Marie Little. Managing Director. Bedrock Healthcare Communications.
Remote communication is nothing new, but has become a mainstay for pharma, agencies and healthcare professionals (HCPs). In a survey by IQVIA, HCPs said “increased remote engagement will be lasting and should continue being used to supplement face to face contact.” Determining what that combination looks like will be an ongoing challenge – and has rightly made pharma and its associated agencies think differently about how best to reach and bring value to HCPs.
What meaningful looks like
The key word here is value. What do HCPs want? How can we get messages across and meet the needs of our audience? The companies that get remote communication right are the ones who truly listen and adapt past merely format and channel. So simple and yet so often forgotten in the desire to communicate our agenda: Don’t start from what you want people to do, start from what people want to do. More than ever before, successful medical affairs teams are adopting ‘outside-in’ thinking; planning carefully around what will resonate with the customer, in order to meet their needs first.
In the first few months, COVID-19 had accelerated the digitisation of customer interactions by years, and with 70% of HCPs being digital natives, adopting new technologies for better remote communication should not present a barrier. What we need to get right is the content.
How we’re evolving with the revolution
The great news is that content delivered remotely can be really individualised based on audience insights and need. This is commonplace outside of pharma and needs to become so in our world.
Ultimately, audience understanding will expedite the evolution of how we deliver content and define the right channels and connection methods. Already it is more user-led, intuitive and easily accessible than ever before.
It has also led to heightened contextualisation. For example, creating platforms that dovetail authentic patient and HCP journeys to provide education relevant to each intersection, thereby increasing understanding, demonstrating benefit and improving the patient experience.
Where we go next
The last 18 months have presented new challenges for HCPs: severe lack of time, lack of connection with peers, how to support patients better and how to deal with patient backlog, not to mention dealing with the unpredictable consequences of COVID – all areas in which focused pharma support can make a real difference, whilst building a channel for improved ongoing communication.
The reliance on remote communication is here to stay. The more we listen, understand and put our audience first, the better the next normal will be for everyone.