HCPs use of digital


  • 62% of HCPs spend 3 hours per day accessing digtal resources.
  • More HCPs chose to use smartphones to access digital resources as well and usage has increased when accessing a wide variety of professional content.
  • HCPs increasingly turn to trusted colleagues on digital networks for reliable information.
  • Source: Build Relationships and Personalize Your Interactions With HCPs (Wolters Kluwer)

It’s no secret that HCPs are using digital more and more. When visiting a doctor, it’s pretty common to see a doctor going from room to room with laptops. Usually, when an HCP starts their day, they triage emails, look at their schedule, and then sign onto Medscape to get updates. But where is pharma in this digital transaction?

I stay in touch with a lot of thought leaders across a lot of health conditions. More and more, I am hearing that pharma is NOT part of the digital conversation while talking to other doctors and going to independent health resource sites. Why has pharma become less important? Value.

The value proposition to HCP marketers is different from the value proposition that physicians want. Pharma needs to learn more from sites like Medscape, Sermo, and ePocrates. They need to use the power of online to connect physicians and share information. Don’t tell me it can’t be done either.

When I worked on an Oncology drug, we included a forum where physicians could post questions to thought leaders on the drug. It worked better than we had hoped, and at first, we were overwhelmed, but, more importantly, the HCP team learned a lot about what they were communicating to physicians.

HCP teams spend a lot of time and money on “the message” to HCPs, but that isn’t always right. As new drugs are seeded in the market, the information needs of physicians change. Pharma should be listening and evolving the product message to meet the needs of a skeptical audience.

Trying to “sell” physicians is not the answer anymore. Today it’s about helping them navigate the complex world of medications, side effects, outcomes, cost, and off-label use. More and more, I’m finding physicians turning to each other online rather than relying on sales reps. I’ve also seen a double-digit increase in the use of pharma MSLs in Oncology and Epidemiology.

The other thing I stress to clients is “there is no one right solution across all fields”. It depends on the drugs and physician behaviors within that specialty. This means that HCPO digital marketing efforts need extensive research to get right and a willingness to adapt to what “the market wants”.

Digital is always changing and adapting. HCPs are learning to interact online but only as THEY need and want to. To them, digital is a tool and medical library available on command. Listen, answer and learn.