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COVID testing

COVID testing

I recently got back from an amazing holiday in the Azores and am a little bemused that I have to isolate for 14 days upon my return.  Now do not get me wrong - I am a huge advocate for playing it safe and for isolating new arrivals to the country.  Living in a...

My lockdown heroes

My lockdown heroes

Living in a shielding household I have had a particularly locked-down few months, with no trips to any supermarkets or shops.  I have had to rely entirely on the internet, and telephone, to access goods.  During this time there have been some brands that have stood by...

#hcsmeu

#hcsmeu

Let us take a trip down memory lane.  Let us go back a decade to the end of the 2000's in the early days of pharma social media.  These were challenging times but also incredibly exciting.  Social media was starting to take off and offering huge opportunities to a...

VE Day

VE Day

This week we celebrated the 75th anniversary of VE day.  75 years ago Britain, and other allied countries, celebrated the end of the Nazis.  I asked my British father and German mother if they could remember the day - they could not.  My mother commented though that...

Covid’s environmental impact

Covid’s environmental impact

One of the positives to come out of these difficult times has Covid's environmental impact. The reduction in travel, for example flying and commuter traffic, as well as factory production, has led to a drop in emissions.  Cities in China and India, used to being...

The remote working world

The remote working world

Welcome to the remote working world.  Welcome to my world.  As a self-employed consultant I have spent the last five years spending the majority of my time working from home.  The current situation is therefore business as usual for me.  I manage my time as need be,...

Desperate times

Desperate times

 We are currently going through some desperate times.  In fact it is apparently so bad here that my cat Don has resorted to drinking from the toilet! Joking aside we are indeed going through some difficult times, especially if you are someone with a preexisting...

Bear with me – I’m revamping

Something new is coming I have now been writing this blog for many years and during that time I have not updated or re-branded this website. This was partially because for many years it served its purpose as was - somewhere to host my blog posts - but recently that...

Yes I love PowerPoint

Yes I love PowerPoint

I have recently seen a number of articles on the death of PowerPoint or how terrible PowerPoint is and I just had to counter with ... I love PowerPoint!  PowerPoint is an amazing tool to support presenters or present insights in a more visually appealing way that a 50...

Mobile reception – not all there

Mobile reception – not all there

Last week I read with great joy that the big mobile networks and the UK government are finally going to try to improve the mobile phone networks in rural parts of the UK. Rather shockingly 1/3 of the UK has patchy or non-existent mobile reception!   Unbelievable....

The death of a brand

The death of a brand

This week I popped up to London for a bit of sightseeing and to catch up with friends from my McKinsey days. A trip to London is also never complete with a visit to my favourite shop - Karen Millen on Oxford Circus. Sadly this will have been my last visit to the store...

I love you NHS but we need to talk

The NHS is like a very dear elderly relative - you don't choose them, you love them dearly but you are also frustrated by their old fashioned ways and inability to change.  It is however really time to have that talk with them because this time something really has to...

Life is like a mountain

Last weekend, after nearly 9 years of living in Switzerland, I finally made it to Zermatt to see the famous Matterhorn.  It was of course stunning, but it also got me thinking how life is a bit like a mountain. At first it seems like this huge insurmountable obstacle,...

Job hunting sucks

In June my long-term contract with Boehringer Ingelheim comes to an end so I have started actively looking for a new role.  In case you are not aware job hunting really sucks!  One of the main reasons for this, IMHO, is the incredibly painful online systems most...

AI for Health

I am currently at Intelligent Health's AI conference in Basel so thought I should write a blog post on the topic.  I first got really interested in AI at SXSW a few years ago when I saw the applications of AI in chatbots for patient groups with limited access to care,...

“Why aren’t we doing this?”

Today I gave a presentation on Key Online Influencers (KOI) to my reverse mentoring group and one comment I got was “why on earth aren’t we doing this?!”. Great question. While many other industries have embraced the age of the online influencer pharma has not. Now we...

