Pixels and Pills Shares Digital Pharma East Thrills

Special thanks to Michael Spitz (@SpitzStrategy) at Pixel and Pills for sharing his experiences onsite at the 6th Digital Pharma East

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On behalf of the entire Pixels and Pills blog crew, we were thrilled to attend and honored to help capture some of the wonderful thinking and compelling innovation surrounding the 6th Annual Digital Pharma East conference in Philly this year.

With our booth set up right outside the Loew’s Philadelphia Hotel main presentation room on Tuesday and Wednesday last week, and up on the mezzanine throughout Thursday’s “Mobile Day,” we shot more than 30 key digital pharma opinion leaders, including keynote speakers, pharma innovators, entrepreneurs and innovators, bloggers and visionaries, and many others who braved the camera and shared their wares.

Lisa Flaiz from Jannsen, discussing digital pharma potential with interviewer Spitz from Pixels and Pills

Lisa Flaiz from Jannsen, discussing digital pharma potential with interviewer Spitz from Pixels and Pills

What impressed us the most about the conference overall was the level of palpable excitement permeating the presentation halls, breakout tracks, master classes, interactive panels, and within the sponsor areas. Gone are the days when “digital pharma” seemed a pipe dream or mere line item on the marketing budget, as an amazing confluence of technological and communications change sweeps the industry. Many of our interviewees pointed out how now is the time for digital health to demonstrate its true potential, as virtually every target audience including patients, caregivers, physicians, payers, hospital groups eagerly embrace the digital channel like never before.

In terms of conference content, the depth and breadth of the subject matter was timely and impressive. Only a few years ago the industry was struggling with how to handle unbranded disease education and the potential of a branded website experience. The iPad has since single-handedly redefined how healthcare audiences engage with digital content, forcing the hand of once-emerging technologies into mainstream pharma communications, and compelling marketers to embrace new models in mobile and even social networking.

With these unprecedented and often unexpected advances in mobility has blossomed the reality of “the point of care everywhere,” bringing vast and nimble data resources into the hands of physicians and patients wherever they may be. Astute and innovative pharma and device manufacturers have acted on the opportunities, embracing touch screen interactive visual aids for sales reps, diagnostic and educational apps, and even flexible practice management tools for specialists, hospital groups, and other constituents hungry for seamless connectivity with their treatment providers.

In parallel to these technological changes (and often reinforced by them) are active and vibrant initiatives to evolve the legal and regulatory framework through which all branded forms of pharma and medical device communication must flow. Mark Bard of the Digital Health Coalition epitomizes this effort to bring industry, government, entrepreneurs, and even the ultimate end-user, the empowered patient, into the mix. As Mark discussed in his interview with us, the Coalition’s goal isn’t so much to draft prescriptive, granular guidance, as instead stimulate dialogue and bridge the gaps inhibiting the incredible potential engendered by the healthcare interactive technology landscape.

Mark Bard, Digital Health Coalition, explaining their goals with Spitz from Pixels and Pills

Mark Bard, Digital Health Coalition, explaining their goals with Spitz from Pixels and Pills

Perhaps most significantly, this year’s Digital Pharma East Conference reinforces the validity and vitality of the digital health conference circuit. Nowhere else can industry stakeholders, communications and technology experts, entrepreneurs and innovators, sponsors and bloggers openly meet, engage, share ideas, and brainstorm the future of pharma digital. Although the very tools discussed and featured enable and encourage communication like never before, there’s still no substitute for true face time, and sharing ideas and innovation live with hundreds of one’s peers in a setting dedicated solely to the exercise.

The interactive format of Digital Pharma East lent itself perfectly to this new sensibility, and fostered the opportunities for brainstorming the attendees expected. Robust Q&A followed presentations, while breakouts and master classes offered smaller and more specialized venues for deep dives into areas, all led by subject matter experts in their respective fields. We hope this “Unconference” trend continues, giving stakeholders and pundits an even great opportunity to do what they do best, namely tear down walls and figure out ways to best connect with each other, their audiences, and with the pulse of the digital health revolution.

Visit Pixels and Pills to see the videos, dozens being edited and posted the following few weeks. Share your feedback, and let’s keep the digital pharma conversation alive!


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