9:30 AM - 10:30 AM
Bayer’s Sebastian Guth and Brian Cantwell
believe the industry is embracing its
potential to provide deeper insights and
better value to
Sebastian points to the 2 big approaches or learnings that have defined Bayer’s path since the start of the pandemic. First, “the power of focus on purpose” that is reflected in the company’s ethos of “help for all, hunger for none,” which has catalyzed the company to ensure continued and robust product supply, safety of co-workers, and value for customers. Second, he emphasizes the importance of customer obsession. Even in a crisis, the healthcare professionals need information to help them best serve patients.
Brian says, to be effective, the digital team must be truly integrated with the brand and franchise teams. This is vital in order to translate strategies into real-world digital engagement. Insight-driven design must govern customer engagement and campaign plans. Data show what the right tactic is, the right time to execute it, and the right channels to use. These, and customers’ feedback, must define what comprises a good experience. Agile and robust operations must be in place in order to bring these ideas to life in the real world. There must be a test and learn mindset for innovation and experimentation. Some of the team must be focused on future developments.
Sebastian believes that the right mindset is crucial across all company functions. Everyone must be imbued with a willingness to learn and to embrace failure as a natural part of development. He considers it critically important to equip the salesforce with new technology, and give them confidence to test, experiment, learn and, ultimately, grow in their profession. Medical science liaison personnel will become even more important for engaging with customers on scientific questions. Therefore, they must have the right technology and tools so that they can have these conversations at any time, from anywhere, and where customers prefer.
He quotes, “Don’t predict the future, choose it.” He believes the industry must start making the future it believes in. Failure will be a part of that, but what matters is the act of engaging in transformation, which offers tremendous opportunity to bring greater value to our customers.
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
The growth of personalization in
healthcare delivery and the
characterization of individual patients
have driven the need to differentiate
products based on outcomes and to optimize
Medical Affairs’ (MA) core role in scientific exchange with Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) and customers places it in a strategic, leading position, which is driven by HCPs’ expectations of high-level, non-promotional, scientific content.
MA must concentrate on supporting physicians with the relevant information they need, when they need it, as well as providing trusted information for patients. Another important angle is how the regulators will examine the new ways of communicating and sharing information with HCPs and patients. HCPs want scientific data and trust MA to support them with easily accessible content that they can digest quickly.
What is the blueprint for a good customer experience enabling digital transformation? Start with the customer and gather insights to build the physician journey. Understand who they are, what their day looks like, and what they need to achieve. Then work with them to provide useful scientific communications that help to improve patient outcomes. The MA function needs to collaborate both internally and externally to achieve this, gathering data from all sources. Endorsement from the leadership team is important.
The provision of accurate, comprehensive content remains the cornerstone. Those who supply it in a very specific manner for very specific needs will be the differentiators.
Digital is critical for multichannel delivery. The goal is a data-driven, customer-centric experience that flows seamlessly across devices. Within companies, the mindset must be to build a customer-centric culture. This means embedding digital in every action, every day, to sustain this.
In addition, measurement is vital. Find out what impact a piece of content is having, as well as which channels are most effective. Anticipate customers’ needs. The industry must transform itself from a provider of products to a provider of services, which will help to broaden the perspective of the world in which we work.
11:30 AM - 12:30 AM
Global Commercial Operations have been
challenged to grow the digital content
multifold, run more digital campaigns and
superior virtual meeting capability, and
enhance reporting capabilities on
engagements during the
Delivering omnichannel solutions at scale requires 3 strategic priorities: The supply of modular and rapid content refreshers, AI or smart content orchestration, and strategic analytics.
Traditionally, pharma has been focused on interactions at the doctor’s office; now it must establish ways to engage with HCPs in a multichannel way. More personalized, relevant engagement with customers has to be operationalized, but this is not a simple or quick task. The mission must be clearly articulated internally to gain support and align both human and financial resources. The sales rep model needs to evolve into a hybrid sales model that interacts with all the other touchpoints, including media, CRM, and social.
Understanding of customers must be gained and integrated with business strategy, leading to delivery of the right content to the right customer via the right channel at the right time. Additionally, a robust change management program is needed, with multiple functions given the flexibility to work together.
Large organizational change cannot be achieved all at once, so companies must recognize the priorities now, invest where there will be the most tangible impact, and let other elements follow later.
In terms of partnering externally, a hybrid model can work. There is value in outsourcing in areas like campaign orchestration and marketing automation, which can drive a scalable approach. While third parties bring the vision to life, strategy is the one thing pharma should not outsource.
To ensure future competitive advantage, pharma companies must be ready to adapt to novel therapeutics and adjust the business accordingly. Omnichannel at scale requires greater coordination between operations, brand, field, and all other functions to support delivery of the right message.
12:30 AM - 1:30 AM
Content is critical to drive better
customer experience, especially in a
pandemic, when less face-to-face
interaction is possible. Pharma’s content
creators have seen the demand rise
exponentially as companies race to
redefine their commercial
While consumers’ expectations are being shaped by their experiences with content from companies outside pharma, pressure on margins and balance between personalization and regulatory compliance, have compelled some pharma companies’ senior leadership to fundamentally rethink content.
