The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the digital transformation in the pharmaceutical industry. Andrew Mar, Associate Director, HCP Marketing Biologics at Sun Pharmaceutical, says, “There are long-lasting changes that will come out of this pandemic. The ability to connect in-person will be challenged and the necessity for business travel will be heavily scrutinized. As we adopt technological advances in the way we reach our customers, the traditional way we do business will be forever changed.”
Health Care Professionals
One survey of 129 healthcare marketers found that 57% have moved their budget away from traditional areas like sales reps, mostly to expand digital investments. The use of in-person sales reps went down 6.5%, journal print ads went down 6.2% and the use of remote sales reps went up 25.6%. Obviously forced remote work due to the pandemic was a big driver of this, but it definitely accelerated a move that was being considered prior to the pandemic to adapt to HCP’s preference for digital contact.
HCPs also benefit from the ability to provide better treatment and more precise diagnosis due to more comprehensive medical history and diagnosis and treatment information that is easily attainable. The acceleration of remote treatment has reduced costs and empowered patients to participate actively in their treatment and healthcare.
The digital transformation in the pharmaceutical industry has created a variety of solutions for patients far beyond fitness wearables. The acceleration of remote monitoring through vitals trackers and smart implants like pacemakers feed relevant data to both doctors and their patients. Virtual Home Assistants that resolve medical queries and extend emotional support to patients as well as Personal Emergency Response Systems like alarms in the event of a fall or an Alzheimer’s breach of their geo-boundary give patients a digital independence and safety net they didn’t have before. Smart Pills or ingestible sensors offer a whole additional level of remote health care beneficial to both doctors and patients.
The Healthcare Industry’s digital challenge could be its best opportunity. The 2021 Accenture Digital Health Technology Vision Report suggests that the technology choices that healthcare organizations make today could impact their value proposition significantly in the near future. Restrictions due to an inflexible patchwork of legacy systems that don’t scale in response to demand have to be resolved. Digital analytics can provide deeper visibility into the crucial KPIs that matter for healthcare. Average hospital stay, ER wait times, hospital readmissions, patient satisfaction and financial metrics like number of claims denied and first pass yield indicate how successful various healthcare organizations can be in achieving their care and financial goals.
The fight against Covid-19 has given the pharmaceutical industry an injection of confidence about its ability to innovate and deliver and has burnished the industry’s image. Kevin LaWall, Global Commerical Leader at GlaxoSmithKline, says, “If we are willing to make the bet and go after it via a wartime-type effort with government and industry partnerships, it can be done. It just takes a lot of cooperation and different mindsets. And that’s fantastic for the industry.” Implementing this kind of flexibility and innovation in the digital transformation of the pharmaceutical industry will be almost as critical for the industry as the Covid-19 vaccine.