As the healthcare market continues to shift from the pandemic and beyond, nobody fully has their healthcare provider (HCP) digital engagement strategy figured out yet. But one thing we do know is that digital content and new forms of engagement are here to stay. In the Healthcare Marketers Trend Report 2022 from MM&M, they continually note shifts towards digital materials.

In order to better understand exactly how COVID has disrupted HCP engagement, we surveyed a select group of our customers to find out a little bit more about how pharma marketers are pursuing digital HCP engagement in 2022. This real-time data is invaluable for pharmaceutical sales teams and marketers looking to stay current as new strategies take center stage.

From brand directors to senior managers, respondents gave us plenty of insight into how they’re engaging with HCPs right now, and how they plan to continue doing so in the future. Here are our key findings from the survey.

Has COVID actually impacted how pharma sales teams interact with HCPs?

We first wanted to understand the extent to which COVID has impacted pharma sales teams.

Has COVID actually impacted how pharma sales teams interact with HCPs?

66% of survey respondents agreed that the way their teams engage with HCPs has changed. They noted changes including more remote interactions with significantly decreased physical access to HCPs in hospitals, fewer live programs and sales calls allowed by HCOs, and burnout from online interaction. Additionally, the return to normal has been much slower than expected.

These responses indicate a shift in how pharma interacts with HCPs due to lingering impacts of the pandemic. Plus, it represents a shift towards using more digital tactics to engage HCPs effectively.

New challenges for pharma marketers post-COVID

As the industry continues to change, there are new challenges for pharma marketers and sales reps going forward. Of those surveyed, some of the biggest challenges mentioned for pharma commercial teams post-COVID include:

  • access to HCPs,
  • breaking through the clutter of email,
  • getting HCPs attention, and
  • identifying and providing relevant content to HCPs.

By understanding the new challenge of getting in front of HCPs, your team can proactively work around these issues before they start to affect business.

So how are pharma marketing teams going to engage in the future?

83% of respondents indicated that a blended approach, including face-to-face interaction and digital strategies, will be used in their HCP engagement strategy going forward. Since the pandemic has made it that much harder to actually get in front of HCPs, digital strategies for relaying information will continue to play a larger role in how pharma markets its medications to HCPs.

New strategies for interacting with HCPs

As we look forward, there are plenty of new strategies that will be useful in pursuing HCP digital engagement. Here’s a breakdown of digital engagement strategies along with the percentage of respondents who plan to use that strategy in the coming 12 months.

New strategies for interacting with HCPs

Interestingly, every single respondent to our survey indicated that they are planning on using new strategies to interact with HCPs going forward. Some approaches that respondents are most excited about include:

  • microsites,
  • webinars,
  • programmatic ad placement,
  • digital materials, and
  • virtual round tables.

These innovative new strategies will continue to work their way to the forefront of the industry as pharma sales reps look for new ways to interface with HCPs in the virtual world and marketing teams devise content to support them.

What data do you use to inform your HCP strategy?

In the healthcare industry, data informs everything we do. It’s no different for pharma sales and marketing teams. In our survey, we asked about what data is currently being used to craft new or modify existing HCP engagement strategies. Responses included:

  • industry surveys (like the one this article is about),
  • number of clicks and downloads for certain materials,
  • HCP paid market research, and
  • CRM and data purchases.

This data is integral to informing decisions on the best ways to interact with HCPs. If certain materials get a higher number of clicks, downloads, or interaction, be sure to use that strategy more. Every market will be different so be sure to change up your strategy when certain materials are not working. Use data and new strategies to find the right balance that puts your pharmaceutical sales teams in the best position to interface with HCPs.

The future of digital HCP engagement 

As the healthcare industry continues to evolve and change, so will the future of pharmaceutical sales reps and how they engage with HCPs. Make sure your pharma sales and marketing teams are leveraging all the innovative tools at their disposal to engage with HCPs.If you’re interested in more information, check out our blog on how to virtually engage with HCPs in today’s market. Plus, if there are new ways you’re engaging with HCPs not mentioned here please don’t hesitate to email us at hello@vodori.com. We’re always looking for new strategies to learn about and share.

At Vodori, we make it easy for life science companies to move fast–because healthcare can’t wait. We empower companies to move quickly with cloud software that is innovative, life-science focused, and delivered with an exceptional customer experience.