Thursday, June 04, 2009

Thank You Johnson & Johnson for Dinner

Yes, despite my past misgivings about Bloggers Dining at Pharma's Table, I accepted an invitation from Rob Halper (responsible for JNJHealth, J&J's YouTube page) and Marc Monseau (blogger at JNJBTW Blog) to dinner at Piano Due in NYC.

The purpose of this dinner was to discuss the shifting landscape of healthcare 2.0, an informal discussion about social media and the healthcare industry.

Thank you J&J for a great dinner! I enjoyed meeting up with "old" friends and making new friends as well.

I think my end of the table had the best discussion going! ;-) Although Marc and Rob strategically placed themselves midstream, I'm afraid they may not have been able to hear and take in any learnings available from either end. So let me summarize our discussion:

(1) Some of my physician friends at the table were very concerned about misinformation that consumers/patients may post on SM sites (eg, discussion boards). And how small, vocal groups, can come to dominate Google searches making their views seem to have more appeal than their numbers warrant. That's the problem with "wisdom of crowds" -- depends on how you define crowd (see, for example, "The Problem with Social Networks: Where's the Wisdom in 1% of a Crowd?")

(2) For patients, the best, safest, and most accurate health information is available through social media (eg, discussion boards, blogs) that are populated by a variety of stakeholders: patients, physicians, caregivers, etc. I would add to that pharma companies as well, but we did not discuss how this could happen.

On my way home accompanied by Andrew (another J&J employee), I suggested that if he were to start a blog the best way to promote what he is doing is via direct response to comments submitted; ie, speak up only when asked.

This would work with discussions not involving specific products (Andrew's content concerns health reform issues and wellness/patient assistance programs).

(3) Google is the online equivalent to Oprah Winfrey! This brings me back to (1). Oprah is just one person, yet her views influence millions. If it's OK for TV -- and maybe it's not (see "Who's the Quackadoo? Oprah or Dr. Oz?") -- then it's OK for online as well; "same rules apply" as the FDA would say.

Full disclosure: I do not do any consulting or other paid work for J&J. J&J paid for the dinner, but I paid all my travel expenses to get there.

Marc, please name a charity that is important to J&J employees and I will donate $50 to it. I know it may not cover the entire cost of my dinner, but it's all I can afford right now. Seeing from your blog what some J&J people volunteer to do makes me ashamed of not giving enough myself to charitable causes. Thanks for the opportunity.

P.S. The photo displayed in this post was NOT taken at last night's dinner! It's a pic from some other (non J&J) dinner that I did not attend.


  1. Marc Monseau9:54 AM

    Great wrap-up of the conversation at your end of the table, John. I'll get you the name of that charity pronto. Sitting in the middle, I only caught bits of your discussion about the accuracy of online health information, but I tend to agree with the importance of having a broad range of stakeholders transparently involved in the conversation. That can only be accomplished, though, once more of these stakeholders overcome some of the perceived and real risks to jump into discussions on different healthcare topics.

  2. Anonymous3:48 PM

    Interesting discussion and certainly scope for maore input into public discussion form ore participants. As always though important to have balanced discussion and not let public forum be dominated by dogmatists or 'ax-grinders' because a) it's a deterrent to good discourse and, b) it becomes dull very quickly and moderates can become disenchanted.


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