Research study shows how to better support and educate this crucial market
GPs are expected to stay up-to-date with the constant changes in medicine yet, with the myriad information available, they must still navigate and interrogate multiple sources to find what they need.
This information overload takes time away from the main source of GPs’ job satisfaction – their patients.
A survey of Australian GPs by Australian Doctor Group has found that doctors sometimes struggle to stay ahead of the game in a rapidly changing treatment landscape. They remain hungry for evidence-based information that is succinct, easy to digest, relevant, practical and timely.
So, when educating GPs about their products, how can pharma companies help GPs reconcile the conflict between patient care and information overload?
Here’s what the survey about GPs’ drug information needs has revealed:
- Doctors want to know what this medication can do for their patients
GPs are deeply patient-centric, applying a patient-minded lens in how they prioritise their time and the decisions they make.
By providing key information through the lens of patient care, pharma companies can focus on the key question GPs ask themselves about any product: “How does this benefit my patients?”.
GPs want to help patients to find the best solution for them. They take a holistic approach, considering treatment options from several angles, including finding economical solutions for their patients, where possible.
In short, GPs want to know:
- what are the risks/benefits?
- is this medication on the PBS?
- what will it cost?
- They want assurance that the data and detail are credible
GPs want to know that any claim is backed by strong research. On the other hand, GPs are generalists by definition, so they say that too much detail is draining to sift through.
To reach GPs, avoid a deep dive into technical details about your product but provide clearly signposted facts with clear messaging and simple imagery.
Again, a key question for GPs is: “What can this do for my patients?” so they appreciate case studies to help them apply theoretical data to daily practice.
However, do supply links to reference sources to enhance your product’s credentials for those who want to follow the evidence.
- GPs want help to align new information with existing knowledge
The GPs surveyed are highly invested in every aspect of what is best for their patients, but some GPs reported that pharma marketing materials or rep visits didn’t offer them anything new.
A successful tactic is to offer a better solution to patient concerns than they are currently recommending. Where possible, provide evidence-based comparisons between the new treatment you are marketing and the medications they already know and prescribe.
- Give them real-world evidence and prescribing scenarios
GPs will naturally apply any drug information you offer to their own patient population. They want to know: “What kind of patients need this drug?’ and “What are the right doses when I initiate it?”.
Consider offering patient profiling scenarios to paint a picture so GPs can see which of their patients would benefit from your product and share case studies whenever possible.
- And better ways to communicate with patients
The report found that GPs’ gratification from their job comes from longevity of patient care – being part of a patient’s complete health journey and forming strong relationships with individuals and their families. They are looking for ways to connect and communicate with their patients, so visual resources such as leaflets, brochures and wall charts that could be used as consultation props would be welcomed.
- Finally, make it easy for GPs to get free samples
Samples are a practical way for GPs to trial your product in a real-world situation and to evaluate how effective your product is. It also gives them the opportunity to offer a new solution for their patients where they may otherwise not consider initiating a new treatment.
- Stage I GP Research Study – Information needs of GPs (qualitative), 2019, The Lab on behalf of ADG
- Understanding the role of Pharmaceutical product samples in GP practice, ADG, August 2020, n=265