GHP October 2015

ghp October 2015 | 15 WHY. The high level design of the information flow of the pharmaceutical industry has changed from one of questions and answers, to one of context and evidence. In the past pharmaceutical sales represent- atives engaged with its customers to provide answers to questions. As technology increasingly advances, HCPs are lever- aging as “evidence” newly democratized healthcare information streams from digital sources such as WikiPedia, WebMD and Medscape. These customers are making self-directed decisions based on partial or biased information. Pharmaceutical sales repre- sentatives need high levels of context to unravel the self-derived conclusions that HCPs have made based on abundant, yet often incomplete or inaccurate online healthcare information. The challenge is not merely addressing this infor- mational inertia point-by-point, but rather gaining context about the HCP’s practice, priorities, history and strategy. It’s about the sales rep being the most important and trusted healthcare information stream the HCP has - towering in context and credibility over crowd-sourced digital streams of such as WikiPedia or WebMD. HOW TECH HELPS. Much like the HCP has access to new online streams of healthcare information, phar- maceutical sales representatives have new information streams as well. For example, some of these new information streams provide invaluable insights into an HCPs “ecosystem.” That ecosystem includes the HCPs’ preferences, practice attributes, patient popula- tions, influencers, payer interactions, provider/hospital relationships as well as accountable care organization (ACO) or integrated delivery network (IDN) affiliations. In addition, the pharmaceutical sales representative can place those ecosystem insights within the broader context of competitor brands, public sentiment, policy change and global issues. While HCPs leverage consumer technologies such as mobile devices, social networks and crowd wisdom to access healthcare information to make self-directed decisions and conclusions; information, insight and analytics vendors within the life sciences can leverage Big Data technologies and other sophisticated analytic tools to “arm the pharmaceutical sales representative” with enhanced context beyond the unstructured data of the democratized web. Savvy pharmaceutical sales representatives can share that augmented context with HCPs who lack access and time to curate it – advancing the trust and value of the relationship in the eyes of the customer. Technology provides the integration, synchronization, dissemination, and consumption of new information sources in near-real time to arm the pharmaceutical sales representative of the future with high levels of context about an HCP’s “ecosystem.” High Touch – issues surrounding healthcare access, delivery and outcomes will shift the pool of life sciences’ customers, requiring a higher touch from pharmaceutical sales representatives. WHAT. The complexity of market access to commer- cialize brands continues to increase with major shifts in payer and policy changes as well as the creation of ACO/IDN models within the U.S. and other parts of the world. Pharmaceutical sales representatives will increasingly need to engage with new stakeholders be- yond HCPs. They’ll need to develop skills and insights to interact with administrators in large organizations; decision makers on formulary committees or even policy makers. WHY. As healthcare access, delivery and reimburse- ment continue to evolve, the types of stakeholders and organizations influencing how doctors and patients access a brand are fundamentally changing as well. These new stakeholders such as administrators in large organizations or decision makers on formulary committees require the type of attention and engage- ment from pharmaceutical sales representatives that is different from what HCPs require. Administrators in large organizations or decision makers on formulary committees require an “account based” selling model with ongoing, connected “high touch” to an “ac- count,” instead of episodic and sometimes discon- nected “calls” to doctors. HOW TECH HELPS. In the same way that technology empowers pharmaceutical sales representatives to better understand HCPs via relevant data and tools, technology will also help the pharmaceutical sales representative better understand new non-HCP stakeholders with new information sets, and software to enable true account-based selling. The ability to be “high touch” is enabled by software systems that collect, synchronize and share information on multiple-channels across multiple-stakeholders across various locations. Software systems in sales, market- ing, and home office functions that are fully integrated will enable pharmaceutical sales representatives to “orchestrate” the high-touch engagement with new stakeholder. This concept of orchestrated customer engagement (OCE) will be driven by software systems that are designed from the ground up to enable high- touch, account-based selling models to new non-HCP stakeholders who will play increasingly larger roles across the healthcare decision matrix. Technology will enable Orchestrated Customer Engagement delivering high touch to new stakeholder types by brining sales, marketing and home office functions closer aligned across multiple channels and stakeholders. Ultimately, predictions regarding how and if the pharmaceutical sales force of the future will expand, contract or evolve into something yet unseen are sure to continue. However, we can see today that pharmaceutical sales representatives will have to adapt to demands for higher transparency, higher context and higher touch in the future. We can also see that advancing technology, analyt- ics and real-world data insights will help meet those demands. Visionary brands don’t need to wait for the future to decide their fate tomorrow, technology empowers them to dictate their future today. By Richie Etwaru, Chief Digital Officer of IMS Health. innovation & technology