Physicians expect more from pharma‬

how-to-fulfill-the-true-promise-of_2According to Manhattan Research three years into the iPad age, most manufacturers have tablet-equipped reps in place, and ePharma Physician feedback suggests the devices provide a substantial boost to details. Nevertheless, there’s plenty of room for refinement in reps’ use of tablets, and risk-averse firms may be limiting their opportunities to engage with healthcare professionals by concentrating digital investment in product sites and other properties they own. Moreover, physicians are being buffeted by epochal changes to their practices—changes that successful marketers must understand to get closer to their customers.

Tablets clearly enhance details, lengthening rep visits and piquing physician interest in follow-ups, and 54% of ePharma Physicians agree that they make meetings more valuable. But getting the most out of tablets requires understanding where they’re most valuable.

It’s animations and videos where tablets shine – particularly when they’re being used to facilitate “Ah-hah!” moments by, say, illustrating a novel MOA or treatment pathway. Physi- cians expect to be wowed, and where tablets are merely replacing printed materials, content must be crisp, with intuitive navigation, responsive design, and atten- tion to basics like appropriate fonts and the distance from eye to screen. And it’s not all about tablets. Printed visual aids may be more appropriate for some brands, such as those with a well-understood MOA. Many physicians find print leave-behinds useful, saying they share them with patients and peers and that they help them pay attention to the topic.

Key Take Away

Physician handling of tablets in meetings makes them more likely to spend more time with the rep, to research further information online, to request samples, and to pre- scribe the drug discussed. 

Drug companies must look beyond the Brand.com for physician engagement.

Many manufacturers have shifted back to pooling their digital media investment in product sites and other properties they own and away from a distributed model in which spend is parceled out among third-party physician sites like Medscape and other external digital investments. This retrenchment is being driven by renewed regulatory fears, as well as reorganizations and efforts toward multichannel integration.

The shift is significant because physicians rely far more on third- party sites, journals, and apps than they do on company sources when formulating treatment plans, doing in-depth research.

Indeed, they turn chiefly to Brand.coms for answers to quick questions. ePharma Physicians say they don’t use pharma resources more often because of concerns about bias and because they aren’t sure they’ll find the information they need. However, they could be wooed with improvements to site navigability and searchability, as well as fresher content. Furthermore, physicians accessing manufacturer Web sites and online promotion programs often aren’t seeking them out; rather, they’re coming across links while doing research (49% of the time, in the case of company Web sites), suggesting the im- portance of search and content adjacency advertising.

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So what are the opportunities:

(1) Don’t just animate, animate with a story – Don’t take the standard detail piece and animate some charts, rather tell a story to engage your audience.  Why not, for example, have different iPad details for the type of physician you are calling on ?  Why not embed video or links from other sources ?  Finally the detail via the iPad should be available to the physician online if the rep doesn’t have time to complete the detail.

(2) Ensure your HCP site is optimized for information physicians want and need - One of the greatest successes I had was to develop a card that was handed out to physicians by reps with a map of a HCP site for oncology products.  It communicated where essential information was including dosing recommendations.

(3) The Internet is about users so test your HCP site with your audience and continually optimize the site – Why are they coming to brand.com and what information are they looking for?  Analyze web analytics to move most viewed paged to top level nav.

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