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Enabling your medical engagement vision via HCP medical information portals

22 Aug 2022

A recent report  1 by Indegene shows that the traditional HCP engagement models have given way to a more hybrid approach and HCPs are seeking a greater share of relevant, noncommercial, scientific, and educational content. The survey findings revealed that HCPs prefer to receive clinical data (76%), real-world evidence (77%), treatment guidelines (79%), medical information (73%), and disease information (71%) and want pharma companies to de-prioritize promotional content.

But How Easy or Difficult Is It to Access This Information Today?

Take, for instance, Dr Jane who is receiving queries on “monkeypox” daily from concerned patients. As the outbreak is increasing every day, she wants to be able to address her patients' concerns. For this, she needs to access accurate and reliable information on the conditions, symptoms, treatments, and the latest updates on the approved drugs. Although she has been provided with a lot of information about the latest approved vaccine by sales representatives and pharma companies, she still wants and prefers to access more reliable scientific information to make informed treatment decisions.

She decides to “google” it, lands on the medical information “contact details” of the vaccine manufacturer and drops an email—the only way to get the desired information. And, then it is a waiting game!

Even though this scenario sounds unrealistic in today's hyperconnected ecosystem, it is, however, a real situation for many pharma companies. This is because pharma's existing engagement strategy relies more on push communication, rather than providing HCPs the flexibility of finding the right content that is more reliable and trustworthy at their own pace.

As this is evident, a well-designed and functional medical information portal or website can mean a world of difference between a great and poor omnichannel customer experience for physicians like Dr Jane and others.

Medical Information Portals as the Cornerstone of Enhanced Medical Engagements

The core of the next-generation medical experience is an integrated, omnichannel experience delivery ecosystem, and medical information portals are the most critical steppingstone toward activating true omnichannel experiences. A robust medical information portal delivers on the opportunity to trigger contextual digital engagements, in line with HCPs' area of interest—self-served scientific/medical content that helps in enhancing their clinical practice while capturing engagement data, which feeds into omnichannel engagement strategy refinement.

This sounds like a "must-have" capability, and every pharma company must already have a matured medical information portal, right?

Well, that is not the case.

Current State of Digital Maturity for Medical Information Portals

A recent survey 2 commissioned by Indegenes Medical Affairs Digital Strategy Council highlighted some interesting findings on pharma‘s digital capabilities. The composite best practice Digital Excellence (DX) score for medical information portals was a paltry 43 and the country-level availability of this channel was the lowest among the various digital capabilities that were benchmarked (Figure 1). Although majority of the respondents indicated that they are investing in omnichannel strategy definition and customer insights the progress is slower than the desired results.

Figure 1. Digital evolution through the lens of Medical Affairs across 15 biopharma organizations—local strategy implementation

It is evident that although the vast majority of pharma companies (~87% of the respondents) recognizes the importance of medical information portals as a critical engagement channel, they are yet to unlock its true potential (40% respondents do not have a strategy for medical information).

Designing and delivering superior HCP experience over medical information portals is not direct and pharma companies need a specialistic approach to activate the right strategy and capability—domain-centric, CX-aligned, fit-for-purpose technology.

How to Start, What to Do, Where to Go?

Step 1: Leverage Technology as the Key Enabler

The medical information portal is not a standalone channel, but a milestone in the omnichannel HCP journey. A robust technology backbone will enable integrations with other channels and the larger ecosystem for data-driven customer engagement delivery. The technology you choose also has a deep impact on the functionalities you can build, the experiences you deliver, and the innovation you want to achieve.

Step 2: Put the Customer at the Center

Leverage the outside-in perspective—customer and competitor—to design the end-state vision for your medical information portal. The overall channel strategy should consider the key drivers for enhanced CX delivery—superior UI/UX, relevant content, easy search, discoverability, stability, and personalization. Understand what your customer expects and activate capabilities such as predictive search, advanced filters, click-to-chat, and MSL appointment scheduling to drive differentiated experiences.

Step 3: Think for Holistic Approach

Having a medical information portal is not enough if the channel is not able to deliver on its engagement goals. An "always-on" holistic capability cluster needs to be activated to ensure the continuous realization of the channel ROI. The capability cluster should enable benchmarked UX, robust content tagging and management, and integrated and data-enabled portal with in-built levers for continuous functional enhancements. Partnering with a specialist to bring in cross-functional capabilities and best practices will accelerate channel activation, stabilization, and maturity (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Guiding principles to transform HCP experience regardless of the current state of medical information portal maturity

HCP expectations are changed forever, but their increased appetite for unbiased, evidence-based, scientific content is here to stay. Medical information portals have the potential to become the anchor for engaging with HCPs, beyond the commercial push tactics, and drive positive positioning/recall for the pharma company. The objective is to realize a scenario where Dr Jane will be able to access the required medical/scientific content regarding monkey pox, register for upcoming webinars and newsletters on this disease condition, as well as set alerts on the latest news and papers using the pharma‘s medical information portal in a matter of minutes.

Our next blog will cover the strategies and tailored approaches on how medical affairs organizations can cross-leverage commercial best practices to not only stand up a “customer-centric” medical information portal but also continuously drive medical/scientific content engagements that are contextual and personalized.


1. Using advanced digital capabilities to unlock hard-to-see HCPs access | Pharmafile

2. The New Era of HCP Engagement: What’s Next on the Path to Digital Excellence | Pharmexec

3. How pharma can accelerate business impact from advanced analytics | McKinsey

4. Veeva Pulse Trends, Global Market, October 2020


Anuj Shah
Anuj Shah
Ankita Bhattacharjee
Ankita Bhattacharjee