New technology-enabled communications solutions in the pharmaceutical industry

Approx.
4 min read
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First Published: 
Jun 2022
Updated: 

Major pharmaceutical companies strive to take full advantage of digital transformation, as evidenced by recent mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and equity investments1. The pandemic unrolled many innovative solutions which enable pharma deliver customized yet consistent messages across multiple audiences.

Many physicians and other HCPs responded positively to reduced interaction with medical reps. HCPs prefer to control when and how they access information about diagnosis, therapeutic indications and clinical benefits, potential side effects, and cost of treatment.

An alternative way to reach HCPs in the workplace is to use mobile technologies. Even before COVID-19, 92% of physicians used their personal mobiles for hospital-related work and 77% to discuss patient issues2. Along with the general trend, HCPs are moving from long-form to short-form and interactive formats.

  • E-portals: Universal access, appealing and easily digestible content. May include referral guidelines, medication guides, and white papers.
  • Video abstracts: Animated presentations that introduce research.
  • Interactive training materials for CPD.
  • Virtual and augmented reality tools.
  • Mobile apps where physicians discuss anonymised cases and share best practices with colleagues around the globe.

Medical agencies can leverage multiple channels and create a friendly environment for physicians, pharma’s top brand ambassadors.

COVID-19 brought a paradigm shift in global access to scientific data, which was supported by regulatory bodies. With the amount of data growing exponentially, companies have multiple tools at their disposal to communicate the value of the product and provide data-driven insights to health authorities and payers to achieve market authorisation and reimbursement.

  • Cloud-enabled knowledge repositories.
  • Scientific literature: E-journals and online first publications. White papers to draw attention to emerging treatments.

An experienced medcomms vendor can seamlessly tie up data sharing regulations, confidentiality, and brand positioning.

  • Webinars, virtual advisory boards and conferences: Remote attendance saves time of all participants. The host avoids excessive budgets on travel, venues, and other offline attributes.

Medical writers can provide accurate reporting on the virtual events to ensure success. On a larger scale, an agency would organize the entire event by liaising with KOLs, preparing speaker notes, coordinating with the various audiences to ensure the right message reaches each stakeholder.

Today, patients expect pharma to provide information transparency and focus on customer expectations on the level offered by other industries.

  • Social media: High potential for tailored information on therapeutic care, clinical benefits, potential side effects, access to medicines. Bloggers and influencers help increase awareness and compliance.
  • E-journals with interactive elements and illustrative content.
  • Patient-centric e-portals with videos and interactive educational elements.
  • Wearable devices: Personalised insights into health status and medical care enabled by collection and analysis of Big Data.

Medical writers can craft compliant messages in patient-oriented language for online presence and accurate targeting, keeping in mind that digital and virtual solutions shall complement, not replace, interactions with HCPs3.

With pharma CIOs saying the industry is entering metaverse4, one can picture not-too-distant future in which pharmaceuticals host virtual platforms to connect stakeholders and move the industry forward. Mobile apps and digital devices are already enhancing patient and public involvement. Medical communicators facilitate cooperation with patient advocacy groups and help put patients at the centre of drug design.

And last, but not least. Despite the public’s enthusiasm for evolving digital technologies, there is growing unease about the potential misuse of personal data. A professional medcomms agency will ensure that pharma communicates not only its products, but also security of digital solutions. The agency will suggest the appropriate technical tools and ensure compliance with data protection regulations.

Is your medcomms vendor up to scratch when it comes to digital transformation? Use our check-list:

  • Reaches all stakeholders through the life cycle of your product
  • Creates short-form and interactive content that appeals to patients and HCPs
  • Uses big data to facilitate authorization and reimbursement of your product
  • Partners with KOLs and scientific liaisons that convey scientific data
  • Pays special attention to privacy and protection of personal data

References:

  • Big pharma companies strengthen their position in digital health with recent deals
  • Mobile revolution: a requiem for bleeps?https://pmj.bmj.com/content/92/1091/493.full
  • Trust and Technology Terrorism in Medicine – Psychology’s Influence on the Future of Digital Healthhttps://impact.nuigalway.ie/ai-and-creativity/trust-and-technology-terrorism-in-medicine-psychologys-influence-on-the-future-of-digital-health/
  • Pharma is entering the metaverse: 3 drugmaker CIOs weigh inhttps://www.beckershospitalreview.com/healthcare-information-technology/pharma-is-entering-the-metaverse-3-drugmaker-cios-weigh-in.html

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Ekaterina Chashnikova
Ekaterina Chashnikova is a pharmacist and finds medcomms to be her natural habitat. Ekaterina loves to explore nuances and can get to the bottom of any medical topic. As a medical writer, she sees it as her mission to share knowledge and best practices with healthcare professionals and patients.
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