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July 28, 2021

Reach healthcare professionals and build their loyalty with modern technologies

Today, the pharmaceutical industry is going through a massive shift. Pharma companies are becoming more and more advanced and put their focus on healthcare professionals (HCPs). Frequently, these organisations use the latest smart and AI-based technologies to achieve their goals, which consist primarily in reaching HCPs effectively and building their loyalty. In this article, we are going to show you some of these cutting-edge solutions (e-learning, augmented reality, virtual reality, gamification), tell you how they can be implemented in your company and what results you can expect in return. It’s time to up your marketing game!

chatbot

There is no doubt that the pharma industry is evolving before our eyes. Although many people perceive this sector as fossilised and limited by hundreds of regulations and laws (we have to admit, there is some truth to that), pharma companies are managing to push through them and are introducing new solutions and products. In general, there is one ultimate goal – to build long-lasting relations with healthcare professionals. After all, they are the major target group for every pharma company.

Our role is to help these companies achieve this goal effectively and easily. We use multiple technologies to make this happen. For starters, on a daily basis, we use complex DXP platforms to streamline all the communication and sales-related processes. However, there’s more.

What technologies are becoming popular in pharma?

Earlier this year, we conducted a survey on digital innovation in the pharmaceutical industry. It provided us with tons of valuable data concerning the current shape of the pharma industry. One of the questions we asked was this:

the Digital Innovation in the Pharmaceutical Industry 2021 report

As you can see, there are three clear leaders:

  • AI (almost 90% of answers)
  • Digital training (80%)
  • Big data (slightly over 70%)

Let’s take a closer look at them!

AI and big data in the pharmaceutical world

Pharma companies have been using artificial intelligence extensively for some time now. For instance, they use AI-based algorithms to facilitate the drug development process. Here, technologies such as machine and deep learning are critical. They help with the entire process, from research and looking for an adequate chemical compound to clinical tests. But that’s just the beginning. AI and big data can easily be used to reach doctors and build their loyalty. How?

AI HELPS IN REACHING DOCTORS

Shortly put, AI offers tools that allow you to reach HCPs exactly when they need assistance. Solutions like chatbots and voice assistants are available 24/7 and are convenient to use, which encourages physicians to use them.

For example, recently, Bayer launched their first AMI (assistant for medical information) voicebot for physicians. Their solution is based on Google Assistant and can be used by HCPs to get information on the specific drug instantly. Currently, AMI provides information on five medicines, but this project will be further developed[1].

ACCESS AMI

And here’s another example. In June 2021, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services launched a new chatbot for their website HIV.gov[2]. Thanks to this service, users can easily get all the HIV-related information they need. All they have to do is ask specific questions and engage in a conversation.

If you are interested in chatbots and voicebots, take a look at our MatPrat case study. It perfectly shows that developing a bot can be cheaper and more straightforward than you’d think! We believe that a properly designed virtual assistant can be a huge milestone in your marketing and communication efforts. They are quick, convenient to use, accessible and more and more advanced. Today, virtual assistants are capable of answering even complex questions, making them versatile tools for HCPs.

These two examples, although fascinating, barely scratch the surface of AI and big data in healthcare. Healthcare and pharma companies use artificial intelligence and big data to:

  • Improve diagnostics (especially concerning cancer)
  • Introduce robot-assisted surgery (a camera arm with several mechanical arms with surgical instruments can work miracles!)
  • Introduce personalised treatment and medicines (adjusted to the given patient’s condition)
  • Manage patient databases more effectively (manual methods don’t work anymore!)
  • Predict outbreaks of diseases and pandemics (did you know that a small Canadian company called BlueDot managed to spot the risk of an epidemic nine days before the World Health Organisation released its statement alerting people about the coronavirus?[3])

Digital training in pharma

The next point on our list is related to digital training. This element is critical, especially in the times of covid-19, when offline meetings are limited to a minimum, and the vast majority of conferences, seminars and workshops happen online.

