While social media had already been on the rise for disseminating medical information, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed many healthcare providers (HCPs) into the space. Whether it was to reach otherwise isolated groups dealing with rare conditions, combat medical misinformation, or find light ways to engage with more patients and colleagues, it’s no doubt that HCPs of all varieties are a now a powerful influencing force on healthcare. So when it comes to gaining trust on social media, HCPs should be the go-to influencers for pharma to get on their side. PM360 sought out some of the most influential HCPs on social media from various backgrounds and asked them what their social media life is like and how they would like to work with pharma. Once the industry knows more about the preferences and needs of HCPs, we can better serve them as they connect with each other and their patients with the information they need, when and where they need it.

Eva Beaulieu, MD

Eva Beaulieu, MD

Internist
Instagram: @dr.evab
Followers: 71,000+

What type of professional content do you share?

I mostly share educational, informative, and inspirational content on my social media pages.

How often do you engage with other HCPs or patients?

I don’t interact much with patients on social media. I try to avoid answering medical questions via social media platforms due to the liability involved. I do, however, interact and engage with other healthcare providers who are mostly influencers, but we do not discuss medical issues or patient care issues. Instead, we have social- and influencing-related conversations.

Do you see social media engagement making a difference for patients?

I don’t use social media to reach my patients. Instead, I use social media to share my story, to motivate, to empower, educate, celebrate, and encourage black women to not be afraid to strive towards greatness and follow their dream regardless of the societal barriers.

Are you a Key Opinion Leader/Digital Opinion Leader for pharma? What do you look for in a partnership with pharma?

Yes, I would definitely consider being a KOL/DOL for pharma. One in three consumers in the U.S. consult social media for health-related matters. When working and partnering with a brand, I want to make sure that I remain ethical, responsible, culturally sensitive, diverse, inclusive, and non-controversial. My goal is to positively impact my community and engage them for the long term by regularly providing valuable content that educates and informs.

What’s an important topic to you that you post about?

My social media pages are filled with inspirational content, especially about dealing with medical school and becoming a professional in the industry.

Sanjay Juneja, MD

Sanjay Juneja, MD

Hematologist & Medical Oncologist
Instagram and TikTok: @TheOncDoc
Followers: 500,000+

What type of professional content do you share?

Definitely cancer “mythbusters.” Many think cancer can’t be cured, it’s all cytotoxic (poison) chemotherapy, but immunotherapy and targeted therapy have been revolutionary. I also like to talk about common “every day” problems that are often dismissed (and unfortunately seem to affect females more) but can significantly change the quality of life for someone if left undiagnosed or untreated. For example, iron deficiency, even without anemia, can cause fatigue and restless leg syndrome, but simply replacing iron can help these things significantly. I just want to put things out there that could empower a person to get a deeper investigation done by their HCP if they haven’t already.

How often do you engage with other HCPs or patients?

Very regularly—more than any other engagements for sure. We [HCPs] of course encourage one another when good information is put out there. We also palliate one another by just talking about the occasional stresses of trying to create good material while making time to stay healthy and see friends given work and family already take so much time. My favorite part though is collaborating on each other’s videos when seeing each other in person. That always makes for a good time.

Do you see social media engagement making a difference for patients?

I don’t make social media to reach my patients in particular because most of the content are things I already teach in the patient room. I do it to reach patients who may be in communities where oncologists or hematologists are few and far between, or very volume overloaded. Not knowing about something, like why treatments, tests, or scans are happening, can make for a very different experience for a patient and their family. That difference can be met by just having that information accessible on platforms they use most. It can also (and I have received hundreds of DMs testifying to this) help their care next time they’re in the doctor’s office. For example, “Hey, I saw on TikTok somewhere a low MCV and high RDW could strongly suggest iron deficiency as the cause of my anemia—could we check it?”

Are you a Key Opinion Leader/Digital Opinion Leader for pharma? What do you look for in a partnership with pharma?

I help several pharma companies in the cancer sector because, unfortunately, many parts of the country are still inappropriately using older treatment regimens. They might be inferior in survival and/or toxicity to newer, more updated treatments that would improve a patient’s quality of life. In a world where most specialists are oversaturated and overworked, in conjunction with a rapidly, evolving therapeutic space where new discoveries are made every month, it is a tall order to keep every oncologist up to date if they’re working 60+ hours a week, with family responsibilities at home. The better we can optimize the delivery of information by pharma companies to patients and providers, the better we can equip providers and empower patients.

What’s an important topic to you that you post about?

We live in a world where people just want to know more and be more involved in their care, and rightfully so. There’s no space where more medical education and information that is accurate couldn’t be of use. On top of that, every individual has a unique way of expressing or sharing a piece of knowledge, and there could be one or 100 people who need to hear it just that very way to understand it best. The more we get out there, the more we grow as a whole.

Joyce Kahng, DDS

Joyce Kahng, DDS

Cosmetic Dentist
Instagram and TikTok: @JoycetheDentist
Followers: 140,000+

What type of professional content do you share?

I share “Edu-tainment” based on science to encourage people to be their own oral health advocates. Each Instagram Reel is 7-12 seconds to trending music. This is a terrific way to address frequently asked questions and otherwise misunderstood dental tips.

How often do you engage with other HCPs or patients?

I have a strong community of HCPs on Instagram, and try my best to engage, comment, and like videos from other HCPs. The better their videos do, the more those videos will reach the eyes of those not in the healthcare field. Additionally, the more HCPs are supported in the social media space, the stronger our collective voices are against self-proclaimed experts who spread misinformation.

Do you see social media engagement making a difference for patients?

I started my social media to reach patients by creating daily dental tips to help patients stay on track with their dental care between their six-month appointments. My feed serves as a daily reminder to brush, floss, and prioritize their oral health as a form of self-care. Those who follow me on Instagram are some of my most consistent patients and it is wonderful to see their clinical stats improving!  It also opens up the conversation to patients who normally would be shy about asking their provider questions. They feel more comfortable asking without feeling a sense of judgment or embarrassment. Additionally, Instagram has been a great way to humanize my profession to others because they can see I am just like them: a mom, a dentist, and a small business owner who is trying her best.

Are you a Key Opinion Leader/Digital Opinion Leader for pharma? What do you look for in a partnership with pharma?

Yes, I consider myself a key opinion leader/digital opinion leader in dentistry. My content is geared towards the consumer, however. And it is important to cater to my large following of dental colleagues on my account.

What’s an important topic to you that you post about?

A topic that is important to me as a new mom is helping other new moms navigate oral healthcare for their babies. Great dental experiences start from home at a young age, and the parents are often the first to educate their children. As a mom, I’ve experienced firsthand how difficult it can be to try and floss and brush a screaming one-year-old. I try to show realistic options that are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) for moms who are struggling. Prevention starts very early!

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