Medical Information – Do We Really Understand What Our Customers Want?

26 Oct 2021
Medical Information – Do We Really Understand What Our Customers Want?

Sometimes we accept business as usual because it is familiar. The pharma medical information (MI) practice is an institution that has remained relatively unchanged in its day-to-day mode of operation. At its core, the content, the interface, and the system are designed to be excellent at a transactional level. Our efforts today are on leveraging technology to fulfill the "A" part of Q and A as quickly and accurately as possible. In the past, "digital" meant email responses to unsolicited requests – and that was not very long ago! Yes, there are now websites and chatbots, and the industry is looking at content intended for laypersons.

In the process of fulfilling requests faster and better, are we missing something more basic?

Indegene and phactMI embarked on research, which departs from preferences on formats and channels, and focused on the "why" do Healthcare Providers (HCPs) contact MI at a pharma company. HCPs have a myriad of choices today to get information. What is the perceived value of pharma MI?

We received some interesting insights, and the study results are here.

The results from the study are as follows:

  • HCPs generally contact MI with a specific patient in mind – it sounds obvious, but the question is whether we are actually able to impact this individual patient care
  • HCPs who receive information from MI believe that they are able to manage their patient better
  • HCPs use the content they receive to engage directly with patients

A novel feature of our study was that we wanted to understand the barriers to using pharma MI. Interestingly, bias and transparency were cited as the most common reasons. This gives us a reason to pause as MI responses are well researched and referenced – such that a person could recreate the search results.

An area that also gives us a reason to pause is that nearly 40% of those participants who did not use MI were not aware of the service. Given the value received by their counterparts, this is a missed opportunity.

Coming back to the original question, where do we go from here? We believe that it is time to start to move the stance and value proposition of MI from a reactive, transactional-based model to a more active, dialogue-based model with our HCP customers. Today, we assist the HCP in patient care through the provision of information. Can we move this to assist the HCP through the provision of value?

Value could take on many forms. A few thoughts are as follows:

  1. Can MI teams organize and run preceptorship or training programs on the appropriate use of medical devices?
  2. Are there opportunities to anticipate spikes of questions to their HCPs (lay media stories, black box warnings, etc) and to proactively provide HCPs with speaking points to help navigate those discussions – no one likes to be taken off guard?
  3. Can we manage hospitals or health networks like accounts and be the source of information for them on our products – the ability to provide personalized service and for the organization to gain valuable insights?

Could some of these activities change perceptions and elevate the industry in our customers’ minds? This is important because, for a vast majority of our customers, MI may be their only measure of the quality of our organizations and services.

We have started some interesting conversations with many #FutureReadyHealthcare organizations. Are you experiencing similar MI challenges? How are you solving them?