by Briana Campbell (@MsMatchGirl)
A meme acts as a unit for carryingcultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond toselective pressures. (source).
Okay. Now that we’re on the same page, let’s talk for a minute about how the internet meme might be helpful in changing patient behaviors in the long term.
As we’ve discussed before, a big problem facing the pharmaceutical industry is compliance. Could an internet meme change this? Quite possibly.
Something that starts off as a joke, as an observation or as a satirical commentary – something that may seem silly to you – can target a specific demographic, having a strong cultural value that, in the end, can make a true impact on the real world. According to the New England Healthcare Institute, in a 2009 study, one third to one half of all patients do not take their medications properly – a big problem that costs the US about 290 billon in healthcare dollars annually. Imagine if we could reach out to those people who are not taking their medication (at all or properly), who are not remembering to or simply not bothering to, and influence their behavior through a medium that they’re already utilizing.
Wouldn’t that be great?
Of course, not everything that goes online becomes a meme (if you have an hour to spare, watch the very amazing video of MemeFactory from April of this year, embedded at the bottom of this post). It’s not possible. Not even probable.
But by thinking about the problems facing the industry from the perspective of the patients, instead of from the perspective of the marketers, perhaps we can find a better way to reach them. And to get them to take their medicine.