The role of influencers

Back in June I read an article on the BBC about influencers and the potential backlash against them.  It is fascinating to see the rise of the influencers on social media and the impact they are now having on people's lives.  It is a sign of our times that some of...

Monday motivation

One of my main activities at the moment is supporting clients set up and run Reverse Mentoring programmes.  As part of this one of the things I do is lead and support groups of Mentors, many of them digital natives, and part of this includes building and driving an...

YouTube Healthcare

Like many of us I have often struggled balancing regular exercise with a busy work schedule.  This is especially an issue for me as my sport of choice was swimming and the only time the pool here in Zurich is not like the Gotthard Tunnel during peak times is...

AR versus VR

This morning I was reading about the difference in opinion between Apple's Tim Cook and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg on whether AR or VR is the future.  In my opinion they are both the future in their own different ways and for different audiences. As an owner of a...

Well hello #Instagram!

Well hello #Instagram!

I have been working and mentoring in social media for many, many years now and as part of that have been a very active user ... of some platforms.  I was a huge Facebook and Twitter fan, followed closely by Pinterest.  Linkedin is Linkedin ... great, functional but...

Sexy sunscreen

The other day I saw this video from Mashable about a new UV patch from L'Oreal that is meant to make applying sunscreen more fun.  Essentially the patch is a stretchable skin sensor designed to monitor UV exposure and can be scanned.  An accompanying app then tells...

The era of digital nomads

In December one of my main client contracts will come to an end and as such I have been slowly starting to think about what I will do next year.  Much as I love living in Zurich it is a very expensive place to be based without a permanent job so I am toying with the...

Facebook campaign versus page

I recently had a conversation with a friend about what good looks like in social media, driven by a positive article about Allergan's US Restasis Facebook page.  The article talks about the Restasis brand's foray into social media through this page and what great...

#SXSW17 countdown

This time next week I will be in Austin Texas enjoying day 2 of SXSW.   If previous years are anything to go by I will be having an amazing time, but may be sporting a mild hangover. My first year at SXSW was a real life changing experience but sadly my second year,...

The Sahara

This weekend I had the pleasure of doing a long weekend in Morocco with my boyfriend.  He is driving down from Zurich to Cape Town and back in his Landrover and I flew over to join him for this part of his trip.  It was truly spectacular from the picturesque Riads in...

The importance of cat videos

As I sit here checking out my Facebook page and the BBC news it is hard to get away from the whole Donald Trump thing and the doom and gloom that surrounds his inauguration.  As a staunch supporter of the environment I find myself terrified at the implications of a...

Final words from hell

This week, like thousands other around the world, I have been deeply moved by all the final messages that have been coming out of Aleppo thanks to Twitter.  It really has moved me to tears reading these tweets that have been sent from what must surely feel like hell....

#Tinder … is it social?

This week I was giving a lesson on the basics of social media and I noticed that Tinder was included in Fred Cavazza's awesome social media inforgraphic.  I have to admit that this surprised me - I've been using Tinder for years but I never thought of it as a social...

What should good look like?

Over the years I have often been asked what good looks like when it comes to digital in pharma.  I have been asked for benchmarks and examples from other pharma.  Who does digital best is another popular question.  My answer to this is there is no single answer. There...

To SXSW or not that is the question

The time is rapidly approaching when tickets for SXSW 2017 go on sale.  This means the time is rapidly approaching that I need to make the decision - do I go again next year, for my third time, or not. I went to SXSW for the first time in 2015 (you can read my posts...

#WheresDon?

#WheresDon?

The fabulous Hope for Romanian Strays guest blogger Don has vanished!  Can you find help him?  He decided to take a Face-cation (a vacation from Facebook) but we now need him back to help with the charity birthday celebrations!  We need your help to keep an eye out...

