Yesterday I joined 600 digital health innovators and experts at the first day of the Frontiers Health conference in Berlin’s historic Funkhaus radio station complex.

As part of the Frontiers agenda I was invited to run a live (and now on-demand) video roundtable with Oliver Stohlmann from Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer’s John Gordon, Sammeli Liikkanen from Orion Corporation and AstraZeneca’s Roeland van der Heiden.

These heads of innovation, communication and digital strategy formed an expert panel to explore how digital is impacting pharma, covering both the digital customer/consumer and the digitalisation of the product.

‘Digital’ is, of course, very broad in healthcare and can be applied in communications, new ways of diagnosing, patient engagement, technological interventions and many more areas. We started out looking at the way that pharma uses digital to communicate.

Oliver Stohlmann, global head of external innovation communication at Johnson & Johnson, began the session by noting the transition he’s seen in the industry’s use of digital:

Very early on in my career, working as an agency consultant, I remember making the case to big pharma clients for investing in the web when it first emerged, only to hear that a wait-and-see approach was being preferred, since many weren’t sure about this novel phenomenon called a web site!

“Fast-forward to today and communications are much more integrated and digitally-enabled. We have realised in many industries that the way to keep people engaged is to create experiences, dialogue and tell stories”.

It’s an area where some feel our industry still needs to catch up.

Roeland van der Heiden, digital director of corporate affairs at AstraZeneca, said:

The development of new communications platforms is as important for pharma as for society in general, but the industry has lagged behind in its use of them to date.

Read the full post on Paul Tunnah’s LinkedIn Pulse