It is nearly 2020 and somehow the major medium for biopharma product information still comes in the form of a detail aid from the hands of customer-facing teams such as life sciences sales reps. While rep roles have evolved and more digital channels have been implemented, the instantaneous flow of product or disease state information still does not reach the healthcare practitioners in the same "on-demand" and intelligent way that we all experience it outside the industry. With access to healthcare professionals (HCPs) becoming a challenge and the brand website never really being a trustworthy or all that insightful source of information, HCPs do not have a single customer service-oriented destination to access medical information and learn, at their own leisure, about services for their practice or their patients.
Time for the Self-Service Model
To fix this gap, pharma, biotech, and medical device companies have started to offer personalized, self-service portals - built with the needs of digital natives in mind. Such portals allow HCPs to access information on products and patient services, replenish their samples, trigger an in-person visit or remote one, and get the latest medical research when they need it, all in one location.
Personalization of content through intelligent recommendations is made possible based on an HCP's behavior across many channels and external sources to life sciences organizations, which once enabled increase brand loyalty and customer engagement. With such portals in play, life sciences companies can more deeply understand the needs of HCPs as there is continuous flow of engagement and the data on their behavior is consumed by one machine-learning application. Best of all, it reduces the need for large field forces and leads to better utilization of sparse resources such as MSLs.
Self-Service – A Multifaceted Solution for Your Customer Experience Management (CXM) Strategy
The unification of field-based and self-service engagements creates richer data sets. In real time, predictive algorithms can use the data to provide the most appropriate engagement and experience models, which can be applied to customers with a higher propensity to be loyal.
Case Study – Early mover: Customizing content for health-care practitioners1
“A large global biopharma company has built a self-service portal for over 30,000 HCPs across Europe to access marketing and sales content across a variety of mediums. The content shared with each HCP varies depending on their previous viewing habits. This can enable customized targeting based on individual HCP preferences, helping improve the effectiveness of their marketing approach.”– Deloitte Insights
Personalization using deep customer graphs automates the understanding of customer journeys, relationships, and HCP interests to guide each customer's interaction within the portal. Chatbots, on-demand services such as remote engagement, and loyalty programs to gain access to recommended publications elevate the customer experience. Brands can iteratively connect with the right customers to improve route to market and grow brand value.
Overall, the business can continuously improve customer acquisition, retention, and customer satisfaction metrics.
Self-Service Supports Multiple Customers Types
The need for more self-service portals is clear:
Retail pharmacies want to engage digitally, and expect a simplified, intelligent experience
Small accounts, who are not visited by any field professionals due to coverage or geographical limitations, make it their primary source of information
HCPs in larger accounts expect self-service capabilities coordinated with field visits for an omnichannel experience
Field professionals want to be able to offer more choices for connected customers to engage, while having clear visibility into their activities
Brand managers or business leaders want to offer novel and cutting-edge experiences for their connected customers to improve ACR (Acquire, Convert, Retain) measures
IT leaders want to enable new routes to market without the need to invest in multiple solutions that make transformation slow, costly, and complex
A Customer-Centric Cycle for Connected Customers
Self-service capabilities will ultimately have a larger impact on overall customer engagement using all other digital channels, generating new business models, new innovative ways of interaction with greater convenience, and more advanced transactions.
Advanced HCP Portal Applications
Taking the game further, Certera2 launched its Basecase Portal™ that allows HCPs to customize treatment for individual patients. The portal has the ability to create advanced scientific models and algorithms that can, for example, generate a dosing recommendation based on a particular patient's individual characteristics. These capabilities were previously available only in research settings. The portal also allows HCPs to collaborate and follow progress on research studies, besides providing access to product information and dosage guidelines.
Intelligent Sample Management
As field forces have continued to be limited or reduced, there is a decrease in sampling orders generated by HCPs. Self-service portals can be tapped to create sampling orders by HCPs. The information can be integrated with field force systems to avoid duplication of sample orders. This can accelerate the launch of new drugs in the market and drive costs down with multichannel integration.
To summarize, a self-service portal can offer the following capabilities:
Product and dosage information: Easy to access drug and medical device information at the HCPs' fingertips, including chatbot services and updates on patient services as well as an ability to order samples.
Educational and research content: Personalized, interactive, multimedia medical content to keep HCPs up to date on latest research and trends. Besides watching videos, HCPs can also join online events and webinars.
Rep/MSL on demand: Online meetings with field forces using audio, video, and digital content sharing. The application allows HCPs to see who is assigned to them, if the rep or MSL is currently online, or who they can connect with if they would like immediate answers.
Collaboration: Connect with HCPs to discuss the latest research and trends, treatments, and medical cases.
In today's digital world, brands can only benefit if they create quality customer experiences. Otherwise HCPs will get their information from other sources - much like the majority do today. Constant feedback from HCPs will help improve services as well as conceptualize new services to cover the entire spectrum of healthcare needs for both HCPs and patients, while at the same time, reducing costs with a cloud-based solution.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled self-service portals to improve customer experiences at a global scale.
1 . Reh G, Fox J, Chang C. Tackling digital transformation - How biopharma companies can realize the power of digital and prepare for a new reality. Deloitte Insights. https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/industry/life-sciences/biopharma-company-of-the-future.htmlAccessed August 9,2019.
2 . Leinfuss E., Osborne L. Certara Launches BaseCase® Portal™, Enabling Life Sciences Companies to Deliver Therapeutic Decision-Making Apps to HCPs at the Point of Care. Certara Web site. https://www.certara.com/pressreleases/certara-launches-basecase-portal-enabling-life-sciences-companies-to-deliver-therapeutic-decision-making-apps-to-hcps-at-the-point-of-care/Accessed August 9,2019