The boundaries of privacy

I had a rather unpleasant surprise today when I found out that one of my "friends" had shared some of my personal Facebook posts with my current boss.  Given the privacy settings of my posts I presume this was done by the said person physically showing their screen....

Snapchat here I come …

Being passionate about social media and the latest technology I felt obliged last year to have a look at Snapchat and sign up for it.  I had a couple of friends who are using it and raved about it and it was “the” latest trend so I just had to join the craze.  So I...

De Puy and their patients

This morning I spotted an article in The Telegraph about how patients may have been fitted with faulty hip replacements due to a manufacturing error at the De Puy plant.  According to the article De Puy is not being exactly responsive in answering questions on this...

Social media in the pharmaceutical industry

This week I had the immense pleasure of attending SMI's Social Media in the Pharmaceutical Industry conference.  As always I enjoyed the event, catching up with many of the #hcsmeu twitterati and hearing insights from the industry and patients. The event started for...

Oi you!

Following the post-Christmas trend I too find myself coming down with a nasty cold.  Just like my parents and friends I have that horrid sore throat, chesty cough and dratted runny nose.  I can also add fatigue and dizziness to the list - yawn .... (you still there?)....

The Dangers of Not Being on Social Media

Another great reminder of why ignoring social media is no longer an option. The conversation is happening with or without you but at least by participating you can participate in the conversation and potentially prevent an issue turning into a crisis.

All I wanted for Christmas …

This time of year is often a time of reflection.  It is a time of thinking about what you really want for Christmas - what items go on that famous Christmas list.  What are the things you would really love Santa to bring you - and being Santa you can wish for whatever...

The problem with big new shiny toys

Yesterday Microsoft announced the launch of its shiny new toys including the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface book.  I have eagerly been awaiting this announcement as I need to buy myself a new "laptop".  As luck would have it I heard about this announcement (thank you...

Wearables – worth the hype?

Today I went for my regular swim with my Poolmate watch and found myself very frustrated when yet again I found that it was not counting my laps correctly.  I presume I am probably like quite a few wearable owners in that I do not really use all the functions of my...

The dawn of a new patient era

Last week I wrote an article inspired by Mighty Casey's blog post and in response to the very insulting post written by  Niam Yaraghi in USA Today.  The essence of the article can be summed up by quoting directly from the article: “Patients are neither qualified nor...

Patients are not total idiots!

Yesterday I read an awesome post by the MightyCasey in response to an astonishing post by a certain Niam Yaraghi in USA Today.  According to said Niam Yaraghi patients are incapable of managing or understanding their own health and should leave it all entirely up the...

The ubiquitous internet

I recently had the pleasure of visiting a friend in Salvador de Bahia in Brazil, staying in the non-touristy Itapua on the outskirts of Salvador.  One of the benefits of staying with a local was that I got to see a part of Brazil few tourists really get to experience,...

The short lifespan of a wearable

Wearables are this year's hot item.  They are trendy and all the cool kids want one.  They can link to your mobile, they can tell you your heart rate, how far you have run, calories burnt and they are shiny.  I want one. Or rather I want another one and this time I...

From sweet to savoury branding … really?

I have to admit that I have never been a huge fan of corporate rebranding. In theory a rebrand should go deeper than just the corporate logo and colours but should also include a change in direction and culture for a brand.  Of course very often though the result is...

Response to a tweet

My first response when I have a customer complaint or question is to go online and direct a tweet to the responsible company with my issue.  I have been doing this for quite a few years and it is great to start seeing some real improvement in customer service response...

Things are not always what they seem…

Having recently joined the job seeker pool I was buoyed by a number of really positive articles talking about how this year is going to see an increase in recruitment as well as a skills gap and employees having more choice and higher negotiation powers.  Awesome says...

The joys of online job applications

As many of you will know I recently decided to part ways with ZS in order to find a role where I could use of my digital and social media expertise. I have spent years building up the expertise and I am extremely passionate about how digital, and in particular social...

