Every two years Publicis Touchpoint and Sermo release poll results about what physicians want titled, not surprisingly, “What Physicians Want!” You can get the full white paper from the Touchpoint website.
As both a research creator and consumer I find it important to highlight the selection bias that is rampant in this document. Sermo, as is well known, is North America’s largest physician-only social network with over 120,000 members. It stands to reason that the physicians that use Sermo will be at the top-end of digital adoption, so expect any questions regarding how they prefer to receive information to be biased in that direction. Further, the answering physicians were overwhelmingly primary care physicians (PCPs) with only 38% specialists in various fields. The top 10 findings, verbatim from the study:
- Want still more high-quality sales representatives A consistent result in all 3 biennial surveys, HCPs are saying “you are still not providing me with the ‘quality’ of representative I need for my practice.”
- 82% want more use of iPads in detailing It’s clear that survey respondents appreciate the interactivity of details presented on iPads. For Klick’s end-to-end solution for equipping your field force with iPads, see the iCONNECT™ site.
- Want more electronic access to materials and representatives Physicians want more on-demand resources (disease- and product-focused websites, eSampling, eMail, etc) and after-hours access to local “hybrid” representatives through phone and live video.
- Want less mailed print materials While a minority finds print materials useful, most HCPs want to receive less.
- Want more customer service representatives, hybrid representatives, and clinical health educators These types of nontraditional representatives provide tremendous value around service, education, and adherence/retention support.
- Want more industry-sponsored accredited CME, but less promotional education It is interesting to note that HCPs’ interest in industry-sponsored accredited CME has increased as availability has decreased.
- Want more HCP-focused websites 86% of respondents would like to see more HCP-focused disease-state websites, and 77% want more brand-/product-oriented HCP-focused websites.
- 88% now own smartphones (vs 70% in 2010), and 54% use iPads (or other tablets) in daily work This is not unexpected, but reinforces the importance of the digital mHealth (mobile health) message.
- Doctors communicate with patients primarily via phone (70%), eMail (66%), and mail (46%) As doctors and patients increasingly interact via eMail, secure electronic transfer of patient education and support materials will become ever more important.
- Doctors are seeking crucial industry focus on patient education, support, and adherence HCPs need help providing better patient care in an environment that doesn’t make it easy for them to do their jobs (eg, time crunches, lack of payment for counseling/educating patients, etc)
What does this mean for the pharma company looking to educate physicians about its therapies?
It means that the balance between interrupt-driven visits and physician-initiated contacts needs to shift more towards the on-demand side of the equation. Most brands have an advisory board. It would pay to listen to what the members are saying and give them more of what they want. There is still a strong argument for the drug detail in the hall of the clinic between appointments – that is the best channel for news and information that the physician does not yet know – but it should always end with a linkage to further information online.
Also, it means a redoubling of the effort put into the brand’s physician web property and maybe an enhancement into other online channels for getting the very best information in the hands of your physicians and their patients.
Physicians are looking for a helping hand. The brands that offer it will be much farther ahead.