Social Media Monitoring: Innovation for Public & Veteran Health

It’s been nearly twenty years since Newsweek published Clifford Stoll’s hype alert about the Internet… and I’m sure we can all agree that the Internet has not been disregarded as a “trendy and oversold community.” On the contrary, businesses are investing more and more dollars into online advertising, as demonstrated in the 2012 US Internet ad revenue of $36.6 billion, a 15 percent increase over 2011. This trend is expected to continue through 2013 with an expected spend of $42.26 billion, a 14.9 percent increase over 2012. Over the next few years, Internet ad spend is projected to continue growing at slowly decreasing rates.

One of Stoll’s concerns was the inability to filter the noise, and this has been solved. Top enterprise software players have been heavily investing in Social Media MonitoringSalesforce purchased Radian6 for $326 million back in 2011. Oracle picked up Collective Intellect for an undisclosed sum in 2012. And since then, social media practitioners have identified over 100 ways to use social media monitoring to capture the value of social networking.

Day-to-day personal interactions that don’t include social media are becoming harder and harder to find. US consumers spent 20-30 percent of their time online or 121 billion total minutes in July 2012 on social networking, up 37 percent from 2011. In other words, Americans alone spend upwards of 24 billion hours each year divulging minute-to-minute personal details online… or lurking…  with no indication of stopping.

This week, Ombud has taken a look at some innovative ways organizations are leveraging that magnitude of data for potentially life-saving innovations in Social Media Monitoring technologies.


Pharma + Consumer Surveillance = PharmacovigilancePharma

Social media trends present an opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry to gain medical insights and provide immediate medical alerts to consumers. This translates into a significant opportunity to revolutionize pharmacovigilance.

Pharmacovigilance is the science and activities related to detecting, assessing, understanding and preventing adverse event (any undesirable experience) or any other drug-related problem.

A partnership between the EU and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, known as the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), is bringing Social Media Monitoring to pharmacovigilance. IMI is currently seeking social media innovation to establish a policy and regulatory framework for pharmacovigilance surveillance.

The IMI has two overall methods of gathering crucial self-reported data:

  1. Reporting: Patients suffering suspected adverse effects from medications could directly report to appropriate authorities through a mobile app integrated with established workflows and tools. Such reports can come from patients or physicians and becomes the basis of a two-way communication between reporter and authority.
  2. Data Mining: Social media will be scanned for emerging, self-reported medical insights. Content gathered from several web sources into a social media monitoring solution will allow for analysis and identification of adverse events in real-time.

This will allow for real-time reporting, identification and alerting on adverse events.

Leveraging Social Media Monitoring for healthcare is also taking hold in the US.


US Veteran Support

Social Media Monitoring technologies also allow for a new effort to save American veterans. Military suicide experts are collaborating with software companies to identify signs of despondency in military veterans through social media.

On average, 22 US military veterans are lost to suicide each day. These men and women may not explicitly announce their intentions in their Facebook statuses. However, military suicide experts believe social media postings can be analyzed for instant help before it’s too late.

These experts are currently researching their theory to find out how to monitor social media postings to predict and prevent military and veteran suicides.

Phase one of the project has already been completed. Based on doctors’ notes from veteran patients, experts identified key words and phrases to create a language-driven suicide prediction model.

Up to 100,000 service members and veterans in addition to their support network will be volunteering in phase two of the project to test the model’s predictive quality.

The results of this study will become the basis of identifying at-risk service members and veterans. Once identified, they will be automatically linked to resources. Their support network will also be notified in hopes of initiating intervention in time for prevention.


Key Takeaway

Innovating new uses for Social Media Monitoring technologies, organizations are demonstrating the value of social media far beyond networking and marketing.

After identifying a Social Media Monitoring initiative, the second step is finding the best tool to accomplish your goal. Dozens of options exist ranging from comprehensive social business tools to listening tools to publishing tools. Each is equipped with a very different set of capabilities and total cost of ownership.

Ombud has included Social Media Monitoring tools within our Social Media Management category. Download your customized Social Media Management Buying Guide now to get started at no cost.

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