Congratulations Iodine! 2018 Webby Winner in the Health Category

Iodine 4 - WebbyThe 2018 Webby winners have been announced! Congratulations to Iodine , the 2018 Webby winner of the Health category.  If you don’t already know this site, it’s well worth taking a few moments to go through it because it certainly has a lot of positive features.

The Iodine site was launched on September 30, 2014.  It is a user-friendly website that allows users to search for information on drugs and over-the-counter products. Once the user has found the product page that they are looking for, they will find all sorts of information about that particular medication based on a mixture of clinical research and real-life experience; benefits, adverse events, how to use, information from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), people’s experience and reviews about their usage of the product, pictures of the product and even alternatives to that product.  There is so much information, but yet it’s all in a really easy to use format and easy to understand language and it really does not feel overwhelming at all.  The data is credible as it all comes from the FDA and the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Although the team behind the Iodine site is quite small, what they lack for in numbers they more than make up for in experience.  According to their website, many of the people who started the Iodine site are engineers and designers that used to work on Flu Trends at Google, which unfortunately are no longer publishing current data.  According to the Iodine About page on their blog, their mission is to “help people find what works best for them” and their goal is “to become the most useful and trusted resource for medication information on the planet”. Wow, that is some lofty goal but I have a feeling that if somebody can pull it off, it just might be the team behind Iodine.

Now that we understand the site a bit better, let’s go through a little analysis of the site to see what is it that makes this site so great that it won a 2018 Webby in the health category!

For starters, according to Alexa, visitors to the Iodine website tend to be mostly females with college education who either stay at home or work outside of the home.  The daily page views per visitor is 1.2 and visitors spend an average of 1 minute and 54 seconds on the site, which is well above the average of 15 seconds according to HubSpot; “55% of visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on your website”.

Iodine 1

Here are some of the features of the Iodine website which make it stand out.

✅ Clear objective

The Iodine website has a clear objective, to provide information to Americans about various prescription and other-the-counter drugs. Visitors from other countries would benefit from this site as well, except that some information is very specific to the U.S. pharmaceutical market. Other than the fact that sometimes the brand name might not be the same from country to country, the Iodine website lists prices for the drugs, provides coupons (to be used in the U.S.) and references the FDA.

✅ Functional

Iodine achieves its goal because it is chock full of relevant information about the medication, all of which is presented in an aesthetically pleasing format and is easy for consumers and patients to understands, whether they are medically literate or not. This is paying off for Iodine because according to Alexa, the Iodine website is the 79,499 most popular website on the internet.  Now that may not seem impressive, but when you consider that there are over 1.8 billions websites out there, that figure looks pretty good all of a sudden. However, being a website targeted to Americans, it is interesting to note that within the United States, ranks at 21,230, which is definitely something to brag about. The site also ranks at an impressive 25,233 in Canada!

✅ Easy to navigate

Within a few seconds, you will most likely find what it is that you are looking for.  It’s really that easy.  The tabs are clearly marked and are readily visible. You just go to the tab of interest and scroll or click away.  It is very intuitive.

✅ Speed

I have been on this site a few times from both my laptop and smartphone, and the site always loads reliably and quickly.  There are a few graphs but no heavy images that slow you down.  GTmetrix and DareBoost report the homepage load time to be 5.3 seconds and 5.7 seconds respectively.

✅ Reliability

According to an analysis by Power Mapper, the Iodine website does not have any broken links.

✅ Search

According to an analysis by Power Mapper, there are no search issues with Google, but the titles and meta descriptions are too long to be optimal on Yahoo and Bing.

❌ Social component

Although the site allows feedback from people who have used a specific drug, the format of the site is not conducive to generating a conversation. I do appreciate the ability to filter the reviews based on being a female, age and condition being treated.  It allows one to find a patient similar to oneself.

Although Iodine has social sites which it communicates from, such as its presence on Twitter Facebook and its blog (which has not been updated since October 2017), none of its web pages seem to have any sharing icons such as Facebook, Twitter or other.  This might have been done intentionally due to the seriousness of keeping their visitors’ privacy intact since they are looking up details about medications which could provide insight into their health conditions.  Or maybe it’s just an oversight, or it  has not been a priority.

This site is most useful for American patients and consumers, but it could expand its audience to healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical / health industry workers.

What do you think of the Iodine website?  Leave us your comments.


Iodine 2


Iodine 3


Teva uses social media to promote their research challenge

The pharmaceutical industry has been slow to adopt social media marketing, so it is always exciting for me to find a little gem that is different from what has been typically done in pharma in the past.  Here’s one that I found today that I wanted to share with you.

