Why Quora Is Perfect for Life Sciences and Health Care.
January 18, 2011 4 Comments
- The ability to tie user identity with the act of Q&A hugely increases the credibility of the answers posted on Quora.
- It allows and even encourages multiple revisions of content for one question, meaning that the information can be kept accurate and current as new data becomes available.
- It shows editorial history meaning that through time, you can see how discoveries were made and how ideas developed through multiple contributor interactions
- It supports multiple viewpoints
- Quora enables very broad as well as very deep information. The range of topics is very broad and the contributors are from a diverse set of disciplines. The act of asking very specific questions enables the answers to provide very deep content.
- Collaboration Makes the most of the collaborative nature of science – imagine a scientific theory or answer where details can be added/edited by leading experts from all around the world in a real-time manner like a collaborative paper authored by all the experts in the world who may or may not even know each other!
- Communities Provides an excellent platform to develop online communities interested in a specific topic. On twitter there is a very tight knit group of tweeters on genomics and personalized medicine. Quora could be used a platform to aggregate the incredible content created by that community in one place, as a central resource – think communal blogging.
- Technical Marketing On the commercial side of science – ie biotech companies and tool providers – we have to remember that no one likes being ‘sold to’ especially scientists – Quora can be used as platform to create technical content which can engage scientists interest in your companies products through data and through peer recommendations. In addition it can be used as the channel for collating technical information as part of an integrated social media strategy.
Medical Advice Imagine the implications for learning about disease from a health care perspective – recently, a member of my family was diagnosed with cancer – I obviously wanted to learn about the disease my first thought (having been a Quora user for a while) was to ask the question – ‘What are the latest cutting edge treatments for Hepatocellular carcinoma?’ Within 20 minutes, a knowledgeable person directed me to a site where all the latest clinical trials are happening. Quora is currently limited by the fact that there aren’t that many doctors or clinicians on Quora yet – but imagine the implications for health care if multiple doctors were answering that question and others like it in real-time or at least within a few hours? The next generation of medicine will spawn the e-patient – the Empowered patient where we can quickly access all sorts of experts who can give us the latest medical advice.
- Education It’s the everyday person that will find Quora interesting as its easy to understand and everyone has questions they have always wanted to know the answers too. Think what this means from an education perspective. Science is all about dissemination of information and when it comes to health care – education of the masses is key. One area where this particularly important is in direct to consumer genomics. Educating the public on the value of genetic information and what the results mean for them. 23&me is in fact one of the very few biotech companies in the space who have actively started participating on Quora – there are a lot of questions asked and many people answering them too.
- Recruitment Resumes are out and personal branding is in! When I am recruiting, (for scientific marketing positions) I like to see a candidates ‘digital footprint’ so first i look at them on linked in. I look at their experience and their recommendations. I then look at their twitter presence to see what they are tweeting about and how others interact with them. I love the idea of being able to see how deep a person’s knowledge is, or how good their communication skills by seeing their activity on Quora. Science and health care consist of some very complex ideas – in marketing these products I would like to see how succinctly a candidate can explain these concepts to the non technical individual
- To learn from thought leaders
- To teach by contributing your knowledge in your area of expertise
- To discuss with other industry leaders
- To network through showcasing knowledge rather than by introduction
In health care and the life sciences today the utility of Quora is limited today by lack of adoption – so go and spread the word and let’s make this a ‘go to’ knowledge networking site for all of us in these industries.