COVID-19 Shock: Impacting Information Delivery in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Despite the increasing use of digital mediums to provide drug information to HCPs across the globe, due mainly to historic cultural preferences and the concentration of the population within major cities rather than geographical dispersion, Japanese pharmaceutical companies have been relatively slow to adopt large scale digital reforms. However, COVID-19 has changed all of that in only a short few months. And while much remains unknown, we are certainly far from the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Globally, COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the pharmaceutical industry. Even here in Japan, a dramatic and quick reduction in the use of in-person detailing was inevitable. In order to measure the pulse of physicians’ reaction to these changes, enTouch conducted an extensive survey to more than 800 clinical doctors in early July.

Three major challenges to the digital approach

 

As a result, the "emergency response" became a post-Corona "ordinary response".

Throughout the pandemic, physicians' information needs have remained high and the amount of information they seek to receive has not decreased. However, the means of delivery requires change. Pharmaceutical companies are rushing to invest in digital technologies and 3rd party providers are refining solutions to meet the required changes in this new environment.

Pharmaceutical companies are seeking to improve HCP segmentation and targeting in order to provide a flexible combination of digital and in-person visits based on individual HCP preferences. Given the new environment, we must modify our methods of outreach to HCPs.

 

Problems faced by leading companies

As a leader and pioneer of online contract MR remote detailing services for the healthcare industry, enTouch has been supporting various companies’ digital information delivery to HCPs, allowing enTouch to identify the barriers clients often face in developing remote detailing capabilities.

 

1) Easy to use, stable delivery system

 

2) Know-how to provide remote detailing more effectively

To ensure a positive experience for the doctor and to instill confidence in the MR so that he or she can focus on providing a high quality, effective detail, a stable IT platform is required, ideally a system specifically tailored to remote detailing. Moreover, MR users require training on such a system to feel confident in its use.

enTouch provides such a dedicated platform for remote detailing, that includes features such as full HCP recruitment tools, online conferencing, and BI tools to track progress of the remote program. In addition, enTouch provides a training and certification course for MRs who seek such training. Before receiving training, many MRs report a lack of confidence in engaging with doctors via online detailing.

Furthermore, there is a third major barrier that stands in the way in implementing a remote detailing channel.

 

3) How can I onboard HCPs to my new remote detailing service?

The following are some of the comments we hear from the MRs in the field:

"I've requested remote detailing, but I haven't received a response to my email request.”

“It is hard to do the remote detailing if I don’t get an inquiry from the doctor.”

“I'm having a hard time getting referrals because the only way to contact them is by phone or post.”

 

It is true that success rates of digital HCP recruitment to remote detailing (e.g., such as via e-mail, banner advertisement, etc.) are extremely low.

Based upon years of enTouch experience implementing such remote detailing programs, it is indisputable that the most reliable and effective way to guide physicians to remote detailing is from a personal introduction and request made face-to-face by a person the doctor already knows and trusts. It is also critical to book the first appointment on the spot, rather than sign them up for later email follow-up or by providing a flier for the doctor to sign him or herself up to the service. enTouch remote detailing platform was specially designed to aid field reps acquire reservations on the spot.

Moreover, as a further tool to solve this problem, enTouch has started a new service in collaboration with Toho Holdings. The new service allows enTouch to conduct HCP recruitment on behalf of our pharmaceutical clients using the resources of Toho’s Medical Specialist (MS) field-force.

The use of MS maintains the merit of "person-to-person referral" and enables rapid HCP recruitment on a nationwide scale. Already the first project in the field of derma cosmetics (medical cosmetics) has started and has achieved a great success.

The new service, its results, and future plans will be announced at a web conference to be held jointly by Toho Holding and enTouch in September.