We’ve written before about Epidemico, a startup that grew out of the Boston Children’s Hospital’s work on combing social media for medical and health data. Today at the Health 2.0 conference in Santa Clara, California, Greg Powell, director of pharmacovigilance at GlaxoSmithKline, talked about how the pharma company uses the data it collects from its partnership with Epidemico.
“People really are communicating a lot online on social media,” Powell said. “There’s actually a wealth of information here that potentially hasn’t been tapped into until recently. The question is ‘If people are talking about our products, should we be listening to what they’re saying?’ The answer is ‘Of course’.”
GlaxoSmithKline collected data about public postings on Twitter and Facebook that mentioned any of a list of 1,000 of the companies drugs. Altogether, they found more than 6 million hits on Twitter and more than 15 million hits on Facebook.
“To put that in perspective, there’s more adverse events discussions online, in social media, in one year than there are in the FDA database since it started in 1968,” Powell said.
Epidemico helps GSK to filter that data, eliminate the noise posts, de-identify it (which importantly helps GSK get around FDA reporting requirements) and standardized the language around things like drug names and medical conditions. Keep reading>>