July 16, 2021

Digital-first: Rethinking Pharma and HCP interactions

Dr. Deepika Salwankar
*Decision Resources Group 2019 ePharma Physician® Report Finds U.S. Physicians Increasingly Too Busy to See Pharma Sales Reps.

Over the past decade, the commercial models in pharma and life sciences have undergone a significant transformation. Covid-19 has further accelerated the process of digitization and omnichannel engagement due to the increased digital access to healthcare providers (HCP). As HCPs adapt to newer technologies albeit reluctantly, it is essential that pharma commercial teams also scale up their engagement initiatives to match the current usage patterns.

In an Amwell survey, it was found that the willingness of physicians to use telehealth tools rose to 96 percent in 2020 from 69 percent in 2019. It was a significant increase within the confinements of the pandemic, however in the same survey over 92 percent HCPs also said that they expected to keep using video visits post-pandemic.  

As HCPs start favoring digital interactions on all fronts, face-to-face meetings with pharma reps are also likely to decline in favor of virtual and hybrid models, a trend we have seen persisting throughout the pandemic.  

Understandably, at the core of it, the struggle with any virtual interaction is the same. Be it tech or connectivity issues or lack of body language cues, the result is always a loss of quality of interaction. In pharma, relationship building, and trust form a major part of a “sale,” so having lower quality interactions is not an option for pharma reps.  

Moving forward all pharma reps must develop skills to master virtual interactions with HCPs. But a pharma rep alone will not be able to maintain a relationship unless the commercial teams step in with an omnichannel engagement strategy to improve the quality of HCP interactions.

Commercial teams now need to come up with solutions that are catering to the HCP's journey across the digital platforms, channels, mediums, and messages. The only way to increase the quality of interaction with HCPs is to personalize content and messaging to their preferences.

As our HCP engagement guide notes “The industry is shifting from push to pull, from pushing for meetings and pushing out an email to making information available to providers on demand. The representative’s roles need not become passive, but it does become more respectful of the provider’s time and interests.”

As the roles of commercial teams and pharma reps evolve, the main goal becomes gaining a deeper understanding of HCP behavior to improve the quality of engagement. At Tact.ai, we have approached this challenge by redefining the pharma commercial experience by putting each rep at the center of an omnichannel engagement model.  We have created a connected experience for the HCPs using the AI-powered Tact Digital Assistant and Tact Portal, as the one-stop-shop to create pull-based engagement model.

As we move ahead, commercial teams need to build specialized ecosystems to engage the HCPs, stay relevant, and capture their “share of mind.” Failure to do so will surely set them back in these everchanging times!

Learn more about the evolving trends in HCP interactions with “The HCP Engagement Guide for Commercial Teams”

Dr. Deepika Salwankar
Dr. Deepika Salwankar
Community & Content Manager at Tact.ai

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