After CES, Twitter exec highlights gadgets, gossip and buzz for pharma

The annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas hasn’t been a traditional gathering place for pharma. But Twitter's Lisa Bookwalter thinks that's changing—and should. 

Bookwalter joined Twitter in September as director of client services for health and went to CES for the first time this year. There, she met up with forward-looking pharma marketers scouting new ideas to help them engage patients. And at CES that means technology.

“Social platforms like Twitter are the very intersection of human connectivity powered by technology. All of my discussions with marketers centered around this premise," Bookwalter said via email. "Instead of shying away from social due to industry regulations, many pharma marketers want to explore the idea first and then figure out how to make it compliant, versus the other way around."

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While Bookwalter spent time at the convention in meetings, she also traversed the vast show floor. On her radar of up-and-coming health tech that might work for pharma were a watch that calculates calories by reading body signals, pajamas that monitor vital signs and gaming technology that helps people rehabilitate after a stroke. The theme underlying all those devices is empowering consumers—something pharma needs to embrace.

And while technology has been important to pharma for some time, Bookwalter pointed out that “the level and speed with which it is driving innovation as it relates to care is unprecedented.”

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People across the healthcare value chain, from patients to caregivers to payers to physicians to pharma companies, are adopting technologies that let them access information, foster connections and deliver messaging faster than ever, she noted.

As for Twitter’s role in pharma’s tech evolution? “I think the critical piece here is data—and how can data drive better results for pharma brands," Bookwalter said. "For example, at Twitter we have incredible data/insights from the hundreds of billions of Tweets on our service. Because of this, pharma marketers look to us to identify trends to inform their marketing and look into how they can better move patients through their patient journey.”