Demand for content has exploded from one channel (field force focused content), into many other channels. The challenges are to generate greater volume, as well as content that is fit for each channel, without more resources. This necessitates a next level of operational excellence, applied to content operations, breaking paradigms, news ways of working and a change of pharma’s mindset.
In order to speed internal processes, content creators need to adopt a disciplined, modular and repurposing approach to content that is already approved. Content discipline needs to be applied to content creation not just to speed up the processes but also to enable insights to be derived from that content.
Content should be thought of as a ‘product’ in its own right and purposely designed, packaged, produced, distributed and tested. It should be created to address a specific problem, then put in front of the right consumers, in order to create value. A constant production line must deliver this content at speed. Packaging can make a big difference to content too. It is no longer enough to market with content, as now the content itself must be marketed.
Pharma’s also has been limited by the lack of end-to-end technology solution stacks for content, from content creation, to approval, to omnichannel orchestration, to measurement.
The reporting structures on content need to advance from just informing on operational excellence parameters to intelligence around engagement. The industry needs to embrace the concept of “content equals data”; digital data mean strategic questions can be answered. They show what is engaging, what channels work, and why.
Content transformation will have a ripple effect on pharma’s entire commercial ecosystem. Alongside the need for internal functions to change, there will be new roles created, especially those revolving around content strategy. These new roles will focus more on the customer experience than the brand experience.
Customer Facing Teams
12:30 AM - 1:30 AM
Both the field force and customers have
resisted using digital technology in
recent years. Now, COVID has forced a
fundamental change by challenging the
relevance of the field force and nudged
them to embrace change.
Digital works better when there is an existing relationship but it can be hard to establish new relationships for a new product through digital and virtual channels only. Some of the early data are indicating that HCPs are more cautious about prescribing new products when they cannot see reps and patients in person.
Digital transformation is, however, enabling greater access and new opportunities. Digital channels have allowed HCPs to access MSLs at their convenience, with more flexibility, by enabling more “on-demand” interactions. The shift towards specialty medications has led to a demand for a more scientific focus and a greater thirst for peer-to-peer knowledge sharing via webinars, compared to traditional detailing, which is already becoming archaic.
In terms of new launches, pharma should engage the payers in the process as early as possible. Products that are between Phases 2 and 3 should be discussed, with routine commercial updates provided to payers each quarter. Payers are often seen as blocking innovation, but they see their role as challenging it. There are many launches, which are therapeutically equivalent to existing products in the market, but there are very few truly innovative molecules. Developers of these new therapeutically equivalent products often have a biased view towards their own product and tend not to be objective of the value of their own innovation. Their market research is often narrow and has gaps which can be offset by deeper engagement with payers.
Pharma should also take account of the voice of the patient and advocacy groups, and their ability to influence payers, especially as the trend is towards more specialty medicines. Pharma should have an engagement strategy for patient advocacy groups which could influence payers and impact market access decisions.
Customer-facing teams also need upskilling. MSLs have the scientific knowledge but need new skills like social listening, tweeting and the ability to have real-time conversations. It is not just about having access to HCPs and patients, but also about ensuring access to the right tools, and knowledge about how to use them, so information can be shared. Knowing the best format to deliver personalized information is important, to ensure it is most effective. However, in the current state of “Zoom fatigue”, the key to retaining attention and effective engagement with customers is the content.
12:30 AM - 1:30 AM
The convergence of technology can reshape
the future of health, medicine, and
biopharma. COVID-19 is catalyzing smart
ways to improve health and
The future of hospital care is moving to home or “homespital,” with the advent of virtualized care. Now is the time to break out of old mindsets and silos, and consider disease in a more holistic, molecular, and genetic way. Healthcare professionals (HCPs) must move on from reactive, intermittent, and episodic care, based on limited data, and use a technology to provide continuous data for more personalized and proactive care.
Precision medicine has some way to go to provide the right drug, at the right dose, at the right time. However, the genomic age is bringing highly specific patient metrics.
The challenge is to translate all the data into actionable insights. Incentives must shift from volume to value.
Care is moving from hospital to homes, to phones, to on, and inside our bodies. Pharmacies are becoming primary care centers, either via traditional methods or virtualized care. Companies such as Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens are creating one-stop shops for healthcare, leveraging connected tools. Uber, Lift, and Amazon are entering the healthcare and pharmacy sectors.
Developments such as AI, big data, 3D printing, and synthetic biology are converging and becoming faster, cheaper, and more widely available. They are bringing opportunities in computational biology, drug discovery and development with quantum computing, designer antibodies, companion diagnostics, plus AI with radiology and robotic surgery as well as continuous monitoring.
Wearables can measure almost every element of physiology and behavior and, in the near future, every drug will be related to a sensor. The “quantified self” will become “quantified health,” bringing personal data to the doctor, pharmacist, nutritionist, or clinical trial manager. Digital biomarkers will diagnose disease early, monitor continuously, and provide feedback to enable smart treatment.
There is not one size that fits all in terms of innovative technologies. As with precision medicine, precision interfaces are needed that suit individual users.
The challenge here, of course, is connecting the dots. The convergence of citizen science, body computing sensors, genomics, AI analytics, and Internet of Things, machine learning is driving the pace of change from x to 10x. All we need is an exponential mindset to take us 10x.