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Pharma and Healthcare

Medical Information in the Digital Age

By OSG Team on December 29, 2018

We live in a digital age where the health information landscape is changing in a unique way. Medical information currently plays an important role in understanding a drug/product for Healthcare Practitioners (HCPs). It is estimated that more than 70% of HCPs look to the web when they need to know about a new drug or research. There is a lot of information that is available on the internet these days including scientific journals, blogs, company and academic websites, which can be overwhelming.

So, in this scenario, the question is “What should pharma companies do differently to engage HCPs? How do they provide educational information to HCPs at their convenience, whenever and wherever?”

Parallel surveys conducted in 2015 revealed significant gaps between HCPs’ demand and pharma companies’ provision of medical information, which stated:

  • HCPs prefer independent online sources for information. However, pharma companies are focusing more on their traditional means of marketing and promotion (mostly through medical representative visits)
  • More than 50% of HCPs reported medical representative visits to be of “limited to no” value, as a source of medical information

A McKinsey study even estimated that 23% of US HCPs interact with pharmaceutical representatives digitally at least once a month, and 33% say they would like to.

The key to this challenge is to accompany traditional ways of promotion with digital platforms, to deliver relevant and meaningful information to HCPs and create a long-lasting impact. Along with the need for digital promotion, the creation of online HCP communities has its own benefits.

HCPs are becoming more tech-savvy day-by-day, preferring web conferences and joining virtual communities to connect with peers and discuss real-life medical cases with them. HCPs’ preferences to stay on top of the latest clinical trials and treatments is leading them to join these online communities and discussion forums. By leveraging these communities, HCPs can also influence other HCPs powerfully.

We know that the benefit of these virtual communities cannot be understated. However, HCPs are some of the busiest people around,and the probability of winning their interest in these communities will depend on various factors:

  • These communities should aim to help HCPs to share their best practices, treatment procedures, case studies, articles, and announcements about webinars, seminars and any other form of digital content that help HCPs to deliver the best care
  • The content that is posted in the online community should be of the highest quality, making it a valuable platform for HCPs
  • The online medical communities should rely on self-detailing data
  • The content should be user-friendly and must be available through mobile applications, instant messaging apps, and social media

The acceptance of some of the existing online communities for HCPs and their user count, tells us how popular and in-demand they are:

  • SERMO, with more than 8,00,000 users
  • Doximity, with 5,00,000 users
  • Daily rounds, with 2,50,000 users
  • QuantiaMD, with 2,00,000 users

Since the arrival of digitalization in the medical information world, the rules of engagement have changed drastically. HCPs are playing an active and demanding role – thus opening new avenues and opportunities for pharma companies and others to engage HCP communities.