SXSW – an awesome journey – grand finale

Needless to say after Day 2 Sunday was a bit of a wash out!  I did have some interesting conversation with some German entrepreneurs at the German house but that was about it.  Both Monday and Tuesday were however more eventful.  For starters there was a lovely lunch...

SXSW – an awesome journey – Day 2

After Day 1, Day 2 of SXSW started as planned.  I got my shuttle in extra early and wondered around Austin for a little before heading to my first session #brainhack.  This was a session led by two professors from DARPA.  Immediately we were all engaged.  Our first...

SXSW – an awesome journey – Day 1

A few years back I heard about South by SouthWest for the time. I did not really have any desire to go – it did not seem relevant to a health digierati like myself. Rather I thought it was more for film and music buffs and total techy geeks. I did not think there...

Uniting around #rarediseaseday

Today is #Rarediseaseday.   This is a day when patients, their carers, HCPs, governments, NGOs and industry unite in raising awareness around rare diseases.  I am presuming that people reading this post know what a rare disease is but if not Eurodis provides...

The Power of Social Media

A few weeks ago I presented at the SMI #pharmasocialmedia conference around the power of social media.  Having uploaded my presentation to slideshare and done an interview about the subject I thought it was about time I actually write a blog post about what I spoke...

Two conferences, similar key points

As anyone who follows me on Twitter may have noticed I was extremely active these last few days tweeting from the SMI #pharmasocialmedia and the Digital #pharmaconf conferences. I had the pleasure of chairing day one and presenting at the SMI conference, as well...

Heart monitoring … a patient’s experience

I popped back to Suffolk, in the UK, this weekend to visit my parents.  I was very interested to hear that my mother would be wearing a device to monitor her heart for 24 hours.  This is part of a barrage of tests to check her health and try to help diagnose various...

When Tripadvisor gets it all wrong

I have been using Tripadvisor for years to research holiday destinations, hotels and restaurants.  I will often start by using a tool such as Lastminute or Booking.com to find a holiday or hotel and then I will check the options using TripAdvisor.  When checking I...

Saving dogs has Klout

As you will have seen my last few blogs were about a rescue mission to save 60 dogs in Romanian who were losing their shelter and faced death on the streets as a result.  I have been working flat out on this on Facebook and consequently have had not time for blogging...

Can social media cause a miracle?

Last week I wrote about the hopeless task I faced in trying to find homes for 60 Romanian rescue dogs who were about to lose their shelter.  I truly did not think we could save them.  I certainly did not think we would be able to find places for the very traumatised...

A ray of hope in sea of despair

In my last blog post I wrote about my absolute despair at the situation of 60 rescue dogs in a private shelter in Romania that will lose their home next week.  Finding homes for that many dogs in Romania is next to impossible.  Their fate however, if homes are not...

A desperate cry for help

I generally rave about how wonderful social media is but sometimes it can also be devastating.  Yesterday I found out that 60 Romanian rescues will be essentially sent to their death on the 17th October.  I have been following the care of these dogs on Facebook and...

The evolution of medicine

The other day I listened to a really interesting presentation by Tom Blue, Chief Strategy Officer, American Association of Private Physicians, on the evolution of medicine. He made some fantastic points about how medicine, and the industry surrounding it, has changed...

Too much to do too little time

I have been a tad behind at writing this blog post and responding to comments, which saddens me given the glowing responses I have got in some of my comments. In an ideal world I would like to write a post weekly, rather than the current monthly timing. I should also...

Packaging – people do care!

A couple of days ago I came across a very interesting question posted on Twitter. A patient had posted an image of their medication package and reached out to @novonordisk to ask why the new packaging was so big compared to the old packaging. I noticed this post for a...

So … who is Doctor XXXX?

I had the great pleasure today to be chatting with @Boehringer, and it was politely pointed out to me that there was a typo in my last blog post “Boehringer still chatting away”. I presumed that in my hurry to type up my post & then post I had got a where / were...