Teva Pharmaceutical, in association with ALS Association and Huntington’s Disease Society of America, is using a novel approach to launch a challenge to researchers worldwide to help them find a business solution.  The TEVA Challenge aims to find Novel Therapeutic Targets for Disorders of the Central Nervous System.

Today, Teva used their social media channels on Facebook (2,225 followers), Twitter (4,337 followers) and LinkedIn to promote this challenge. See their posts from earlier today, March 27 2018, below;



TEVA CNS disorder challenge - twitter


TEVA CNS disorder challenge

Their following on Facebook and Twitter is rather small and it probably consists of a majority of consumers along with a  pharmaceutical professionals within various roles, some of which might be research. However, the odds are good that they might reach their ideal candidate on LinkedIn.  Not only is LinkedIn focused on professionals, but Teva has a large following on this network.  With 106 ‘likes’ within 11 hours, the word is going to spread.



TEVA CNS disorder challenge linkedin

Social media has made it easier to reach and communicate with others around the world.  There is no doubt that Teva Pharmaceutical is searching for a pin in a haystack, but if they are successful in finding the right person, it will have all been worth it, because that person just might give them the answer that they need.  If they do not find the person, they have made some noise about themselves and their desire to do research and innovate.  The latter is not what Teva is hoping for, but my point is that there are no negatives in the method for searching for the right person.

Whether or not they find their ideal target via social media, this is definitely a novel way of reaching out to find a potential partner to help them achieve their business objectives.  Way to go Teva Pharmaceutical for opening up this dialogue with your networks.

For more details on the Teva challenge, go here.  Good luck to all who apply.

J&J Live Facebook Video – #ChampionsOfScience Competition

J&J went live on Facebook yesterday to share their Champions of Science, The Lab Coat of the Future finalists’ competition.  It was completely unbranded and simply focused on science. Their key message was that the lab coat is an integral symbol of innovation and science, yet it has not been updated in over a century. The objective of the competition was to grant the group with the best idea to innovate the lab coat with a $50,000 award.

My interest in this tactic is not the content of the video nor the objective of the competition itself, but rather the means that J&J chose to host the grand finale of the competition; via Facebook live video.

J&J Live FB

This was a well chosen medium because it made it ideal to promote the event and create hype for it online, meaning that a much larger audience could hear and learn about it.  It also created the potential for a much, much larger audience than would have been possible had the event been held in front of a live audience only.  This allowed over 11K views of the live Facebook video.  The finalists must have appreciated this large audience, whether they won or not, because it means that their work was made visible to a much larger audience and potentially to an investor as well.

When Mark Zuckerberg announced the new Facebook algorithm that would allow people to focus on their friends’ posts, he did allude to the face that live Facebook videos would still be a priority feature on page followers’ homepages.  Live Facebook videos remain a method of reaching a lot of eyeballs, and it is still free.  Keep in mind that when you have over 776K followers like J&J’s Facebook page, the odds would definitely be in your favor for getting a large online audience.

Note that there were no ads listed under their ad tab on the day of the live Facebook video.  It is not known if they had advertised on Facebook days prior to their live broadcast.  I am not certain if J&J took advantage of the Facebook stories feature when they were promoting their live broadcast.  If so, then I missed it.  If not, then I would certainly recommend that to whoever is hoping to replicate this type of activity.

A live Facebook video also has the option of living on, getting engagement from viewers during the broadcast as well as afterwards.  For example, after almost 24 hours after the live J&J Champions of Science broadcast, the video was viewed over 11K times, has been shared 146 times, received 465 reactions (all positive or neutral) and 225 comments.

J&J Live FB 1

The live broadcast was even talked about on Twitter with the hashtag #ChampionsOfScience, with 559 posts by 235 users (Source: Keyhole). There are 127 Instagram posts with the hashtag #ChampionsOfScience , however many of these are either from a much earlier date and a few seemed to be completely unrelated to the event.

On a personal note, I hope that we will see more pharmaceutical events such as this one showcased live on Facebook, because this will show the general public that pharma companies do a lot of good work within their communities, and often do not get recognized for them.  Kudos to J&J!

Congratulations to the winners and best of luck to the two other finalists in finding another investor for your ideas.

Pfizer Honors Women in Science with Instagram Story

The pharmaceutical industry is starting to take advantage of the greater visibility of stories on both Instagram and Facebook.  You can see an example of a Facebook story by Bayer here and by Pfizer here.

Today, Pfizer posted an Instagram story to honor women in science.  It is a nice collection of their female employees, known as colleagues, who are making a difference in bringing new medicines for various diseases.  This is well thought-out media tactic as not only does it honor women and promote women in science, but it also gives a public pat on the back to some of their own employees.  Pfizer has a track record of acknowledging its employees publicly and on social media as is described by their #PfizerColleagues social media campaign.

