December 17, 2018

As communication methods evolve, the tactics Life Sciences companies use to deliver HCP messaging must reflect the different ways professionals elect to connect with others. As discussed previously in this blog, an omnichannel strategy...

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As communication methods evolve, the tactics Life Sciences companies use to deliver HCP messaging must reflect the different ways professionals elect to connect with others.

As discussed previously in this blog, an omnichannel strategy incorporating not only email but SMS messaging and personalized outreach is the foundation. Building on this, there are three elements to successful engagement that must be considered: content, channel, and frequency of messages.

Content: Predictive analytics provides a remarkable depth of visibility into to what kind of content individual HCPs will be most receptive.

To cultivate ongoing engagement, a company needs to determine if a particular professional prefers to obtain knowledge via peer-to-peer engagement or a digital library of “self-serve” material that can be accessed at their convenience. In addition, some may need tools to foster better patient communication and assistance.

In all of these cases, machine learning and modeling can pinpoint the best type of content or combination of resources that will appeal to a manufacturer’s target audience.

Channel: HCPs today are subject to a near-constant stream of educational and promotional messaging, and they are using an increasing number of resources to seek out the information they need to inform patient care.

Life Sciences companies today need to bear in mind that in order to stand out and make an impact, messaging must be delivered via communication methods HCPs both use and like. Points of contact still can include live conversations with reps, but there also is a bevy of digital outreach taking place today. Face-to-face might have been the gold standard a generation ago, and research studies show that it still is impactful for delivering high-quality promotional educational programming, but this resource-intensive method isn’t the only tool Life Sciences companies have today for reaching busy HCPs.

This is where a veritable buffet of tech tools comes into play: tele- and virtual meetings, email, online knowledge platforms, text messaging, progressive web apps and even mobile apps can all be conduits for disseminating critical information. A.I. combined with predictive analytics can provide guidance for manufacturers who need to know which communication channel to use when.

Frequency: The paradox is that Life Sciences companies have more ways than ever to connect with their audience, but a smaller window of time for forging a bond and initiating engagement. With more targeted communication strategies, Life Sciences companies can target HCPs in a more granular context — without bombarding them.

Communication becomes about quality rather than quantity thanks to analytics and machine learning. For instance: Different channels show different saturation points. Data shows that HCPs are most receptive to initial points of contact via mobile apps and email, but the saturation points vary by channel — and are lower than might be expected in all cases.

Insights like this, facilitated by the visibility gained from implementing robust monitoring and analytics tools, can inform the trajectory of a truly successful communication strategy.

Contributed by:

Matthew Gallo, Director, Global Sales Excellence, IQVIA

With nearly 20 years’ experience in the Life Sciences industry, Matt joined IQVIA with the AHM merger. Matt currently leads the Development and Solution Engineering team with a focus on expanding compliance offerings, tailored to emerging market needs. Prior to his solutions engineering role, Matt led AHM’s Technology Support organization, where he built a product-driven support team, meeting a broad scope of client needs—including mobile app support, Salesforce platform support, aggregate spend reporting, and more. Matt’s expertise in the Life Sciences industry spans analytics to account management, giving him a broad range of insight into solutions and support needs across organizations. Matt previously served as a Technical Sergeant in the United States Air Force for seven years.

December 3, 2018

As with technological and scientific progress, communication is constantly evolving and undergoing changes to which enterprises must adapt. In the pharmaceutical and health care fields, the combination of HCPs who adopt a digital-first communication...

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As with technological and scientific progress, communication is constantly evolving and undergoing changes to which enterprises must adapt.

In the pharmaceutical and health care fields, the combination of HCPs who adopt a digital-first communication preference and decreased access to these professionals makes it imperative for Life Sciences companies to have the flexibility to adapt to changing communications methods.

Currently, an astonishing 64% of workers fall into either the Generation X or Millennial age cohorts; that is, they are in their mid-50s or younger. These professionals have radically different communication preferences than generations before them, and they have options ranging from email, to SMS, to messaging apps, literally at their fingertips.

This dynamic creates a terrific opportunity to maximize touch points with HCPs, but it also presents an engagement challenge that Life Science companies would do well to approach with a strategic plan.

Consider the following: In clinical and academic settings, text messaging workflows, progressive web apps, and mobile health applications, as well as telemedicine, are being increasingly deployed to facilitate and enhance patient engagement in order to improve care coordination and ensure an unbroken continuum of care. In fact, more than 75% of health systems now include some form of virtual care or telemedicine.

And for the many professionals who remember when PCs first came into office, it’s important to keep in mind that email is no longer the cutting edge it once was. Although email usage is still growing on an annualized basis, younger generations are far more likely to use other digital tools to communicate, such as text messaging and social media. Americans in the 25-34 age bracket, send and receive an astonishing 75 texts per day, and the generation behind them is an even more ravenous user of SMS technology.

