The pharmaceutical industry today is increasingly embracing various digital technologies for enhancing patient compliance, diagnostics, medical R&D, and more. Personalization is the mantra, given every patient with an affliction is unique given their genetic makeup, family history and lifestyle. In this context, digital tools can deliver the insights needed for near foolproof diagnosis and recovery.
As patients and doctors alike turn to online communities, and as apps and sensors monitor the daily impact of treatments, the industry now has access to an unprecedented volume and range of information with regard to drug safety and efficacy. Even the supply chain behind the scenes is undergoing digital transformation on a massive scale to meet agile 21st century expectations, and deliver real-time transparency on clinical trials.
Increasingly, health care professionals (HCP) are also turning to digital platforms for improving medical education and enhancing patient consultations or meetings with remote colleagues. Indeed, drug makers can bolster patient relationships, introduce new business models, and improve diagnostic execution with the adoption of digital tools. This will, in turn, help them personalize services, engage with patients better, and make treatments more immediate and effective.
In order to strengthen their digital transformation, pharma companies are thus adopting multichannel marketing efforts to make a bigger impact.
Digital tools never miss a beat
Pharma companies are especially adopting mobile apps that process patient-specific information and deliver a customized diagnosis, result and treatment to boost clinical decisions. Always-on digital devices can enable drug manufacturers to deduce which medicines work the best and how to get them to patients at the right time. In fact, technology giants such as Apple and IBM have also now entered the health care sector, and offer tools that engage with patients via apps, wearables, online portals, videos and more. IBM Watson Health claims the average person will generate more than one million GB–as much as 300 million books–of health-related data in their lifetime.
With rising pressure on pharma companies to manage costs and deliver better patient outcomes, digital tools can enable them to gain market access and price medicines efficiently. This also motivates them to deliver more than just pills; they deliver ecosystems that collect data and make recommendations to patients so the latter enjoy a better lifestyle. And, this can be done 24/7.
Patients can access their records at any time and across geographical borders, and interact with HCPs without being physically present with them. They are also getting empowered to interact with other patients via online communities, thereby boosting the virtual health care ecosystem. From a provider’s viewpoint, digital technologies can be harnessed to deliver better service and experience at each stage of patient interaction.
Compliance with IT is a must
For digital tools in the pharma industry to function well, efficient IT integration across the funnel is vital. Not only will this ensure compliance, it would also boost quality, product recall and other critical aspects of patient lifecycle management. Services like customer portals, video reps, e-sampling can improve process efficiency. Pharma companies should thus start viewing themselves no different than companies across other industries, and adopt similar models driven by data analytics and other next-generation technologies. They can even make rapid inroads in the realm of R&D by introducing real-time technology to track clinical trials, beside strengthening supply chains and managing inventory better.
Unfortunately, in the current scenario there is not much focus on visual appeal for customers as well. In an era where powerful visuals can differentiate between millions of available services, utilizing tools that study user behavior and preferences based on visuals can be critical for pharma companies. Excellent digital customer experience can impact quality costs, and deliver benefits such as discoverability, accessibility, performance, omni-channel experience and perception. All of this can benefit pharma companies significantly, and create the best patient experiences.
Power of insights-based marketing
Led by data, pharma companies can make the most optimal decisions for patients and deliver preventive therapies. They can thus focus on campaigns with low go-to-market costs and time, and use design thinking to integrate digital technologies that comply with regulatory requirements. Despite initial skepticism, pharma companies are increasingly open to adopt digital channels into their marketing and distribution mixes.
Business-led Centers of Excellence (CoEs) can also help pharma companies establish leadership as close to 82% of companies lack an effective digital testing strategy. Partnering with the right technology provider can offset costs as multiple channels also increase the point of failure by 10x times. Digital transformation can thus help pharma companies not just provide the right drugs at the right time, but also deliver education, lifestyle advice and emotional support to patients.
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