Monday, April 02, 2012

Sanofi Launches Diabetapedia: "Google" for Diabetes

Laura Kolodjeski (@lkolodjeski), Community Manager for Sanofi US Diabetes, sent me a Twitter DM this morning announcing the launch of Diabetapedia (di-ah-bee-tah-pee-dee-ah), a new site "to help meet educational needs of diabetes community." According to Laura, the goal is to create "a single, comprehensive place where anyone can find and share definitions of diabetes-related terms and phrases." The site's tag line is "Diabetes doesn't define you... so define diabetes."

The name "Diabetapedia" invokes a comparison to "Wikipedia," the online encyclopedia comprised of user-generated content. Diabetapedia does accept contributions from visitors who can use a form on the site to suggest a new term. To use the site, however, you first search for a term as if you were using Google. In fact, the site's home page has the simple look of a "Google" for diabetes site: a single large box for entering a term located under a large logo:

The results of a search also resemble what you would get with Google. It remains to be seen if Diabetapedia will jazz up it's logo and modify it to celebrate certain holidays the way Google does.

The simplicity of the interface also makes the site easy to access from your mobile phone. However, it is NOT optimized for mobile use (eg, the search results, etc., do not line break to enable you to read the entire definition without scrolling side to side).

Of course, there are guidelines. Terms that are appropriate for inclusion in the site include:
  • Terms that directly relate to diabetes (e.g. blood glucose meter)
  • Diabetes jargon, slang, or abbreviations (e.g. DOC, d-mom, blue Fridays)
  • Twitter hashtags that are specific to diabetes discussions (e.g. #dsma, #sweatbetes, #bgnow)
  • Diabetes-focused advocacy groups (e.g. The American Diabetes Association, The Diabetes Hands Foundation)
The most important guideline as far as pharmaceutical companies are concerned is: "do not post terms that are specific to brand names of diabetes management products."

Sanofi previews all suggestions and Sanofi promises to contact users if it requires clarification about submissions.

The site currently comes with 119 common diabetes terms and corresponding definitions. "All of the terms include a general definition from the online version of the Merriam-Webster dictionary (when available), a more specific diabetes-related definition, and any alternate uses of the term that might apply. For some," says Laura in her post introducing Diabetapedia (here), "we even included an example of a tweet or a post that demonstrates how the term is commonly used."

I hope to have Laura as a guest on my Pharma Marketing Talk show and get some more details about the site and how Sanofi hopes it will grow. One question I would ask: "Do you plan to release a Diabetapedia mobile application?"
See the questionnaire at the end of this post where you can suggest improvements for Diabetapedia and ask your own questions for Laura to answer.
P.S. Laura points out that Diabetapedia visitors' "Likes and Tweets" "may help create" a program called Diabetes Advocates run by the Diabetes Hands Foundation (DHF). The purpose, says Laura, is to "connect individuals and small organizations that have taken a leadership role in improving the world for people touched by diabetes. In 2012, Sanofi US Diabetes is proud to sponsor the Diabetes Advocates program to help empower its members to have a greater impact by helping them improve their reach and effectiveness."

A discussion of this post on Twitter:

ddwebster: Little disappointed. All definitions from Merriam-Webster RT @pharmaguy: Sanofi Launches Diabetapedia #diabetes #hcmktg8:57am, Apr 02 from Visibli
pharmaguy@ddwebster All? Including "d-mom"? Whatever, good way to start. #diabetes9:00am, Apr 02 from HootSuite
ddwebster@pharmaguy Yet to find one w/a comprehensive definition. Even A1c doesn't explain ranges, just says a test performed every 2-3 mos#diabetes9:06am, Apr 02 from TweetDeck
pharmaguy@ddwebster Admit strange to use defns frm MW instead of National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse #diabetes9:13am, Apr 02 from HootSuite
ddwebster@pharmaguy Agreed! I love the idea of the site-find info to be too generic. Pts need more detail-diabetes is complicated9:21am, Apr 02 from TweetDeck
pharmaguy@ddwebster This could develop into good resource - what happens, however, when it is no longer sponsored by S-A? #diabetes9:32am, Apr 02 from HootSuite
ddwebster@pharmaguy Yes, that begs a good question. Impressed by efforts by @SanofiDiabetes@Roche_USA in reaching pts in digital space#diabetes9:53am, Apr 02 from TweetDeck

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  1. Would like to see definitions of relevant bloggers and groups online at Diabetapedia. For example, if a friend mentioned @sixuntilme, I would like to enter "sixuntilme" and get a link and definition to Kerry Sparling's website. A little research from sanofi is what's needed to fortify this and make it impactful. I would also suggest ranking relevant definitions so that core definitions came up closer to the top, e.g. #DSMA should be defined as online chat group as the first, not sixth definition entry.

  2. Hi John - if you do get a chance to chat with Laura, I'm curious about their perspective on including products as part of Diabetapedia. Clearly products, like Sanofi's Lantus insulin, play a role in people's understanding of their diabetes and how to manage the disease. Currently, searching any of the popular diabetes products provides no results. Perhaps a similar "ad words" model including product ads is soon to follow...

    1. Hi Ross,

      Thanks for your comments. Right now it seems that S-A is not heading in that direction. It specifically bars users from submitting branded product-related comments: "do not post terms that are specific to brand names of diabetes management products."

      There is no such restriction for the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse Diabetes Dictionary where S-A gets some of its definitions. For Lantus, that dictionary refers you to the generic name "insulin glargine":

      insulin glargine (IN-suh-lin) (GLAR-jeen):
      a type of long-acting insulin with an onset of 1 hour, no peak, and a duration of 20 to 26 hours. (Brand name: Lantus.)

      Perhaps S-A could include products in ITS dictionary as long as it left out the brandname. Otherwise, it would have to include fair balance, which is not so bad. But (1) Then the site would have to go through MLR and that might slow down the development of the site, (2) S-A would have to include ALL drugs or be criticized for favoring its own products, and (3) it would have to change its posting policy for users to be consistent.

      This, however, is a good topic to discuss with Laura, who has agreed to be a guest on Pharma Marketing Talk. Stay tuned for more about that.

  3. People usually develop type 1 diabetes before their 40th year, often in early adulthood or teenage years. what is diabetes


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