Monitoring is a fact of life for any healthcare company active in social channels. This post looks at some common monitoring patterns and talks about why different companies use different patterns.
The words “monitoring” and “listening” are sometimes used interchangeably when talking about social media programs but they shouldn’t be because they have very different meanings and implications. As social projects become more prevalent in pharmaceutical and medical device companies these differences will become more pronounced and even more important.
Monitoring vs. Listening
The difference between monitoring and listening is the frequency and “service level” of the activities. Monitoring implies that the channels are being reviewed consistently on a regular schedule and that the activities are being tracked to ensure quality. Listening is an activity that is performed less frequently, often on a monthly or quarterly basis, but is much deeper and typically results in a more robust report on the findings.
Common Monitoring Timeframes
We have a number of social media projects with various clients and we have seen a wide range of attention paid to monitoring. This is the most time-sensitive activity in a social program and we have seen different “tiers” of concern from clients. Some of the more risk-intolerant clients use patterns like this:
- 7 days a week, twice a day checking on the channels to ensure that issues are handled and reported well within the 24-hour internal deadline for communicating with pharmacovigilance
- 7 days a week, once a day checking on the channels to get issues reported to pharmacovigilance
Both of the above take the approach that the FDA will hold companies responsible for comments within very tight time-frames. At Klick Health we don’t necessarily think that’s true, since the guidance for reporting adverse events and product complaints to the agency is up to 15 working days (from Guideline for Postmarketing Reporting of Adverse Drug Experiences, page 2).
Other clients take a more relaxed approach to monitoring with some common standards being:
- 5 days a week (working days), once a day checking of the channels
- 2 times per week when managing the channels and adding content
- Ad-hoc, no defined process for monitoring
As an agency that works with the channels continually we don’t think that there is one standard for monitoring that will ever work for all firms because of the number of variables that affect the decision:
- The risk tolerance of the regulatory, legal, and corporate communications groups
- The existence of a Corporate Integrity Agreement or other document that holds a company to a higher standard
- The nature of the products the company markets and the characteristics of the audience
When building out your social plans, make sure you can accommodate the required monitoring that your firm will require.