How pharma can help doctors keep up

According to Medscape, “the amount of medical knowledge is said to double every 73 days, making it much more challenging for physicians to identify innovative findings and newer guidelines for helping patients. Yet not keeping up with the latest information can put doctors at risk.” There is an excellent opportunity for pharma, but they have to shift from “selling” to be a resource.

Physicians spend a great deal of time sifting through ultimately useless studies. In a survey of internists by Univadis, which is part of WebMD/Medscape, 82% said that fewer than half of the studies they read impacted how they practice medicine.

In the past two decades, physicians have gained access to countless summaries of journal articles prepared by armies of clinical experts working for review services such as the New England Journal of Medicine’s “Journal Watch,” Annals of Internal Medicine’s “In the Clinic,” and BMJ’s “State of the Arts.”

In addition to summarizing findings from a wide variety of journals in plain language, reviewers may compare them to similar studies and assess the validity of the finding by assigning a level of evidence.

Physicians like this approach. Many specialists have noted that reading full-length articles was not an efficient use of their time, while even more said that reviews are efficient.

Physicians are increasingly keeping current using the internet, especially social media. Young doctors, in particular, are more likely to keep up digitally. Rather than chatting up colleagues in the hallway, many physicians have come to rely on internet-based discussion boards.

So what to do?

1ne: Take your critical data to where physicians are online. Remember, they don’t have the time to keep up.

2wo: Ensure sales reps have cards with links to critical data online.

3hree: Detail pieces should focus on critical data points rather than contain information they don’t need.

4our: Consider social media only if you have the staff to monitor and join conversations.

5ive: I still recommend Medscape to all my clients. They can match targeted HCP lists and provide hard metrics that matter. Also, sponsored CME may be a great tool and can be measured.

6ix: Medical liaisons are becoming more critical in exchanging information.

7even: Listen on social media for clues to what HCPs want in new drug data.

Despite Medscape’s findings about social media, the research I have reviewed indicates that most don’t have time for social media browsing and use it to ask specific questions.