@Boehringer still chatting away

This week Boehringer Ingelheim held another tweet chat around Afib, which IMHO was a great success, like their other previous tweet chats. Using the #CHATafib, @Boehringer led the engagement, along with a few physicians who had been invited to join, such as DrXXXX....

The value of virtual conference attendance

We recently went through that ASCO time of year again. In terms of social media this is a big event and ASCO was one of the early adopters in terms of twitter and conference #.   I have been preaching for years about the value of using social media at conferences but...

Social Media in Pharma Conference

Last week I had the immense pleasure of chairing the SMI conference on social media in the pharmaceutical industry.  I have to admit that I really enjoyed chairing, despite some minor hiccup with some of the name pronunciations (for which I do apologise!). On the...

eDetailing – it’s more than just iPads

I like to think that most people in the pharma industry now accept that digital is an important channel that they need to think about and include in their marketing plans.  Marketeers now include digital in their brand plans and the number of dedicated digital...

A patient’s point of view

I was recently involved in a workshop for a pharmaceutical product and one element we talked about was the emotional journey a patient goes on, and how digital tools played a role in that journey.  This really resonated with me as a patient. We are of course all...

#Digipharm 2013 – write up through twitter

This year I had the pleasure of not only attending Digipharm but also of chairing part of the event, including a round table discussion on engaging with stakeholders. As with many of these conferences the most enjoyable part is the networking and catching up with...

The changing dynamics of behaviour

In my last blog post I summed up some of the discussion points at the Fleming eMarketing conference in Barcelona.  One of the speakers, Nicolas Pokorny, talked about emotions and behaviours and this really inspired me and resonated with me.  I also believe it is an...

Follow on to a negative patient experience

Following on from my dreadful experience with the Spanish endocrinologist I am now preparing to see a British endocrinologist at the local Nuffield Hospital near my parents house.  Naturally this preparation involves going online, checking with UK patient associations...

A very negative patient experience

The other day I had what was, without a doubt, the worst medical experience of my life.  The occurred when I went for an appointment with my Sanitas endocrinologist, here in Barcelona.  This was actually my second experience with a Sanitas endocrinologist  - the first...

Microsoft support – or lack of

I recently experienced first hand the not-so-new model of customer support via forum - now quite a popular method of dealing with customer support using social media.  Great idea - the company not only gets experts to support them and customers, empowering their...

Turning KOL into KOI

As I mentioned in my previous post most Pharma companies have a great idea of who their offline, traditional KOLs are but very little idea of who the Key Online Influencers (KOI) are.  They also rarely have any real idea of how many of their offline KOL are active...

Social Media for Pharma C-Suite Dummies

This week I had the pleasure of talking to John Mack, aka @pharmaguy, on his blog talk radio about the need for senior executives to understand social media.  There has been a great deal of talk about the need for pharmaceutical companies to get involved in social...

Multichannel – not exactly new!

The latest buzzword in the pharmaceutical industry seems to be multichannel marketing or multichannel strategy.  I am reading numerous blog posts about multichannel this and multichannel that, how to do it, how important it is and so forth, and I am also getting...

Strategy – more than a list of tactics

I am a strategist by nature and have spent most of my career in strategy.  I believe that you can learn about strategy but to be a great strategist takes more than just studying it in a book.  A great strategist has vision and passion and is a forward thinker.  A...

Hopes for 2013

It is that time of year when all the summaries of the year and predictions for the following year start to appear.   In terms of digital and social media for the healthcare industry 2012 definitely saw progress.  The attitudes have changed from last year, with...

In case you forgot . . . it’s nearly Christmas!

When I lived in the UK it was hard to forget that Christmas was coming - from as early as August some shops start selling Christmas products and as Christmas approaches one can get dangerously close to Christmas over-load.  Living in Switzerland however it is slightly...

