We bloggers and social network afficionados have been calling for the medical establishment to wake up and smell the Java, and recognize that we patients have a new place to congregate and a new communal voice on the web. Why don't they recognize us and engage with us, we ask?
Well now I know that at least one big Pharma company producing glucose meters and pumps is listening. Not only listening, but they'd like to start building a closer relationship with our online community. As a first step, they've decided to host a Social Media Summit and invite some of the most vocal diabetes advocates on the web to meet in person for a brainstorming session.
I was approached by Roche Diabetes Care a few months ago to help them in this effort. What we've decided to do is organize a one-day event on-site at the Roche headquarters in Indianapolis, IN, in late July. About 25 people will be receiving invitations soon via email. Some of the objectives of the day will be to:
- Help bloggers/online advocates craft a manifesto for working together in the interest of the patient community at large.
- Facilitate an open discussion about Pharma's engagement in diabetes social media; what are the Do's and Dont's?
And yes, we'll talk about inherent conflicts. It should be quite an interesting day!
So this post is a combination of disclosure (I'm doing some consulting work for Roche) and a news announcement that diabetes Pharma companies are rolling up their sleeves and getting ready to jump in to the "messy world" of patient communication online. I'm excited to be part of this early wave, which will certainly help set the tone for the future.
**** UPDATE ****
The folks at Roche have asked me to clarify that we've timed this event so you can attend on July 22-23, and still make it to the BlogHer conference the next day on time. The venues are only 165 mi. apart and transportation arrangements can be made.