It’s been a tumultuous year since COVID landed at our doors, in our homes and across our workplaces. We’ve seen rapid change in the way we communicate and interact both internally as well as externally with our customers. The drive and need to change has never been more urgent or critical and, as the old saying goes, ‘necessity is the mother of invention’.
So, what is happening? There is a lot of data and research that points to a real shift in HCP behaviour, and understanding why, how and whether this change will be here to stay, will be critical for us all to plan ahead.
In some respects, the foundation and tools for these changes were already there, and change has been taking place. But has COVID taken us over that critical tipping point forever? Well, on the face of it, data seems to support this with a recent Veeva Pulse report pointing to a 6-fold increase in HCP response rates in digital channels, 5-fold longer engagement times and a sharp increase in demand for more content! Understandably, in the absence of ‘traditional’ channels and the almost overnight halt of face-to-face engagement, HCPs, like all of us, have turned to digital channels. But does that really explain fully what is going on? Have HCPs just ‘gone digital’ to consume what they were already consuming?
As ever we need to look behind the headline data to really understand this – the devil is always in the detail, as they say. Demand for new information and education from HCPs seems to have increased with the advent of COVID. Without a doubt, adding COVID in the mix is affecting almost every part of our healthcare system, but will the focus around COVID slow down and what legacy and lasting learnings can we gleam from this period?
We’ve long been tracking digital engagement here at MedUniverse and our interest has been on content types – what drives HCPs to want to engage in one type of content over another, and what type of content best supports that holy grail of behavioural change and turning information, learnings and education into action? What we’ve seen in the last 12 months is a noticeable shift from scientific content engagement to more patient-led content – a shift that has been evident for the last few years, but the acceleration of which has been even more noticeable since the start of the COVID pandemic.
We’ve seen our customers pivot not just in channel delivery but also in content type. Those that have managed to deliver both in the way the ‘customer’ is now demanding are seeing a much higher level of engagement that others. The key has been in not just moving to the new channels, but to complement this with the right type of content.
MedUniverse is no different to other players in the digital Pharma space in that we have seen a real increase in demand for our services and solutions. Being able to create engaging, interactive and insight-gathering content that can easily be published to multiple channels has helped propel our platform from important to a critical part of our clients’ HCP engagement strategies.
Our focus is on case studies – which continues to be one of the most in-demand content types (95% of HCPs engage in case study content more than once per month (1) and outstripping Pharma supply, even pre-COVID. This content type has much to offer and huge benefits for all stakeholders. For HCPs, this more patient-centric focus on content allows them to better assimilate the information and act upon it. Moreover, it enhances a change in the HCP–patient discussion and paves the way for bringing in new treatments or ways of discussing and managing their patients’ conditions. For the Pharma industry, case studies have been used for many years, but they often lack the ability to actively engage, interact and gain the insights from those interactions. They can often be flat, uninspiring and one-dimensional. Lastly, for patients, it is critical that we work to continue putting them front and centre. Good, well-thought and well-written case studies allows the patients’ voice to be heard in a context which, in a way, puts them and their needs at the forefront.
For those pharma companies that are able to not just see, but also act on the opportunity that this implies, i.e., that Patient Cases/Studies (2) being one of the most preferred communication methods, it will allow for a much-improved relationship between industry and HCPs.
If you are already working with patient cases, in any format, and you would like to know how we can support you in transforming them into digital, interactive and measurable content, then please come and speak to us – with over ten years of experience of successful HCP engagement via patient cases in the MedUniverse platform, we believe we can help.
(1) The evolving role of websites for healthcare professionals – EPG Health 2017
(2) Analysis of MedUniverse patient case studies delivered self-led/ on demand or moderated/ presented during MSL, Sales Rep, Webinar, Virtual KOL meetings