Social Media and natural disasters

Like many people today I have been avidly following the events in the US and the path of destruction as Sandy stormed across the East coast.  The constant stream of live tweets on the BBC and regular video posts enables people across the globe to follow events as they...

Digipharm – same same but different

This year I had the honour of being asked  to take part in one of the panels at Digipharm around the effective implementation of digital strategy.  Having only arrived straight from the airport 30 minutes before and with very little idea of what I was meant to be...

I have the power . . .

One wonderful thing about social media and new technologies is the power it places in individuals hands.  Where previously as an individual you either had to have actual power - e.g. be the Prime Minister, or be in a powerful role such as a journalist for a leading...

The ages of digital

We are now part of a world that is full of digital natives.  But what about those who are new to digital - or what about back in the day when you and I were new to digital?  How did we behave?  What steps and feelings did we go through as this brave new world opened...

And they think they know it all . . .

One of the painful facts of life is having to work and interact with people who think they know it all or believe they know what they are talking about.  This is equally true in digital in healthcare.  On the one hand we always talk about wanting more digital and...

The support of a cat’s Facebook page

When people talk about social media use by patients in healthcare the focus tends to be on how social media is used as support tool, for example through communities and forums, or as a source of information, for specific disease groups.  For me social media,...

GPs: can you communicate please?

Yesterday I had the dubious pleasure of having to visit my GP for a prescription. After the usual brief discussion he then was about to give me my prescription when I pointed out that he was prescribing a medication to which I had previously had an adverse reaction. I...

I “Like” your brand . . . so what?

I am a huge Facebook user and have in the past been a self-confessed Facebook addict - even my cat has a Facebook page (although I hasten to add that his page has been set up to raise money for the RSPCA). Being the social sort of person I am I also have quite a large...

Digital Media Agencies not doing digital

Today one of my twitter chums, Andrew Spong, posted a very valid comment on twitter about digital agencies and their own use of twitter (see the image).  Essentially if as a digital agency you are not regularly using your twitter account then do not highlight your...

Government support for silver surfers

This Friday I asked the question during the #HCSMEU tweetup of whether governments should be doing more to teach the elderly how to use technology, including social media, to help improve their care.  My inspiration behind this question was the fact that I had just...

GP and e-reminder tools? If only!

Today I had the pleasure of spending close to 15 minutes on the telephone trying to book a doctors appointment as well as a nurses appointment.  The reason it took so long was that I ideally wanted them to be next to each other to save me having to make two trips to...

The Light Fantastic

Last night I watched a very poignant documentary about Terry Pratchett, the author of The Light Fantastic, and assisted dying in Switzerland  (http://bbc.in/lFzMAQ). Terry Pratchett happens to be one of my favourite authors and he is a very articulate man who also has...

Stop, Look and Listen

  I was taught as a child to always stop, look and listen before crossing a road.  This simple rule could also be applied to the pharmaceutical industry - with the road being the first step to developing a social media presence.   Stop  The first action...

Mature products and digital

This morning I was reading about the approval of Mylan's generic version of the Alzheimer's drug Aricept - yet another reminder of the patent cliff Pharma is currently going through. One way that pharmaceutical companies try to stem the loss of revenue brought on by...

ADHD Moms – Why Facebook?

There has been quite a lot of discussion around the recent announcement that Facebook will no longer allow pharma to disable comments on their Facebook pages.  I have mixed feelings about this - but that's for another post.  What this change in Facebook did make me...

Doh!

 Last year I spent quite a bit of effort in setting up my first pharmaguapa website.  I built the site myself using Moonfruit and was very proud of the result.  I wrote quite a few posts - some of which I was told were really interesting.  Then as so often happens...

What to write as a first post?

As I sat trying to decide what to write for my first "new" blog post it struck me that this in itself is a topic - the growing profusion of resources and issues in the digital space. I was further inspired to start with this topic by one of the myriad infographics...