MedCity Influencers, BioPharma

Ways pharma marketers can boost physician engagement via telehealth

The pandemic has led pharma marketers to embrace digital marketing communications and the benefits of investing in telehealth platforms to engage physicians are numerous and provide a tremendous opportunity.

The physician marketing sector was driven predominantly by in-person communications, until the Covid-19 pandemic, which spurred a reported 90% of physicians treating patients remotely. This presented a challenge for pharmaceutical marketers to efficiently connect with physicians across telehealth platforms. The shift in marketing dynamics to engage physicians has accelerated the adoption of digital mediums to share messages with physicians. And as healthcare brands continue to advance marketing tactics in the space, these methods can raise physician engagement on telehealth platforms.

Identify opportune moments to reach physicians
In physician marketing, timing is a vital factor for the amount of traction a campaign can achieve. A message that is delivered with information that relates to the current mindset of a physician garners greater engagement. Every message is not created equal, because when and how it’s delivered correlates to how successful the campaign will be. The effectiveness of a campaign requires the message to resonate. A patient’s visit is a favorable opportunity to interact with physicians since physicians are attentive to the patient’s needs and are open to receiving relevant messages. With the data points available across telehealth platforms, pharma marketers have access to in-depth metrics to reveal the messages, formats, timing and platforms that are achieving the most engagement with physicians. With that knowledge, marketers are equipped with the ability to identify the opportune moments for when a message will have the maximum success rate to engage a physician and capture a greater return on investment for their marketing campaign.

Trigger-based messages amplify real-time communications
Point-of-Care networks, which include telehealth platforms, provide an opportunity to engage with physicians in real time. Hence, trigger-based messages provide marketers with an advantageous approach to interact with physicians and captivate their target audience at the ideal time. The telehealth path empowers pharma marketers to share messages at moments that are relevant during the physician’s journey while tending to a patient. Thus, deploying a trigger-based message about a drug when a physician is at the eRx phase of their visit with a patient is more effective.

Contextual messages are key for effective EHR campaigns
With the access to the patient’s medical history, Electronic Health Records (EHR) create an avenue to share messages with physicians around the diagnosis, treatment, medication and much more, to formulate a well-informed landscape on the patient’s past and current medical background. As part of the systematic workflow, marketers can automate the messages that are shared with physicians that they will relate with based on their current exchanges with patients. For instance, a physician treating a patient following an allergy diagnosis is more likely to engage with a message about the benefits of Zyrtec or Allegra, rather than being sent content about antihypertensive medications to treat high blood pressure.

Physician marketing communications should be supported by real-time metrics that provide pharmaceutical brands with the insights to optimize marketing efforts with contextual messages. In addition, content must be customized for the applicable telehealth platform — marketers that take a one message fits all platforms approach are destined to see a drop in their marketing efforts by not crafting communications that align with the appropriate digital medium. 

Share hyper-personalized messages that are non-coercive
With EHR, the medical field is an information-rich enterprise. The substantial flow of digital patient records emboldens pharma marketers to transform physician communications. With data available on the approach physicians take towards treatment and medicine prescribed to patients, hyper-personalized content enables brands to integrate these insights to showcase communications that reflect a stronger understanding of the physician’s background and methodology. Further, physicians are focused on providing the best care to patients — not an organization’s bottom line. So, pharma marketers not only need to have messages that hit the mark on the current interests and relevance for physicians but deliver messages in a non-coercive manner. A message directed at a physician can be ruined if it disrupts their experience on the digital platform. While a physician is readily accessible and open to the latest information about illnesses and treatments, a message being delivered on an EHR platform should build awareness, but not take the physician to another screen so their current patient interaction isn’t disrupted.

The telemedicine market is projected to surge up to $175 billion by 2026. In addition, the Covid-19 outbreak has altered the amount of time physicians are spending on digital platforms. While the pandemic has led pharma marketers to follow suit and embrace digital marketing communications as part of their plans, the benefits of investing in telehealth platforms to engage physicians are numerous and provide a tremendous opportunity. As more campaigns are generated, pharmaceutical marketers will have more insights to enhance exchanges with physicians to deliver impactful hyper-personalized campaigns.

Photo: Ridofranz, Getty Images

Harshit Jain MD is the Founder and CEO of Doceree, the first global network of physician-only platforms for programmatic marketing. With Doceree, Harshit is aiming to address the acute problem of rising cost of healthcare by bringing in efficiency and effectiveness in marketing to physicians by pharma brands on digital platforms with methodical use of data and creativity.

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