Your Medical Content Is Great, But Is Anyone Engaging With It?

Each year, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies devote a significant amount of time and resources to the process of pushing their data out for the world to see. Most often, this means developing posters for conferences or submitting manuscripts to peer-reviewed journals. These form the backbone of scientific exchange and have been used successfully for decades. So, why change how you deliver the story your data are telling? Because times have changed.

The Endless Fight for Attention

It’s no secret that the world is moving faster today than ever before. Distractions are all around us—including those we keep with us all the time, such as smartphones and smartwatches. It’s been said that the combined length of posts people scroll through on social media daily equals the height of the Empire State Building—or, annually, Mt. Everest. How much time is spent looking at each piece of this content? On average, only 1.7 seconds. So, the idea that KOLs, physicians, patients or others will devote extended periods of time reviewing and analyzing your data is wishful thinking.


What do you do? How do you stop the scroll? At Medical Leverage, we believe trends suggest you meet your various audiences where they are. And that means understanding how they learn and knowing which mode(s) of delivery they prefer when consuming information.


Publication extenders can help you provide (and repurpose) important scientific information in a variety of different formats simultaneously. Most often, they are digital assets that complement information delivered through printed media. And they’re growing in popularity among authors who want to extend the reach and the shelf life of their data.


One of the main points driving interest in publication extenders was uncovered in a 2017 study conducted by ResearchSquare and Springer Nature. The study looked at the metrics of 70 articles that had digital features and compared those against a “case-matched cohort” of those that didn’t. What they found is that the articles with publication extenders outpaced the downloads of those without by 88%. Additionally, those with video abstracts had Altmetric scores that were 106% higher than articles without videos.


But what does this mean for impact?


In an interview with The Publication Plan, Caroline Halford, digital publishing manager at Springer Healthcare, explained that articles with digital features tend to be shared more often on social media by authors and publishers. Additionally, digital features are often hosted on a different platform—such as Figshare, YouTube and Vimeo—than the article. This multi-platform approach can benefit an article’s reach.

A Growing Menu of Options for Publication Extenders

Some have been somewhat reluctant to embrace publication extenders. The reasons for this vary, including time, money, fear of the unknown, and more. However, as technology has advanced, digital assets are easier and more cost-efficient to produce.


Some might also feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of publication extender options currently available. There can be a tendency to think that all options must be used in order for the extenders to be effective. However, this isn’t the case. Instead, it’s crucial to determine how your audience learns and then focus on the specific types of extenders that are best suited to facilitate that scientific exchange.


“It is important to consider how people consume information today. To keep with the status quo is to assume that all people take in information the same way. While the foundation should remain the core publication types of abstracts, posters, and manuscripts…we must recognize that people learn and engage differently now,” said Jeff Morrison, vice president of strategic solutions at Medical Leverage.


One example is that of video. It is estimated that over 1 billion hours of YouTube content are consumed per day. Medical and pharmacy schools are shifting quickly to include video-based content for the training of future practitioners.


“To not have video options available may mean we are completely eliminating a large part of the audience,” explains Morrison.


In addition to video, other popular publication extenders include the following:

  • Plain language summaries
  • Infographics
  • Video interviews with patients
  • Animated methodologies
  • Animated abstracts
  • Talking head videos
  • QR codes
  • Surgical/practical videos
  • Podcasts
  • Slide sets
  • Educational videos
  • Audio slides

Your Audience — Reach More, Engage More

As an agency that works with clients to strategically plan and develop publication extenders for its clients, Medical Leverage has had a front-row seat in watching the growing popularity of these digital assets over the years.


“When it comes to publication extenders, we have a long history of recognizing their benefits for our clients,” said Morrison. “And we also understand that, for clients who have never used them, it can be a new challenge. That’s why we partner with them at every stage—from planning to production to publication. Our goal is to make the process a simple and seamless one for them because we strongly believe in the advantages publication extenders deliver. In fact, GPP4 has recognized their importance and will include guidelines for this type of content.”


Your data tell the story of the work you’re doing to improve healthcare. By using publication extenders, you can expand your ability to reach more people with that story and present it in a way that’s more engaging.


“Don’t wait to include publication extenders in your strategic content plan,” advised Morrison. “Go ahead and start experimenting. The more you do it, the more you’ll learn—and you might just be surprised at the impact.”


If you’re interested in exploring how publication extenders can expand the reach of your data and enhance the impact of your content, contact Carl Roselle.


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