Here are the screen shots of the Pfizer Instagram story honoring women in science:

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Facebook Story by Bayer Focuses on Patient

Bayer Facebook story

Yesterday, the Bayer Facebook page promoted a story that was unbranded and provided health tips for patients.  Screen shots are available at the bottom of this blog post.  Although I have not seen others by Bayer, it appears as though this was part of a series, so there will hopefully be more to come. Keeping the stories unbranded is a great way to ensure that there are no regulatory violations since this global Bayer Facebook page seems to represent all of its affiliates, and each country has its own regulatory requirements. Plus, this shows that the focus of the story was to help patients.  It is very patient-centric.

Pfizer recently used Facebook stories to promote their presence and main message at a cardiology conference.

With the recent Facebook algorithm changes which makes it more challenging for organic page posts to be seen by followers, it is not surprising to see more and more pages use Facebook stories to engage with their followers.  Facebook stories are a great way of reaching out to passive followers, followers that do not see your posts on their timeline anymore or those that just forgot about your page and possibly your organization. Unfortunately, viewers cannot like or comment on stories by pages, but it’s still a great way (and free, at least for the moment) to get your brand name in front of your followers’ eyes.  Note that you can reply to stories by friends, but not by pages.

Replies to someone’s story are sent in Messenger and can only be seen by the story’s owner and the person replying. Here is what the Bayer Facebook story like.

Bayer Facebook story 1Bayer Facebook story 2

Update March 21, 2018:  Here is a new story by Bayer that complements the one above which was posted on the previous day.


Bayer Facebook story A1

Bayer Facebook story A2

Bayer Facebook story A3

Bayer Facebook story A4



Is the Term “Digital Patient” Still Relevant in this New Era?

75685492 - male doctor in futuristic medical conceptThe term “digital patient” has been used for several years now.  So far, it appears to have  referred to the digitally savvy patient that wants to participate in his or her healthcare with the use of technology.  But is this term still accurate?

You may have heard or seen Shudu, the first digital supermodel.  She does not actually exist, but from her Instagram pictures, she seems real, and she has the potential of landing real paying jobs (and may already be getting some, but I’m not sure)! Although she has some critics, she does have a huge following and is getting a lot of attention from the technology industry.

This got me thinking about the term “digital patient”.  In the era of seemingly real characters such as Shudu, wouldn’t the term “digital patient” refer to a non-existing patient that was digitally created, however real that character may or may not appear to be. It might be time to switch to the term “digitally savvy patient” because sooner or later, the healthcare industry will get its own Shudu-like digital patients.  Some may already even exist.

Pfizer Uses Facebook Stories to Promote their Presence at Conference

Many physicians and medical suppliers attended the American College of Cardiology 2018 conference this past weekend.  To follow the conversation on social sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, follow the hashtag #ACC18 .

One of the participating suppliers cleverly used Facebook stories towards the end of the conference to summarize its key messages about stroke prevention and thanked the conference attendees for following the conversation.  I was not present at this conference, but since I like the Pfizer page, I was able to see thePfizer Facebook story on my homepage.  See the screen shots of the Pfizer Facebook story at the bottom of this post.

Back in the later part of 2017, Facebook opened up stories to Facebook pages.  Pages that post stories get featured on both mobile and desktop.  It is becoming more and more difficult for pages to get noticed on Facebook these days, and Facebook stories provides ideal real estate on its followers’ homepage.  Facebook stories are pretty hard to miss when you are on your homepage, which makes them a great opportunity to become visible again to an audience who may not see many of your posts anymore due to the new Facebook algorithm.  Just like any other type of advertisement, you need to be visible on a relatively frequent basis in order to achieve top of mind status with your audience, so you might want to consider posting a Facebook story on a daily basis.

Have you tried Facebook stories for pages yet?  If so, let us know about your experience.

Pfizer Facebook story from the 2018 ACC conference.Pfizer Facebook story from the 2018 ACC conference.Pfizer Facebook story from the 2018 ACC conference.Pfizer Facebook story from the 2018 ACC conference.

Facebook Wants You to be Healthier, so they Would Like you to See Less of Them

Mark Zuckerberg says that he wants people to spend less time on Facebook so that the time spent on his social platform is truly focused on encouraging meaningful connections between people in order to promote well-being.  Many people don’t seem to be reacting too well to this statement, accusing him of either being untruthful in his statements, making excuses to cover up already reducing activity on his site, or of meddling with their newsfeed, which they designed the way that they like.

