash improve and that over half of users see an improvement to nappy rash the same day.

These were findings that had previously not been demonstrated since the launch of the product many years ago.

Peter Brady, CEO of Orbital Media said: “Having worked with healthcare brands for over 10 years we became increasingly aware of the cost effective capabilities of user generated data harvested from digital and social media.

“These online data capture methodologies and technologies developed by Orbital Media, are now being used to enhance old or weak evidence for OTC product licensed indications.

“Our specialism in social and digital innovation and collaboration with medical officer, Dr. Goldman, has resulted in a timely and efficient solution to strengthening OTC product claims.

“The combined cost savings and long term sales growth benefits to established OTC brands could run into the many hundreds of millions of pounds.”

Real World Data Collection using Social Media uses a collaborative approach between Orbital Media’s system for collecting and collating data via social media channels, with an experienced medical research team.

This provides high grade data and analysis that can be formulated into a final study for publication.

Dave is the Editor of Med-Tech Innovation magazine. He also holds the position of Deputy Group Editor for the Rapid Life Sciences portfolio. You can reach Dave via his email -

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