What do we mean when we say digital transformation?
Some experts define it as the process that allows integrating technology within a company at all levels, such as its strategy, talent, processes, channels, products and services. This process is defined as irreversible, since all the technologies that underlie these changes also evolve during the transformation and other technologies are born at this time.
Digital transformation has become a necessity in the pharmaceutical industry. It achieves changes in the processes that allow competitive advantages that we did not even imagine before, but this has been proven in different sectors like retail or banks, now we have the responsibility to take advantage of it by also applying it to health.
It is known that compared to other industries, pharma and biotech companies have traditionally been adopting emerging technologies at a slower pace. This is mainly because the pharmaceutical industry is heavily regulated, has strong intellectual property constraints, and well-known conservative culture. But finally, this is changing, and the digital transformation in pharmaceutical industry has started!
The main pharma players know this is an excellent opportunity to begin to integrate digital road maps into their strategies. So being conscious of new emerging business models, pharma companies are starting to provide digitized products and services to differentiate their drugs against competitors.
So, it´s no longer about the drug alone, it is far beyond than that, it is about experience and services as well.
Have COVID-19 boosted digital trends in pharma?
As everyone knows, the pharmaceutical industry has played a vital role in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic. These months in healthcare have led to an unprecedented disruption in the industry and have revealed some of its biggest challenges in terms of digital transformation.
This pandemic period, in most industries, has put the level of digital maturity to test. In general, companies have responded with agility and flexibility to the new needs that have appeared.
We have seen how pharmaceutical companies have been looking for the better way to get closer to their customers and be able to offer a personalized service, also to supply hospitals and medical centres with needed materials, or even create new platforms to inform and manage issues related with Covid- 19.
According to Statista since the coronavirus outbreak the online traffic on pharmaceutical companies has risen by 35%. So, nobody needs to be told that Covid-19 has created new paradigms. The upcoming crisis may be seen as a great opportunity to digitalize entire ecosystems.
Mark Valdiviezo, the VP Strategy and Applied Digital Transformation in Indegene stated during eyeofpharma Barcelona – which this year took place virtually due to Covid outbreak- that this crisis will lead to a digital reset in pharma industry.
“Make sure you keep the customer experience in mind. Remember what the actual end goal is. Make sure that with these different restrictions and regulations, you still deliver something of high value to your customers.” This reset will redefine how industry engages with customers physically, digitally, or both at the same time.
Patients and innovative communication strategies
Trends are showing that patients are increasingly visiting healthcare company’s websites, in order to find medical information about pathologies, therapies and their products.
According to Accenture research “76% of patients think that pharmaceutical companies have a responsibility to provide information and services that help patients to manage their health.”
These reasons are strong enough to encourage pharmaceutical companies focus on patients that will be treated with their products and try to make everything easier for them. How could this be done?
- 3D videos about pathologies, so that patients can easily understand.
- Illustrations and infographics about the mechanism of action of the products that will treat those pathologies, so patients will easily rely on the product and this will achieve a higher adherence.
- Interactive content will also help patients to “play around” and have a better understanding on pathologies and products.
The main goal of 3D videos is to explain difficult processes and therapies in a basic and educational way, so we ensure that information reaches them properly.
New technologies to engage HCPs
Before Covid-19, the interaction with HCP was usually easy and face-to-face. Nowadays this has changed and new technologies have had to be implemented, not only the pandemic has led us to this stage, also the need of changing traditional techniques as they are not as effective with millennial doctors. New generations are completely open to new communication channels and mainly visuals.
Deploying digital channels and visuals into marketing strategies is an efficient way to strengthen HCP´s engagement.
Which are the new digital channels?
- Virtual Booths, this is the best way to organise a professional meeting or virtual exhibition to show your brand and pipeline in an innovative way.
- Augmented Reality, in order to get a better costumer engagement, or show your product in an impactful way.
- Virtual reality, giving the opportunity to really show how your technology works and have the best explaining tool right at your screen.
To sum up, we must say that digital revolution in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry has finally arrived, and it’s changing the rules of the game.
The early movers are already focusing on enhancing their digital strategies by using new communication channels and technologies such as virtual reality or holograms.
As in other fields, there is no single template to guarantee success in this new era. Nevertheless, the main leaders in the healthcare industry agree that investing in medical digital marketing is more crucial than ever.
So, do you want to know how your company can take advantage of digital innovations?
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