COVID ’19 has hit almost every industrial sector and has affected businesses massively. The unprecedented pandemic has transformed many normal industrial practices and changed the dynamics of the world within no time. New ways of executing business processes have evolved during this time, making using of digital technology, leaving behind conventional methods of carrying out business operations. Businesses that have failed to adapt to these changing circumstances have suffered a lot, eventually facing closure and insolvency. While considering services sector only restaurants delivering food at doorsteps have sustained to some extent while those providing fine dining services such as exquisite dinners and luxurious ambiance have encountered difficulties too. Similarly tertiary sector industries like tourism; salons, gyms and Spas all have suffered major losses during this pandemic because personalized services could not be offered to customers in their homes. As per International Monetary Fund, 10.4% of the population lost jobs in United States. Millions of people lost their jobs around the globe or have experienced layoffs and cut offs in their salaries. In developed countries many people have been supported through government funds and subsidies, especially those working in tourism or hospitality sector which has come to a standstill during this pandemic. The travel industry has also suffered a major blow since flight operation has been cancelled and customers avoiding travelling too. Many airlines companies went for downsizing options and few sent their employees on leaves without pay.
It is inevitable to note that teaching, Banking industry (except those involving direct interactions with customers), broadband industry, consumer goods and many other industrials sectors have shifted their perspective from work from office to work from home making maximum use of digital channels such as virtual meetings via zoom and emails. Employees have been delivering their work as usual and receiving feedback from their line manager through video calls. However, health care professionals (HCPs) did not adapt to changing circumstances rapidly. Over a long period of time, little effort has been made by life sciences organizations develop new marketing tools and have long used in-person product detailing as their primary sales strategy. However, this model is no longer functional as per new world order governed by corona virus.
Eventually, the traditional HCP customer engagement model in life sciences has the sole reason behind this delay was that patients and doctors were largely dependent on face to face interactions and physical meetings. For instance, it was not possible for the Physician to virtually check the heartbeat, temperature and blood pressure of the patient. Such a meeting required physical interaction for fruitful results. The doctor could not really prescribe exact medicines and treatment without examining the patient physically in detail. Such a gap impacted the provision of medical services to patients immensely. In many parts of the world like America, Europe, India, Pakistan, Iran and Middle East, clinics of the specialist doctors remained closed for more than 3 months. This led to complete closure of few clinics as general and administration expenses like rent, utility bills etc. were not paid on time. The lack of innovation in this field where health care professionals could provide services virtually to patients is the major factor that has left this sector behind. All operating procedures in this regard needed to be updated revamped as per the changing situation. Although doctors looking after patients of corona virus at hospitals have done a commendable job and deserve to receive good monetary rewards because of their endless services during this time. But again we need to re-think about the delivering of services to patients having medical conditions other than corona virus. Not only health care professional failed to design new and innovative ways of treating patients at clinics but Pharma companies also failed to respond on timely basis. Pharma companies and especially their commercial organizations remained confused and unclear during this pandemic about the ways of responding to the new environment. For revamping existing practices or service model used by health care professionals life science organizations should think about training Field sales teams and medical teams to engage effectively while remote along with up skilling their own respective team in other areas through virtual learning.
It is necessary to maintain adequate level of staff to ensure that essential health care facilities are being provided in a safe environment while all precautionary measures are being taken by the health care provider and by the patient. Due to increase in the number of cases of corona virus patients, a large number of medical staff became victims of this pandemic. Life science organizations should actively consider about the contingency and crisis capacity strategies under these circumstances to mitigate any potential staff shortages. Side by side, this covid -19 crisis has given pharma industry a major blow delaying some product launches, diminishing funds for early-stage bio-tech companies and contract research organizations.
Pulling this altogether we can say that covid-19 has accelerated the need of digital transformation in life sciences. Every industry is striving to keep day-to-day business operations going as much as possible. In life sciences, this means keeping life sciences and pharmaceutical companies connected with the healthcare professionals delivering care to patients and for this to happen a new commercial operating model needs to be established for life science organization on urgent basis.
Be sure to check out our upcoming HCP Partnership Summit, taking place on November 18-20, 2020!