In our research, over 70% of respondents said they are currently working on a digital training project. Thanks to remote education, you can:

  • Save a lot of time and money
  • Educate physicians in a convenient and accessible way
  • Freely share training materials, including videos, documents, pictures and presentations
  • Track your participants’ performance and learning progress

Moreover, AI-fuelled digital training offers a tremendous possibility to individualise the learning process. Advanced digital training platforms can give users (in our case, HCPs) challenges they are ready for, identify their gaps in knowledge, and show them new topics when appropriate. As a result, you can guide the physicians you’re working with through the knowledge you want them to obtain.

Now, combine the e-learning solution with other modern technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality and gamification, and you can easily make digital training in pharma engaging and interesting. Let’s talk a bit more about that.

GAMIFICATION IN PHARMA DIGITAL TRAINING

More and more pharmaceutical companies use gamification to improve their sales and marketing efforts. Consider The Detective, a new game made by The Training Arcade company. Pharma companies can use it to enhance their sales reps' judgment, problem-solving, and cognitive processing skills. In this game, sales reps learn how to approach physicians more effectively, primarily by determining the best sales approach:

https://vimeo.com/454599788

Games and apps can help your pharma company:

  • Train sales reps and enhance their skills
  • Educate and communicate with HCPs
  • Onboard new employees

Simple additions like scoreboards, badges and leagues can make your project successful.

AR/VR IN PHARMA

You can use augmented reality and virtual reality to help physicians improve their skills. Imagine an app that uses augmented or virtual reality to help HCPs train on virtual patients who need a specific procedure or treatment. Such simulation-based training can be highly effective!

According to Veeva (it’s a cloud-based platform i.a. for content management in the healthcare sector) experts, “HCPs expectations increase for digital engagement. Finding new ways to interact with them can serve as a true differentiator and help foster more personal relationships”.[4]

In their issue from June 2019, Pharma Voice[5] published an article that tackled AR and VR in the healthcare world. Here are some of the crucial findings from this article:

  • AR enhances UX by creating highly engaging experiences for HCPs.
  • Pharma companies can deliver their product’s value in a more innovative and convincing way, for example, by presenting the outcomes.
  • With AR, you can easily visualise complex medical concepts; especially spatial and temporal ones (because of the need to engage more than one sense).

If you want to read more about AR, take a look at another post on our blog.

Touch Surgery is a company developing AR pharma apps that help physicians improve their skills. They boast of developing the very first academically validated mobile surgical training system in the world. Check out their latest creation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJe8B8Oa06A&t=10s&ab_channel=TouchSurgery

CONTENT MANAGEMENT IN PHARMA

Lastly, we want to talk about content management for a moment. This area of running a pharma company is challenging, to say the least. Everything you write and publish has to be verified and accepted by several departments within your company and frequently by a specific regulatory body, too. That’s why pharma companies use advanced CMS platforms, frequently referred to as DXPs, in order to streamline content production and management.

Circassia, one of our healthcare clients, works with us on their content. The results are more than satisfactory. Circassia reports a 15% increase in new lead generation and a 30% increase in web traffic, and all of that is thanks to a well-thought-out content strategy. If you want to find out more, read our Circassia case study.

Modern technologies in service of building long-lasting relations

In this article, we showed you several technologies and applications that currently transform the pharmaceutical industry. However, without a doubt, they are not just all about looking good and innovative. Our study and many other reports show that pharmaceutical companies simply have to adopt these technologies to reach HCPs because they expect that.

With these new communication channels, doctors have access to all the information they need precisely when they need it. Additionally, smart technologies make the whole process more flexible and accurate. There’s no art for art’s sake here. Everything serves a specific purpose. And speaking of flexibility: For many people, even those acquainted with modern technologies, AI is instantly associated with high costs and complexity. It doesn’t have to look that way! Of course, developing an entirely new digital training platform can be pricey and time-consuming. But there are many ways to achieve similar goals without investing hundreds of thousands of dollars or euros.

If you’re thinking about adopting smart solutions in your healthcare company, just drop us a line and tell us something more about your ideas. We will gladly help you find the best way to achieve your goals without emptying your budget!

Author

Paul Mydlo

Paul is a digital problem solver who supports international customers with design and technology. For the past 8 years, he has helped many companies and organisations with their digital transformation and business growth by leveraging digital channels.

Contact Paul: paul.mydlo@noaignite.com