The following article is written by ForeSee’s Chris Magnani and Rodion Stolyar.
Traditional business models are being disrupted left and right, and pharmaceutical sales is certainly no exception. To help navigate this sea of disruption, big pharma would do well to focus on gaining a broader view of the digital experience from the perspective of prescribing doctors. But first, we should understand how and why the industry is changing.
Doctors’ shifting behaviors and expectations
To illustrate the changing landscape, you need only look to last December when some of the biggest pharma companies in the world (Mylan, Endo, AstraZeneca, and Sanofi) announced major restructurings and layoffs specifically to their pharma sales teams. These companies cite several factors for the cuts: clinical trial failures, increasing competition, and diminishing product revenues. To further compound these challenges, ZS Associates AccessMonitor reports that only 44% of physicians were considered “accessible” to sales reps in 2016, down from 65% in 2012. As a result, pharma companies are finding it harder and harder to get relevant information in front of prescribing doctors.
Additionally, the rapid penetration of technology in patient rooms also needs to be addressed. According to Wolters Kluwer, 72% of physicians use smartphones to access drug information. Continuing the trend, 84% of physicians cite professional journals as their top source for information, followed by general web browsers and colleagues (80% respectively). Mobile devices are becoming the workhorses of the modern medical landscape — with physicians using their mobile phones to access patient information, communicate with colleagues, and even write digital prescriptions.
CX Intelligence as a compass: Where pharma goes from here
The reduced ability of field sales teams to speak directly with doctors and the permeation of technology in medical facilities create new opportunities for pharma companies. By augmenting the field sales teams with a robust and optimized digital experience, pharma companies can succeed in getting their products into the hands of the patients that need them most. Why? Because understanding how doctors access product information can provide marketers with unique insight into the minds of those who determine whether a treatment is even prescribed. And, creating a seamless digital experience goes a long way towards making sure a doctor is aware of and comfortable with prescribing a particular treatment.
Consider the following: if a patient is asking their physician about a specific treatment they saw on television, will that physician likely remember the brief elevator pitch they heard three weeks ago during their lunch hour? Perhaps they will, but most likely, the doctor will pull out either their phone or tablet and hunt for the information they need right then and there.
Thus, it’s time to focus on a reliable way to measure the customer journey (aka prescriber journey) to ensure that it’s optimized in a way that increases satisfaction – which in turn, can help the field sales associates hit their goals.
Getting the right information, at the right time, in the right place
Every single minute is valuable to a physician, full stop. According to the study conducted by the American Medical Association, physicians spend 49.2% of their time doing paperwork and 27% of their time seeing patients. Doctors simply do not have the time to navigate around clunky websites and cumbersome apps in search of product information. Likewise, a patient does not want to sit in an exam room for several minutes waiting while a doctor searches for side effects and safety warnings. One way to address this would be to optimize pharma product landing pages with both prescribers and the general public in mind.
For instance, if upon arriving at a mobile site, a physician can immediately click on a prescriber information link that takes them to a part of the site that’s optimized for medical professionals, they could effectively cut down on the amount of time spent searching for the information they need. Also, augmenting the capabilities of the physical sales teams with the quick access of mobile site information that could be accessed instantly from any device: tablet, mobile, desktop, and wearable will ease information retrieval and enable doctors to be more confident when writing prescriptions. Since these informational sites do not have to be HIPAA compliant due to their purely informational nature, the design of these apps and mobile sites can be streamlined and do not have to be built with compliance in mind.
Optimizing the mobile experience: proven ROI for pharma
In conclusion, because of the ubiquity of smartphones and other internet enabled mobile devices, there is a very strong incentive for pharma companies to optimize their product websites with the goal of getting the most pertinent information as quickly and easily as possible to prescribers. Thus, measuring and understanding this critical touch point along the “doctor (prescriber) journey” will result in an increase in prescriptions to the patients that need those lifesaving medicines, and ultimately, improved patient outcomes.
To learn more about how CX Intelligence and VOC technology can help the pharmaceutical industry improve satisfaction among doctors, check out the Healthcare category of the blog and contact ForeSee for a briefing.