Health care professionals are on the front lines in the covid-19 situation and have to deal with a lot of stress while delivering of medical care to patients. Undoubtedly, this is the biggest humanitarian challenge of 20th century which the health professionals have to face arduously. Many health care professionals think that the patients won’t be diagnosed the accurate illness and treatment on time due to lockdown situation, especially those patients who visit clinics and specialists. There is already huge amount of burden on hospitals dealing with corona virus pressure and with quarantine, social distancing safety rules in place it is not advisable for patients showing symptoms and conditions other than corona virus to go for medical care to hospitals.
Health care professionals and pharmaceutical marketers have to adopt digital technology and social media platforms for rendering medical services to patients on priority basis. The growing pandemic has necessitated the use of digital channels for doctors so that they keep themselves abreast with latest treatment options for their patients in any therapeutic area. Within weeks the demand, for virtual HCP engagement through remote video calls, texts and emails increased to deliver uninterrupted high quality care to patients.
Doctors not only need to attend their patients on timely basis but they also need access to pharmaceutical reps and medical professionals for receiving information on the latest research, products, medical devices and medicines. For example oncologists need to have latest information about the researches and advances made in cancer treatment. Many doctors admit this fact that pharmaceutical sales representatives and medical reps play a vital role in helping them learn about new drugs and latest treatments available. For this to happen in the situation of COVID’19, virtual events and online meetings through zoom, skype and other digital channels keep the lines of communication open. Through virtual conference calls and meetings huge amount of traveling and accommodation expense can be saved ultimately driving the huge costs associated with traditional lunch and dinner meetings. For instance, in the current situation, the entire office can gather in a conference room to receive latest information and updates on a new product from a medical rep or pharmaceutical marketer imparting knowledge from another part of the world. Although Life sciences organization could have made use of this technology at a faster speed many years ago since these tools were already in use in many other industrial sectors but the growing pandemic made it a necessity to move from conventional models and protocols. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are extensively being used by HCPs while imparting knowledge to public at large. Similarly other professional networks for Clinicians like doximity, Medscape and Sermo have experienced signification increase in traffic and membership during this pandemic.
This unprecedented pandemic has reshaped the entire dynamic for life science organizations and makes it vital for pharma marketers to find the best solutions for their customers. It’s high time for companies to genuinely put patients first, not their products to connect deeply with HCPs, caregivers and patients and to find advanced ways for fostering a credible and long term relationship with customers. For this to happen a shift in mindset is required along with large investment in digital marketing strategies as the consequences of COVID’19 will have a ripple effect for many months and years to come. So, we can say that social media has provided a unique opportunity to engage HCPs in today’s time. Social media platforms are not only facilitating HCPs engagement in an effective and useful manner but is also providing a chance to gauge the efficiency and efficacy of each platform in delivering services. This analysis will help in formulating best strategies for developing targeted content which is focused, precise, factual and most relevant. Medical professionals can determine, which channel of social media is more user friendly and widely used so that they can customize their content as per the features of that particular forum. Although channel preferences are always going to vary from individual to individual but a complete understanding of your customer’s requirement can help HCP to set the boat for sail in the right direction. Clueless, about customer’s need will never help in producing useful content and hence productive and fruitful results. Therefore, it is vital to fully understand your customer before launching content on social media channels. For instance, HCPs who value peer to peer engagement have preferred using twitter for sharing experiences, new knowledge and learnings. Most medical associations that recently cancelled events in March, April and May are now working very hard to schedule virtual events through webinars and zoom meetings.
Every Pharma marketer has to deal with some major challenges in the year 2020. The fundamental change in the approach from a “promote the product” mindset to one focusing on meeting the needs of customers and stakeholders has disrupted the business plans of Pharma marketers inevitably. It’s a basic principle of marketing now, and with pharma companies already instructing their reps to stop all promotion, the next evolution of customer-centric marketing is now about to start.
COVID pandemic is an unprecedented global event, which will radically transform our lifestyle, behaviors, habits, expectations, attitude, perspective and interactions with the society at large. Conventional methods of engaging health care professionals have become obsolete and are no longer in use due to rapid change in circumstances. In-person interactions have sharply declined, for patient-HCP and also salesforce-HCP interactions, forcing pharma companies and their marketing partners to take another approach to communicating product benefits and facilitating prescriptions.
To maintain (and grow) their share of voice and engagement with HCPs, bio-pharma organizations can no longer afford to follow the “digital-add-on” approach. They have to fundamentally re-design their HCP engagement framework, as a digital-driven strategy, to stay relevant, to stay ahead and keep growing Setting the right priorities today can help companies accelerate innovation while ensuring a steady supply of urgently needed drugs for patients directly and indirectly affected by Covid-19.
Be sure to check out our upcoming HCP Partnership Summit, taking place on November 18-20, 2020!