Amber Benson, a strategist at digital marketing agency imc², has also been researching use of social technologies in health care. Since her perspective comes from within the company that developed marketing programs including the groundbreaking alli circles campaign, it's well worth checking out.
You can download the imc² paper "Is Social Media Right For Your Healthcare Brand" from their site. We interviewed Amber and her team for our own pharma research, and her thinking influenced mine, as you'll see from reviewing the paper. We agree that carefully examining the conditions to be treated along dimensions of use and involvement is crucial. For instance, I like their criteria for evaluating the level of investment a community is likely to get from people with a given condition:
• How much does someone have to gain by actively seeking a resolution to symptoms or a
treatment for the condition?
• Are the benefits of resolution greater than the potential downside for identifying with this
condition or brand?
Any health care company pursuing a social strategy should give these ideas a thorough review.