Brad Davidson, PhD. Medical Anthropologist and Senior Strategy Consultant, Aptus Health
Research proves what most of us already suspected.
While the world, from healthcare providers and patients to Maasai warriors in Africa, has moved to digital as a preferred means of communication, a recent report by McKinsey titled “Closing the digital gap in pharma” finds that pharma sits well behind the curve.
As an industry, pharma is slow to adapt digital across every metric, from the absence of digitally-focused corporate structures that drive execution to persistence of brand planning and performance evaluation processes that make digital an afterthought.
Brad Davidson, Phd., Medical Anthropologist and Senior Strategy Consultant, Aptus Health
You know you’re getting old when what was once science fiction is now coming up in 2017 brand planning discussions.
There’s been a lot of chatter around the concept of “Artificial Intelligence,” or AI, in the news recently—and also among pharma marketers, in terms of the role AI may play in healthcare. Like very few other technical, hard science concepts, AI has captured the imagination of the general public, sparking robust discussions around the ethics, impending virtues, and potential disasters of “machines that can think independently.”
But what is AI, exactly? And how can we, as pharmaceutical marketers, harness it meaningfully and appropriately…today?
The 2016 Digital Pharma East event recently wrapped, and now comes the fun part – putting all those big ideas into practice.
Fittingly, the theme of this year’s event was “Truly Embedding Digital Across Your Enterprise,” drawing hundreds of attendees representing both pharma and product and services providers (including several Aptus Health folks and our customers). Many of the conversations that took place on stage and off underscore the projects we’re working on with our clients.
Here are just a few of the key themes we heard, and our take on addressing them with solutions that exist today:
It’s a well-established fact that healthcare providers (HCPs) often struggle to keep up with the enormous amount of content that emerges every day from the annals of clinical literature. But there’s another category of medical knowledge that is just as important, and perhaps just as challenging to address – the questions that patients bring to their clinical visits.
A recent segment on our web and mobile communities invites HCPs to share some of the tough questions that their patients have been asking– from health concerns triggered by the media to those that are more philosophical in nature.
Hundreds of members of the community posted examples of patient questions that have them stumped, and responded to their peers’ dilemmas with their own advice and real-world examples. We also asked four of our expert faculty to share their wisdom, based on their respective areas of expertise.
It’s another great example of how we keep our HCP community active and engaged, and highlights the opportunity for our clients to leverage this community to engage their target audiences in high value content that supports better clinical decision making.
Here are just a few of the featured questions and excerpted responses.
Steve Smith, PA, MDE
As the biosimilars market heats up—and with the FDA likely to approve more of them for the US in coming months—the market will be challenged to achieve widespread physician adoption. Meanwhile, news of the FDA’s draft guidelines that exclude safety and efficacy information from biosimilars’ labels suggests that doctors may have to do their own research to ensure they’re prescribing the best and most effective choice for their patients.
To better understand how significant these obstacles may be—and the opportunities for effectively addressing them—we reached out to our digital healthcare provider (HCP) community after the FDA approval of the first biosimilar for the U.S. The insights they shared offer pharma companies that are either releasing or bracing against the introduction of a biosimilar to their branded drugs a clear roadmap for targeting, engaging, educating, supporting, and ultimately influencing physician behaviors around these new therapies. For example:
“There often isn’t time during the daily schedule to sit down and read a whole journal or even a whole article. With this format, I can review topics I’m interested in whenever I get a break between patients, over lunch, or any other time I have a moment I don’t want to waste.”
–Member of our web and mobile physician community
Clearly, today’s healthcare professionals are hungry to connect – with their colleagues, with the latest clinical information, and with trustworthy, high-value content on relevant therapies and treatments.
Two new industry whitepapers—MM&M’s Communicating with the Connected Clinician and eyeforpharma’s Customer Experience and Beyond: Why Digital Changes Everything—explore some of the trends and opportunities life sciences companies have to meet healthcare professionals in ways that matter to them, through resources they’re already using—from online communities to Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and mobile devices. Industry experts from organizations including Bayer, Teva, IMS Health, Novartis, Takeda, and others share their perspectives on areas in which pharma marketers might want to double down on their integrated digital tactics.
By Robert MacMillan, VP of EHR and Innovation
“My doctor told me I have [condition] on Thursday and gave me a prescription but I haven’t gotten it yet. If I don’t get the meds what’s the worst that will happen?”
That’s how one member of our online health community, MedHelp, described the trepidation around getting started on a medication. It’s an unfortunate yet not uncommon attitude shared by many people who face long-term therapy.
Providers perceive the barriers of starting patients on a new medication, too – from ensuring fulfillment of that first script to the ongoing support that helps address patient concerns. In fact, a recent survey of nearly 300 members of our digital physician community sheds light on key drivers of providers’ prescribing decisions, as well as some of the perceived barriers that their patients have around their care plans.
By Brad Davidson, PhD
There is a belief among many healthcare communications and brand managers that multi-channel marketing (MCM) is a substitute for human interaction—and a poor substitute at that, one whose relevance was forced upon the industry as a direct reaction to the rise of “no-see” physicians. This may have once been true, especially at the beginning, when the loss of access started accelerating and digital was still in its infancy (or at least, toddling along).
We started, as do all industries undergoing massive technological, administrative, and social changes, by adaptation-by-analogy, or what can be termed the “faster horse” syndrome: for doctors to whom we could no longer provide an in-person detail, we created e-details; for audiences who no longer went to congresses, we created virtual conferences. Taking these one-to-one conversions from face-to-face to digital were, almost always, seen as a step backwards. Digital communications, at the beginning, were something we settled for when the real McCoy wasn’t available to us.
That thinking is obsolete. Digital has changed how we—and that includes physicians—communicate.