The user journey is key when it comes to events, no matter if physical or digital ones. This holds true for individuals wishing to attend events as much as the organizations hosting them.
Nowhere is this more important than the pharmaceutical industry. Why? Well, as the pharmaceutical industry is aware, it is increasingly challenging for Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) to find the time to commit to learning about the development of new products in their therapy area and participating in:
- Medical Education / Continual Medical Education (CME) accredited briefings
- Clinical trials and investigator meetings
- Ad-board discussions
Traditionally, all of these were physical events. But with the strain on work life balance and global pharmaceutical budgets, as well as various compliance requirements, these events are increasingly becoming virtual, delivered via webcast and webinar solutions.
Virtual events are nothing new in the pharmaceutical industry. However, the user journey, essentially the route that HCPs take from first interaction to attending the event and follow-up, is significant for both the HCP and the pharmaceutical company.
A move away from a standalone event model
I’m seeing a move away from the standalone event model where HCPs receive an invite from a pharmaceutical company to join a webinar, register, receive a reminder and attend. With the attendance, their ‘journey’ ends.
This approach worked on one level: Physical events and the associated entertainment costs were reduced, budget was saved, and compliance issues avoided as events became virtual. However, it stops short of what could be achieved.
The invitations, registration and webinars are delivered by a third-party application with a limited or non-existent flow of data back into the pharmaceutical companies’ CRM systems. This might seem like a small detail, but it’s a big gap in the information and communication flow. From my experience, what tends to happen is the webinar organizer within the pharma or the communications agency is sent the event report listing who registered, who attended etc. In some cases, basic information such as an HCP’s attendance might be added to the CRM system. However, in many cases this information, which could enable pharmaceutical reps to follow up with the HCPs with relevant talking points, does not reach the CRM systems accessed by the reps.
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Knowledge portals as hub for the new user journey for healthcare professionals
Stepping back to look at the industry, large pharmaceuticals are focusing on specific therapy areas such as Oncology, Anti-Virals, Bronchodilators, Anti-Rheumatics, Anti-Diabetics etc and consolidated knowledge resources are being created for each specialism. Pharmaceuticals are increasingly developing portals to house these resources, which HCPs can access for information on their respective therapy area. These form the hub for the user journey.
Now these portals are maturing, and the HCPs can sign into the portal to access resources for the relevant therapy area, click and show interest in their respective content and watch on demand presentations within days of the live event following complicated compliance approvals. The HCPs will be educated and receive their CPD points if these are MedEd sessions. All the data from these webinars then flow back into the CRM systems of the pharmaceutical company so they can see which events a HCP attended and, if Q&As were available, what questions they asked. The pharmaceutical companies can make sure they are not spamming HCPs with irrelevant information, and any future conversations with their pharmaceutical rep can be relevant to the HCPs’ specific areas of interest.
Also read our blog on 4 Success Factors for Digital Engagement with Healthcare Professionals
In summary, by simplifying the user journey, the pharmaceuticals are gaining the trust of HCPs back and are gaining respect from the regulatory bodies. It’s a win-win on both sides. The tricky bit is to keep streamlining these processes to make it easier to access the information and resources that are vital for keeping the world’s doctors up to speed with the latest advances in medical research.
The more Healthcare Professionals know the better they can heal.
If you’d like to learn more about Arkadin’s Digital Engagement Solutions for Healthcare, visit our website.