FDA Turns to Social Media in Digital Transformation of Minority Patient Outreach

If your perusal of social media reveals a tweet or Facebook post about heart disease, it might be a message from the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA is betting that social media will be an effective way to deliver heart-healthy messages to minority groups, populations that are at high risk for developing cardiovascular conditions. The agency is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health to mount a social media campaign to get the word out, part of an overall digital transformation in patient outreach.

There’s a good reason the FDA is using social media to reach minority groups. The FDA notes that 65 percent of Hispanics and 56 percent of African Americans use social media. The agency is taking a targeted approach to its messaging as well. While social media posts will convey awareness of cardiovascular risk factors, the agency will do so in a “culturally relevant” manner. For example, one of the approaches the FDA is taking is a bilingual Twitter chat with Spanish-speaking Twitter partner @SaludToday. Also, because social media is about social engagement, the FDA is making sure that in addition to pushing out messages it is also engaging on the online platforms as well.

The FDA hopes its outreach to minority groups will improve health in minority groups in other ways. Disease awareness could improve minority representation in clinical trials. Jovonni Spinner, a public health advisor in FDA’s Office of Minority Health, explains in a blog post that this awareness is important because some populations of patients respond differently to medication than others. The ability to test those effects in clinical trials improves the chances for the medical community to understand those differences, and then translate that understanding to better medical care. If social media turns the tide of minorities’ awareness and engagement in their health, the FDA can continue to build on this digital outreach to patient groups.

To discover ways your organization can utilize social media to improve patient engagement and to also hear what the FDA has to say about social media usage, be sure to attend Digital Pharma West, taking place June 13-15, 2016 in San Francisco, CA. This year’s event brings together more than 250 pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device innovators from organizations of ALL SIZES who are implementing company-wide digital ecosystems to embed digital health across all channels to enhance customer experience. To learn more about this event please download the brochure or visit the website. Click here to register and be sure to mention Priority Code C790BLOG.

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