formation in the health space, we
can’t forget about our unbranded
condition awareness and education
efforts. This type of content plays
a larger role than just generating
awareness for our products. It also
provides a safe, trusted space for
prospective patients to learn and
engage with us and each other.
BERNARD FALKOFF: An empowered patient can be the pharma industry’s greatest asset and
advocate. The key is to treat patients with respect. Once they feel
that, they’re more likely to be open
to your messages.
What efforts are being made to
reach out to physicians, educate
them, and improve the doctor/
BERNARD FALKOFF: Unfortunately, not enough. A 2017 survey
of nearly 3000 providers from
more than 25 specialties found
only 27% of providers saw pharma
websites as a credible source for
professional information. In this
regard, doctors are like patients.
They want content and tools they
can use to educate and inform.
KIRSTY WHELAN: There’s a
strong case to be made for partnering more closely with physicians to
educate them about patients’ emotional experiences. By fostering
more empathy in clinical settings,
empowered patients can feel better
understood, which can translate
to better communication and
adherence, particularly in chronic
BRUCE GRANT: The playing
field for HCP marketing and sales
has changed radically in the last
decade. Ever more practices are
restricting rep access. And even
when reps can get in, more phy-
sicians are employees, with less
prescribing autonomy. And they
have more and better sources—like
Up ToDate, Doximity, and Med-
scape—for the kind of information
they used to depend on reps for.
All of which makes the kind of
non-personal promotional tactics
to which we typically turn to take
up the slack—direct mail, email,
banner ads, etc.—unwelcome,
low-value intrusions. Physicians
today spend half their clinical day
engaged with their EHR, and it is
in “workstream integration”—in-
corporating information and re-
sources of actual contextual value
(not banner ads)—in the EHR
environment that the future lies.
RYAN BILLINGS: Just like our
customers, physician behaviors
and expectations are also changing. We are starting to think about
physicians as consumers. “Dr.
Smith” doesn’t go by “Dr. Smith”
when he’s at home, so what chan-
nels are important to him as a
regular person? That’s something
we’re taking to heart as we re-think
our engagement with physicians.
We’re also looking at our tradi-
tional speaker program approach
for our key opinion leaders (KOL).
Many of our KOLs are highly
active on channels like Twitter.
Because of this, we’re asking our-
selves questions like, “How can we
engage them and work with them
to engage their peers on these
channels?” Additionally, we’re re-
thinking the traditional definition
of KOL and starting to identify
and engage a new type of doctor,
the “KOI,” or Key Online Influenc-
er. A physician can be a thought
leader on a certain topic and have
a large digital sphere of influence.
We’ve started to parse out these
two groups and figure out ways to
engage both. •