I am undecided as to how I feel about his message of well being.  Is it an honest message?  If so, then I applaud his altruistic efforts.  However, I would be curious to know how Facebook plans on measuring whether their users who have reduced their Facebook time have improved their quality of engagement with others.

Until then, don’t forget to set your favorite pages as “see first” so that you don’t miss too many of their posts.

Saving Facebook Posts in Collections – Is this the End of Pinterest?

Do you save Facebook posts from pages that you like so that you can view them later?  I have been doing this since September 2016, and I save a lot of posts.  My saved posts range from medical information, social media updates, to kid-friendly posts.  But up until today, my saved Facebook posts have been all mixed together, with no organization other than how the posts were saved chronologically.  Good luck trying to find that saved Facebook post that you liked so much a few months ago, and only now have time to take action on it.  So although saving Facebook posts has been helpful for me, my only complaint was that I could not categorize my saved posts.

Now you can!  You can create Facebook collections, which are similar to Pinterest boards.  When you create a new collection, you name it and then you can go back to your old saved videos to save them in a collection, and new videos can be saved directly into the collection.  If the saved Facebook post fits in more than one collection, that is fine also.  Just like you can pin an image to more than one Pinterest board, you can save a Facebook post to more than one collection.

You can go back and retroactively assign your old saved Facebook posts to a newly-created collection.  Go to your saved items and find the video that you want to add to a collection.  Click on the “…” underneath the post.  at this point, you have the option of creating a new collection or adding to a collection that you have already named and saved.

Facebook collection - new - to organize saved posts

As for new Facebook posts that you want to save from now on, you can add them to an existing collection or create a new collection.

Facebook collection - new - to organize saved posts 1


Facebook collection - new - to organize saved posts 2

You can see that you added the saved post to a collection by looking at the line above the post itself.

Facebook collection - new - to organize saved posts 3


And finally, you can find all your saved posts either in chronological order or by collection in your Saved items.

Considering many Facebook pages post similar content on Facebook as they pin on Pinterest, the new Facebook post collections may end up replacing Pinterest, at least to a certain degree, with some users.  Personally, since I already save a lot of posts and I tend to spend more time on Facebook than Pinterest, I can see Facebook collections becoming my main way of saving items for future action.

What impact do you think this will have on Pinterest in the long term?

Facebook App for Kids has Health Experts Worried

45663146 - toddler girl watching a tablet computerOn December 4, 2017, Facebook announced its new Facebook app for kids in the United States; Messenger Kids.  The intent of this new product is to allow children under 13 years of age (no lower age limit) to video chat and and message with family and friends that are approved by the parents.  The app can be installed on the child’s tablet but managed by the parent via their personal Facebook account.

When the child opens the app, they first see all the approved people that they can connect with on their screen, and they will know who is online.  At that point, the child can connect with their friend or relative.  There are fun tools such as stickers, masks and drawing tools to enhance the child’s experience with the app.

There are no ads, no in-app purchases and your child’s information is not used for ads.  Messenger Kids is also designed to be compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA).

The way Facebook describes their new Messenger Kids kind of sounds like an updated version of a child calling a friend or relative on the telephone, but with certain technologically advanced features.  But it really is more than just that.

Children’s health experts and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) are concerned about the health issues that may arise in developing children if they start using social media while too young. The CCFC sent a letter signed by more than 100 leading child development experts and advocates urging Mark Zuckerberg to put kids’ wellbeing first and scrap Messenger Kids.  Here are some of the valid concerns that the CCFC highlighted:

The app has no minimum age, and its emojis, colorful stickers, and animations are designed to draw and hold children’s attention even if they’re too young to type.

A growing body of research links social media use by adolescents with depression, poor sleep habits, and unhealthy body image. Younger children are even less equipped to deal with the interpersonal challenges and addictive power of social media.

The “fun” design and anticipation of friends’ responses will keep children coming back to their devices.Moving friendships online displaces the face-to-face interactions crucial for developing empathy and healthy relationships.

The CCFC also started a petition urging the public to show their support in requesting that Facebook scrap Messenger Kids right away.  So far, within just a few mere hours of launching their petition, the CCFC has already collected over 300 signatures.

Personally, I will keep my kids off Messenger Kids.  When my younger children want to call or video chat with grandma or with a little buddy, I’ll just take a minute or so to help them set up the video chat or call from my laptop.  That way, the amount of time is limited (although they often chat with grandma for a good hour, but that’s quality time, right?) but more importantly, they won’t be tempted to make calls whenever they see that somebody is online.  That could quickly become a real nuisance for the person on the other end.

You can follow the hashtag #NoFBKids to read and engage with others who have an opinion on this topic.