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With the rapidly evolving digital landscape, companies are increasingly looking at a holistic 360-degree approach for multichannel engagement, with well-planned, customized content across relevant channels, and measuring impact based on data analytics.
Albert Einstein said, “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.” Clearly, the COVID-19 global pandemic is accelerating digital innovation at an unprecedented pace to improve health outcomes.
As an innovator, the pharmaceutical industry is well poised to support the key needs of the medical community amidst the pandemic outbreak. Integrating expertise from across various functions, the industry addresses the continuous needs for updated scientific information and new data sought after in the medical field. The industry, as a whole, is geared towards spurring meaningful and scientific exchanges with healthcare professionals (HCPs). Before the pandemic, we have had predominantly face-to-face interactions with physicians to share scientific information and ensure a consistent supply of our innovative medicines to patients. This partnership with the healthcare community over the years has been a key driver of medical innovation and plays a vital role in the advancement of medical care, thereby enabling better patient outcomes.
The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed these traditional interactions, with remote, virtual engagements as valuable alternatives, to continue our scientific exchanges with the medical community. According to the EY Life Science report Asia – May’18, 93% of the pharma companies in India were just beginning their journey in digitalization. COVID-19 has acted as a catalyst that has driven every company to actively identify ways to innovate and engage digitally.
With the rapidly evolving digital landscape, companies are increasingly looking at a holistic 360-degree approach for multichannel engagement, with well-planned, customized content across relevant channels, and measuring impact based on data analytics. Digital platforms have been shown to improve the scope of the industry’s collaborations with physicians and in supporting patient care by enabling: 24/7 virtual care, real-time feedback, one-to-many options, simplifying the visualization of data, etc. These platforms are not only convenient and easy to use but also give HCPs the flexibility to make themselves available remotely through webinars, hotlines, or even live video interactions.
Implementation of this approach requires the right People with the right skillsets to execute the new engagement model, the right Process to reach out to HCPs with relevant and timely content and the right Platforms to create impact. As an industry, we have been engaging with HCPs through digital platforms and collaborating with them to support remote patient care. We have also contributed to supporting their ongoing professional education through ways to help them better adopt digital media and technologies in enhancing their daily work in patient management. This is particularly helpful at a time when many countries are in lock down and access to health services is limited.
While the focus lies on supporting physicians, it is equally essential to empower patients with the right kind of information to play an active role in their own healthcare. Social media channels, disease management apps and chatbots are valuable in improving patient engagement and empowerment. For example, disease management apps such as BareYourPain help women manage their endometriosis.Chatbots such as ‘Ask Tanu’ can provide 24/7 access to reliable information on contraceptive choices and reproductive health. These are great examples of how we can enable patients to make informed choices about their health.
To digitally innovate, we must ask the right questions. What are the needs of doctors and patients? What is the best way to address their unmet needs and make a tangible impact? How can digital solutions help fill the gaps?
With an open mind and willingness to experiment, we can apply innovative digital solutions and new technologies in an optimal way to improve patient outcomes.