The advent of digital communication tools was supposed to simplify the life of a physician. Right? Not exactly. After decades of sorting paper charts and documenting patient encounters by hand, the new reality for physicians is an avalanche of information from multiple stakeholders from multiple channels. A 2016 study from JAMA reported that primary care physicians spend over an hour (66.8 minutes) each day simply processing notifications.1 This time is in addition to the countless emails, never-ending clinical study updates, and EHR interactions.
In the era of Dr. Google, physicians and patients are flooded with information—much of which HCPs consider generic information. While physicians are losing free time to stay abreast of new data, therapeutic advances, and medical updates, patients are becoming more educated and proactive. In fact, in a recent Univadis survey, 52% of doctors admitted that they’ve had patients present them with credible, relevant medical information they were unaware of.2 This dynamic can limit a productive patient-physician consult.
Omni-channel communications hit HCPs where they work, where they live, and where they play. Unfortunately, while this information is accurate, it can be perceived as white noise. This results in perceived physician engagement, but weak physician experience. There is no chance of patient education slowing down—and it shouldn’t. And, data shows that educated patients experience better outcomes.3 The answer is clear: Physicians need information that efficiently and effectively improves their ability to engage with their patients because helping patients navigate their illness for the best possible outcome is the ultimate goal of every HCP.
Reach Beyond High Subscribers with Tailored Messages
If we understand what information each HCP is engaging with, we can progressively tailor targeted information. Progressively tailored messages would go far in improving the physician experience. This strategy can also serve POC marketers by delivering messages beyond the highest decile prescribers.
It was first assumed that digital channels would enable pharma marketers to effectively and efficiently target messages to the masses. Fifteen years later, it seems we are still only hitting high-decile prescribers with redundant messages. This approach can ignore a huge segment of physicians treating fewer patients or patients with rare diseases.
Physicians from smaller markets who care for fewer patients don’t always enjoy the same amount of support as the higher-decile physicians. These middle and lower-decile HCPs lag in the latest information and support that could speed the diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases or newer modalities. The benefits of reaching all HCPs with updated clinical, medical, and disease-related information helps physicians from all markets stay updated. Staying atop the latest health information is especially critical as more patients are seeking information on their own—and the number of people turning to the internet for health-related advice continues to grow. According to a new study, 80% of internet users, or about 93 million Americans, have searched for a health-related topic online.4
A key component of improving the customer experience is to integrate progressively tailored information and imagery designed to drive better patient-physician conversations. Best POC advertising practices deliver this information through best channels depending on HCP and patient needs. This creates an environment more conducive to effective patient-physician dialogue.
Concise Medical Updates
Consensus among HCPs is the need for easy-to-read information provided by credible opinion leaders and associations. In addition to their desire for concise medical updates, HCPs also value any insights regarding patient perspectives. For example, medical updates on vital treatment and diagnosis information, including signs and symptoms to look for, patient communication strategies, the latest medical news, and clinical research findings.
The POC industry invests heavily in improving the HCP experience through research into key areas such as channel differences, segmentation, and targeted reach. This expanded reach has increased cumulative return and yielded greater ROI overall. Any communication that effectively cuts through the HCPs’ clutter and reaches them with the right message not only helps them improve their practice, it can also help improve patient care and outcomes.
Digital channels have enabled the faster delivery of information to support physicians. However, we need to improve our ability to deliver the right information to the right physician at the right time. If we can move beyond data dumps to progression-based information, we can significantly improve customer experience and improve results for pharma marketers.
1. “The Burden of Inbox Notifications in Commercial Electronic Health Records,” Daniel R. Murphy, MD, MBA; Ashley N. D. Meyer, PhD; Elise Russo, MPH; et al; JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(4):559-560; https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2500026.
2. “The Doctor’s Dilemma Too Much Information, Too Little Time: The Impact of Information Overload on the Doctor-Patient Relationship.” The survey was conducted from October 15 – November 13, 2018 by Univadis; http://t.go.univadis.com/webApp/APP167#1.
3. “The Impact of Knowledge: Patient Education Improves Compliance and Outcomes,” The Wellness Network; 10.4.16; https://www.thewellnessnetwork.net/health-news-and-insights/blog/the-impact-of-knowledge-patient-education-improves-compliance-and-outcomes.
4. “More People Search for Health Online, But They Often Can’t Find What They’re Looking For, Study Finds,” Pew Internet & American Life Project; http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3077086/t/more-people-search-health-online/#.XiuOljJKh0w.