BARCELONA, March 16th, 2018 – The 16th eyeforpharma in Barcelona, Spain, has given quite a lot of food for thought to many of its participants. Not that it hadn’t been anticipated – given the conference’s lasting reputation – but this year’s discussions have had a very special meaning. In one word: pharma’s digital transformation has reached a level mature enough that we can think of integrating the opportunities, not just exploring them. Viseven Group has contributed by showing in a practical workshop how holistic, integrated approaches can be applied to digital content management.

At the close of the year-defining pharma event, amid parting handshakes and snapshots of new acquaintances, we, as many, made sure to keep the brochures, later to reread them carefully. This year’s motto has been quite ambitious, and in case with eyeforpharma you can be quite sure you are not going to deal with mere buzzwords:

Where pharma becomes the solution

Solution for whom? To what? Are we talking about patients? Healthcare providers? Decision makers? Pharma’s working processes? It turns out, these solutions are intertwined in such a way that you can only solve them all at once. Hence, the call for integrated strategies, not just covering marketing but also patient empowerment, dialog and beyond-the-pill opportunities.

This is what tech has enabled to accomplish in several success cases, and this year’s eyeforpharma happened to be the platform to make the pioneering success cases into models for further development.

Patients haven’t been waiting for pharma – now the industry is catching up

As Christi Shaw of Lilly Bio Medicines unfolded the story of a patient struggling to get cancer medicine on time (red tape, etc.), it served as a perfect example of why exactly patients can’t – and don’t – wait to be provided solutions. They take action because for them, much more is at stake than just innovation for innovation’s sake.

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To be truly relevant to the patient audience, life sciences will now have to compete with the entire Internet, providing a range of scalable beyond-the-pill services. We are speaking of applications, content, information and social platforms.

How to compete, now? The answer is personalization. No two patients are alike, even when they happen to share diagnoses. By now, making patient-oriented content fit to provide truly personalized experiences has become mandatory.

Non-disruptive disruptions?

This is where Apple stepped into the spotlight, displaying a diabetes app built into a wristwatch. The whole point of this project is obviously the fact that patients get the control they deserve – but without having to disrupt their activities by plunging into their phones (or other devices).

This is a simple but profound idea – digital should disrupt outdated working processes in business, but instead get incorporated into customer experience.

The notion is particularly important in dealing with patient support. Google, being the ultimate go-to information provider for patients these days, reinforced the idea of “routinely digital experience” – and connections between all the parties involved.

Central knot in the bunch: professional-oriented content

As the industry is establishing more meaningful dialog with patients, one should not forget that pharma will never substitute the direct healthcare providers. In fact, becoming a working solution means, of all things first, addressing the physician. The calls to redefine what med reps are supposed to do have been heard, here and there, for a while now. Doctors need informational value, not just creative ads.

Paradoxically, the key part of being focused on the patient is, in fact, HCP centricity – a surprising but very strong point made by John Procter of IQVIA, in connections with integrated models that Salesforce have been working on. In brief, the general idea throughout the event is that the 3 main components:

  • patient centricity
  • physician engagement
  • digital transformation

– can only exist for the sake of each other and closely connected.

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So what’s with the reps? As Connectmedica’s Michal Komorniczak pointed out, the keyword is trust. Trust, in turn, is gained by value – which relies on the message the reps convey. Digital content they use is helpful to ensure the conversations are to the point. Supposing you have real-world evidence – this is potential value; to actualize it, reps need to shift from the old-school pure promo paradigm, and work with corresponding content and information.

Becoming an integrator

If pharma wants to provide real value, what is the precondition? Just understanding the customer: doctor, patient, caregiver. Rafael Ramon from Roche made the point: one just needs to listen, and not get consumed by the ideas of innovations per se.

At the same time, tech is even more crucial than ever. One of the most impressive presentations was given by Tim Cave of GSK – while totally supporting the idea that digital transformation is a derivative of customer centricity, he gave a good example of holism in pharma-to-physician communications. By integrating the multichannel mix, it has been possible to liberate individual rep interactions from the promotional agenda and allow for real value to be provided.

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The result is attainable with an interconnected combination of three channels:

  • F2F rep interactions
  • Virtual
  • Self-service.

As you can imagine, this list is going to be individual for each enterprise – for some, remote rep calls will be present, for others, email, etc. – the idea is that of integration.

To unwind the knot, pull the content string

The most practical models for making digital transformation resound with the actual needs of the audience arise on the ground of content management. This is something that is most keenly felt when dealing with digital pharma communications on a regular basis. For instance, GSK’s solution mentioned above is heavily reliant on content distribution across channels. But it’s the content itself that carries the value, no matter what the channel is.

We at Viseven can confirm this simply based on our own experience working with global companies. In essence, what you need to make a sound digital content strategy is

  1. integrate channels for consistent customer value (not just promotion)
  2. integrate regions and areas for consistent key messages
  3. manage the digital assets produced and make the best practices shareable throughout the organization.

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Leading specialists from Viseven Group have contributed to the practical part of the event by providing a workshop on multichannel content strategies. When you want to provide real value with content, of course, you will want to get all the minor issues with content production itself out of the way. It can be (and is) tricky when working in a multivendor environment where every agency has to be kept on the same page. At the same time, it is vital that processes like content reuse, adaptation and multichannel repurpose should never distort the value – or message – or even the deadlines in terms of time-to -market.

During the workshop, a number of ideas have been shared – and even newly generated – by the participants. Some of these are being kept for the nearest future, and some are being tried out – all of them individual in nature.

However, there is something available right now; our comprehensive solution for multichannel digital assets management, the eWizard platform with Global Store, has been developed as a response to the challenge of providing consistently high quality of content – by ensuring seamless integration with approval, validation, and medical/legal review systems in place, and communications between those working on the content.

In brief, it is pharma who chooses whether to survive the digital transformation or take a proactive stance. However, it is this latter option that truly makes pharma a solution.