The recent Veeva Pulse Field Trends Report 2Q22[i] provided valuable insight into when, where and how field teams and healthcare professionals interact with the pharmaceutical industry representatives.
However, the global report didn’t’ offer any Australia-specific findings. To fill this gap, Inside Healthcare conducted a similar study among AusDoc’s extensive GP database to provide deeper insights into Australian GPs’ views on face-to-face and digital engagement with pharmaceutical reps.
How Australian GPs compare to Veeva study
Digital vs in-person engagement
The Veeva study revealed a roughly 70/30 mix of in-person to virtual engagement (video, chat or text, phone and email) globally and in APAC.
The biggest difference in Australia is the higher proportion of emails in the mix, reflecting the trend towards rep-triggered emails and broader email communication that gained momentum during COVID-19.
HCP ENGAGEMENT PER CHANNEL
|Veeva – Global||Veeva APAC||AusDoc Study[ii]|
|Text or Chat||1%||2%||1%|
Digital rep engagement in the future
The Veeva report referenced a BCG study whereby 75% of HCPs want to maintain or increase digital interaction with sales reps.[iii]
In contrast, this applies to only 62% of Australian GP respondents. Half want to stay about the same, and 11.4% want to increase. Moreover, 38% wish to reduce their level of digital engagement with pharma reps. But it’s not all bad news. Most respondents were neutral on the topic, suggesting a significant opportunity to leverage emerging digital channels and to improve the quality and timing of rep interactions.
The table below shows areas in which Australian pharma sales rep strategies are working and opportunities for improvement.
LEVEL OF AUSTRALIAN GPs’ SATISFACTION WITH PHARMA MARKETING CHANNELS
|Highly Dissatisfied||Dissatisfied||Neutral||Satisfied||Highly Satisfied|
|Video Conferencing / Calls||20.0||15.7||41.1||20.0||3.2|
|In-person – Arrive at the clinic to see doctors||16.5||14.9||28.7||32.5||7.5|
Something that came out strongly in the AusDoc study is that Australian GPs are more time-poor than ever. This means they may resent surprise phone calls, spam-type emails and unscheduled rep visits. On one level, this is a purely economic challenge, as any time away from patients during clinic hours harms earnings.
Notably, the high proportion of neutral answers shows significant ambivalence among Australian GPs.
One AusDoc respondent said they were looking for “useful information with minimal disruption to practice”. Another said: “Pre-arranged early-morning appointments or after-work events work best. But any unplanned communications that interrupt workflow are irritating.”
Another said that they need reps to set times for a visit, regardless of whether it is face-to-face or virtual. “We have a doctor shortage. I am under pressure. Don’t just arrive and expect to be seen.”
Another said they preferred receiving information “without seeing a representative face-to-face”.
Leveraging Omnichannel benefits
Where Australia aligns with the global experience is that the most successful companies are leveraging the benefits of pull models, where HCPs can reach out directly for information and even engage in two-way communication as part of the mix.
The fact is that doctors value informative promotional material from pharmaceutical companies. Still, they want to engage with it on their terms – on demand at a time and place that suits them. This is evidenced by the real-world experience of how GPs engage with AusDoc. As many as 74% of GPs engage with pharma content outside traditional hours – 41.9% after work, 14% before work and 11.3% on weekends.
The Veeva study and the corresponding insights from AusDoc readers show that doctors generally want to engage with the pharmaceutical industry. What’s changing is how and when they want to engage.
This creates several opportunities. One is to give doctors the ability to choose how often and when they want to see reps. Another is to reduce the risk of disrupting clinical time by allowing doctors to engage with promotional and educational material at a time and place that suits them. In short, the opportunity is less push and more pull.
We are here to help
Click the button below if you would like our digital engagement experts to explain how Access.PLUS and Rep.CONNECT can enhance your omnichannel marketing mix.
ADG’s Access.PLUS offers doctors a 24/7 opportunity to self-detail and engage with highly valuable pharmaceutical promotional and educational content in various formats; including video, written reports, electronic brochures and 2-way communication with reps or MSLs. This empowers doctors to engage on their terms in the trusted AusDoc environment
ADG’s new Rep.CONNECT in partnership with RxTro, gives the 50,000+ doctors who use AusDoc the ability to request a face-to-face or virtual visit from a pharma rep, seek additional drug information or request samples all from the one location. Most importantly, doctors are able to indicate when they are available for these interactions to take place.
[i] Veeva Pulse Field Trends Report: 2Q22
[ii] AusDoc Study: Have your say: Information sources for GPs in the new COVID world (Oct 2022), n = 244
[iii] Doctors’ Changing Expectations of Pharma Are Here to Stay’, BCG, September 2021