What’s more, text messages have an immediacy that is virtually unmatched: They have a 99% overall open rate, and 95% are opened within three minutes of receipt — a remarkable feat of engagement, when you stop to consider that many of us probably have emails in our inboxes that have been languishing, unread, for days if not weeks.

This is not to say, of course, that texting is a silver bullet for facilitating the kind of HCP engagement older Life Sciences professionals remember in the “good old days.” But it should serve as a compelling point of reference, especially because HCPs today are most likely working with patients, who also exhibit a preference for these tech-based communication methods.

As such, Life Science companies need to think in terms of communication strategy as a multi-layered effort that continues to connect with HCPs in ways that are relevant to them by incorporating cutting-edge communication tools and consistently staying on the lookout for what’s next.  

Contributed by:

Matthew Gallo, Director, Global Sales Excellence, IQVIA

With nearly 20 years’ experience in the Life Sciences industry, Matt joined IQVIA with the AHM merger. Matt currently leads the Development and Solution Engineering team with a focus on expanding compliance offerings, tailored to emerging market needs. Prior to his solutions engineering role, Matt led AHM’s Technology Support organization, where he built a product-driven support team, meeting a broad scope of client needs—including mobile app support, Salesforce platform support, aggregate spend reporting, and more. Matt’s expertise in the Life Sciences industry spans analytics to account management, giving him a broad range of insight into solutions and support needs across organizations. Matt previously served as a Technical Sergeant in the United States Air Force for seven years.

November 12, 2018

As part of a new law aimed at curbing the opioid epidemic, lawmakers recently have made changes which expand the compliance requirements for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers under the Physician Payment Sunshine Act...

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As part of a new law aimed at curbing the opioid epidemic, lawmakers recently have made changes which expand the compliance requirements for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers under the Physician Payment Sunshine Act (aka. The Sunshine Act).

The Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act was passed with nearly unanimous support by Congress last month. The SUPPORT Act mandates that, beginning January 1, 2022, Life Sciences companies must track and report to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services payments and other transfers of value not only to physicians and teaching hospitals, but also to nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical nurse specialists, registered nurse anesthetists, and certified nurse midwives, since these medical professionals are also prescribers of medication, including opioid medication.

According to lawmakers in support of this legislation, the SUPPORT Act will improve transparency around prescribing practices and promote accountability surrounding the prescribing of controlled substances. In a statement, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, said, “It is absolutely essential that pharmaceutical companies disclose gifts and payments made to additional healthcare providers who prescribe opioids and other drugs — not just doctors.”

The SUPPORT Act was modeled on legislation passed by Massachusetts in 2012. Although the results from that law indicate that only a tiny percentage of the reported payments were to this expanded pool of healthcare providers, the task of tracking and reporting these exchanges is a significant task for Life Sciences companies to undertake.

Manufacturers — not just of opioids, but of all kinds of therapeutic treatments and device — will need to substantially and quickly expand their platforms for tracking and reporting engagement with a much wider array of healthcare professionals. Companies in the industry that do not already have in place a robust, cross-platform system for accomplishing this have a fleeting window in which to meet the regulatory requirements for this much larger scope of engagement. The planning and execution of promotional speaker programs and other kinds of educational engagement will increase in complexity.

As lawmakers seek tools to rein in the opioid crisis, it should be clear that this legislative change is unlikely to be the last enhancement of regulatory authority. Life Sciences companies would do well to keep this in mind when entering into agreements with vendor partners, since a solution that seems comprehensive today might turn out to be woefully inadequate tomorrow.

Manufacturers using tools without the flexibility to include a wider array of healthcare professionals and reporting protocols will be faced with imperfect solutions: They could overlay another system on top of their existing platform, although such redundancy can increase costs and increase the possibility of error. They could build out from the tools they use now, but integration of legacy enterprise software with “bolt-on” upgrades has not, historically, had a great track record in terms of user experience and efficiency.

The best, most logical and — ultimately — most cost-effective and compliance-centric conclusion is to take this three-year window of opportunity to implement a single, end-to-end solution that will track and record in a comprehensive and scalable manner.

Contributed by:

Matthew Gallo, Director, Global Sales Excellence, IQVIA

With nearly 20 years’ experience in the Life Sciences industry, Matt joined IQVIA with the AHM merger. Matt currently leads the Development and Solution Engineering team with a focus on expanding compliance offerings, tailored to emerging market needs. Prior to his solutions engineering role, Matt led AHM’s Technology Support organization, where he built a product-driven support team, meeting a broad scope of client needs—including mobile app support, Salesforce platform support, aggregate spend reporting, and more. Matt’s expertise in the Life Sciences industry spans analytics to account management, giving him a broad range of insight into solutions and support needs across organizations. Matt previously served as a Technical Sergeant in the United States Air Force for seven years.