There are few aspects of healthcare and medicine that have remained static in the many decades that I have been a physician except for the content and format of the articles in refereed print journals. Things are beginning to change, however. The New England Journal of Medicine is offering quick-take videos that consist of two minute animated summaries of some of its scientific articles (see: Browse NEJM Quick Take Videos). It's also possible to "mouse over" each of the selections to see a six-line written summary of each article. When the video link is clicked, advertisements are displayed. It's thus possible to use this revenue as a means to cover the cost of the production of the videos.
A related article addressed the issue of whether pharmaceutical companies might want to copy the Quick Take Videos of NEJM as a way of presenting knowledge about drugs to physicians (see: Nuts, Science and YouTube: How Medical Publications Videos Are Adding Value). Here is an excerpt from that article:
The NEJM is only getting its feet wet with its Quick Take campaign, but it is not too soon for pharma to follow suit. Most companies already have YouTube channels they use to communicate customer support, company happenings and drug benefits to consumers, but few have extended these digital marketing techniques into the medical affairs sphere. Perhaps they should. It can be difficult for pharma to communicate scientific studies to healthcare professionals because physicians may not have time to digest a dense journal article or pamphlet. Worse yet, a rushed physician may skim through an article and miss the messages the company hoped to convey. In many cases, the dense text of any scientific article can bog down a reader and detract from the study’s overall value....[C]ompanies can track how many viewers have seen their videos; as a result, they can assess a videos potential impact on the scientific community. Despite these benefits, however, YouTube videos can be a little daunting for many companies because pharma has little control over the related videos and comments section. On occasion, viewers may post comments about adverse events or off-label uses.
Pharma companies have aggressively pursued direct-to-consumer (DTC) ads on television and print publications (see, for example: How Pharmaceutical Companies Fool Consumers with Me-Too Drugs; Pressure Mounting to Ban Pharmaceutical Direct-to-Consumer Ads). The TV ads are designed to coax consumers to request various prescription drugs from their physicians. The AMA has urged that such TV drug ads be banned because they can inappropriately manipulate consumers (see: American Medical Association urges ban on TV drug ads). Obviously, a TV spot consists of one-way communication to lay healthcare consumers. It's fascinating that the excerpt above cites one of the disadvantages of YouTube videos for pharma companies is that viewers can post unfavorable comments about the content of the video. In other words, it's harder to control the message with two-way, web-based communication such as YouTube videos.