Healthcare marketers have already begun to embrace the metaverse, but so far a majority of virtual experiences have been centered around training physicians and medical students. 

That’s about to change. SurvivorNet announced today that, starting in the fall, it will offer medical education in the metaverse. The company’s HCP-focused media arm, SN Connect, will lead the offering.

It wasn’t long ago that SurvivorNet CEO Steve Alperin noticed a need for virtual education options that weren’t Zoom-centric.

“I don’t know anybody in the world who’s not Zoomed out or hasn’t gotten Zoom fatigue,” he said. “The problem then becomes, ‘How do people continue to get educated?’ There’s travel, but not everybody can travel.”

To that end, SurvivorNet is planning to lead metaverse-based education sessions in conjunction with large oncology meetings, including the European Society for Medical Oncology, the American Society of Hematology and the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Alperin believes the metaverse not only offers a more engaging atmosphere for education, but also a potential forum for better marketer/HCP communication. He stressed the need, however, for scientific rigor.

“There’s some novelty to the metaverse and to VR, but ultimately there has to be excellent information from extremely respected people talking about data that is peer-reviewed and real,” he said.

Alperin also noted a “profound gap” in education among patients, particularly in the cancer space.

“In ovarian cancer, our physician partners estimate that 60% to 80% of women are still not given a genetic test upfront in their treatment planning. This is crucial to knowing whether they might benefit from targeted therapies and represents, in part, one of the education gaps in that field,” he explained. “There’s an urgency to do this better.”

In preparation for its fall launch, the SurvivorNet metaverse program is lining up leaders in myeloma, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. The company is also lining up partners skilled in non-personal promotion — particularly in oncology, where Alperin senses a need for education around genetic mutations, sequencing of treatment and diagnostic testing.

“My goal is to do education better, so that it’s not just doctors getting 1,000 emails a day from wonderful companies,” Alperin said. “I want to make a difference in education because the need is great. And if you start with that and walk back, then the commerce will come.”