Today, there is a notable number of physicians in both the US and in Europe who use e-health technologies.
While the adoption of electronic medical records is higher among European physicians, over 80% of HCPs in the US now use a smartphone for work, and 50% report using a tablet, according to an Epocrates study. This signals a great need for pharma companies to take advantage of digital technology trends in their marketing strategies. With the adoption of mobile devices and the ability to access the internet anywhere, anytime, the rules of engagement have changed, along with traditional interactions between HCPs and pharma companies. This post will discuss why online engagement is appropriate and the ways pharma can better digitize interactions with HCPs.
How do HCPs use digital channels in their practice?
More HCPs turn to digital channels today in order to access professional information and educate themselves on new medical approaches, not to mention keep up with tech-savvy patients. Additionally, good communications strategies have taught us the importance of providing HCPs with the content they want via the channels they use in order to strengthen engagement practices. Knowing that HCPs already go online to find information and education on specific healthcare topics, it will be to the pharma industry’s benefit to provide access to high-quality content while facilitating valuable digital interactions.
That said, for pharma companies to more effectively interact with HCPs on a digital level, they need to further understand HCPs’ so-called digital modes of interaction. Of course, individual HCPs use different digital channels, whether it be Web sites, email, closed-network messaging, social media, or Web-based forums. Because of this, many pharma companies are interested in the digital preferences of HCPs as a way to understand how to better engage them.
How can pharma improve HCP engagement using digital channels?
One fact to consider is that the role of the sales rep is no longer the center of the pharmaceutical space. It has been found that HCPs generally want to explore information on their own, which creates a shift away from traditional engagement strategies. Rather than focusing on in-person events for disseminating knowledge, pharma companies now need to consider how to provide HCPs digital constructs to interact with the information. Digitizing a platform for HCP engagement creates a personalized digital connection with your HCPs and offers them a convenient, sustainable, and flexible mode of interaction.
With a growing preference for digital modes of interaction, pharma companies need to re-examine and refine the way in which they digitize interactions with HCPs. Digital engagement activities should focus on the HCP experience. This means pharma companies should empower HCPs to determine how they interact within a digital framework, track their digital footprint, and, on the basis of HCP preferences, digitize channels for maximizing HCP interactions.
A pharma company should consider a platform that is versatile in its capabilities: it should support live audio/video conferencing, digital content management, intuitive interaction, and be optimized across multiple channels, including mobile, Web, and social. To effectively digitize interactions with HCPs, the platform should ideally be fit with compelling, relevant, and highly targeted content in order to invite lasting HCP engagement.
How can pharma use mobile applications to invite HCP interaction?
Mobile apps are being created to target not only patients but HCPs as well, providing a new course for the pharma industry to strategically approach HCPs. Understanding HCPs’ preference for apps, one bold suggestion to pharma companies is to develop their own mobile app targeting HCPs and simplifying access to tailored content and services. A great approach is to partner with a specialized medical communications agency to help develop an app that allows HCPs to interact with valuable clinical data or access education modules on new medical advances and treatments. It should integrate other modes of digital engagement as well, like virtual Web conferences, closed-network discussion forums and messaging, content sharing, and more.
How can pharma benefit from digitizing interactions with HCPs?
Using a digital platform to connect with HCPs, pharma marketers can track and analyze interactions. For example, an HCP’s response to a new scientific advancement or notes from a virtual discussion introducing a new drug can be recorded and studied. By developing digital profiles and studying the history of an HCP’s digital interactions, pharma marketers and sales reps in the future will be much more proactive in understanding their HCPs’ needs. When you digitize interactions with HCPs, you will ultimately be provided with valuable analytic insight that can help steer the course of a new marketing campaign, aid in the development of a new treatment, or even contribute to course material for HCPs interested in continued education content.