Summary of Report -
This study's research objective is to gauge social media usage within the medical devices industry. The data was collected in October 2011, using web-based surveys. The sample consisted of 170 medical devices professionals from the United States and Europe. Personal use of social media for professional purposes is quite high among employees of the medical devices industry; this study assesses the main usage reasons cited by users of social media as well as the main benefits that are afforded by this technology. It also covers the number-one ranked risk of social media and how this might impact usage.
The main benefit of social media is its high marketing potential (being a low-investment tool at the same time). The possibility to create a forum for online collaboration in the clinical community regarding technology usage is also very important.
The number-one ranked risk of social media is the possible raising of regulatory issues with regards to the FDA (mainly in the United States). Also, there is a risk of losing control of the conversation with clinicians, and further, a risk of letting dissatisfied employees speak up. Despite these perceived risks, social media is perceived as having an overall positive impact on organizations for promoting growth
Companies should not totally block access to social media sites, as the whole realm of customer knowledge can be found there. Social media is especially important, taking into consideration the growing popularity of an open innovation model within the healthcare/medical devices industry. Furthermore, it is likely that blocking social media sites will not be effective, as many people use mobile devices to access anyway.
There is no possible way to censor social media, so there is a need to train marketing/public relations how to react when discussions in social media become out of control and/or how to overcome social media disasters. To guard against social media disasters and to allay fears of the compromise or misuse of sensitive information, agencies, consultants, technology providers, and the social networks themselves can take an opportunity to address the needs of this specialized group of professionals.
As only a minority of medical devices organizations are "very well developed" in terms of social media, working to increase development may create a competitive advantage-at least in terms of communicating with the market.
2011 Global Social Media in the Medical Devices Industry: Medical Devices Professionals Speak on Social Media, is available at: