For a number of years, remote detailing has served life sciences companies well for supplementing face-to-face details and for reaching physicians in large geographical territories. That said, e-detailing has been viewed as a secondary – and viable – personal channel option. In a 2018 survey of life sciences companies, IQVIA found that just over half (54 percent) of respondents were using virtual interactions in some capacity or were considering doing so.
The COVID-19 pandemic has abruptly changed that as traditional in-person interactions have been halted with stay-at-home orders. Digital detailing has emerged as a logical and effective solution during the crisis –which I believe will persist after restrictions are eased. The COVID-19 pandemic is a catalyst that will drive more widespread and durable adoption of remote detailing; pharmaceutical companies that embrace remote detailing during the crisis will draw insights from their early usage that will shape longer-term leverage of this channel, well after face-to-face visits resume.
An Immediate Solution with Lasting Benefits
Within the first few weeks of the pandemic, a number of companies acted quickly to deploy remote interaction applications for their sales and medical functions. Commercial teams are finding that the solutions deliver:
- Business continuity. Organizations experienced minimal disruption to their call activities. Solutions including OCE Remote Detailing and IQVIA Remote Detailing can be deployed in a matter of days and reps trained in less time than it takes to watch a feature film.
- Improved productivity. Reps make efficient use of their calendars without spending time traveling and in waiting rooms. It is much easier to reschedule a remote appointment than an in-person meeting when a sales professional does not need to adjust for delays or driving distances.
- Focused content. A digital platform gives reps more time to prepare and deliver relevant information, combined with a pragmatic atmosphere of “getting down to business”. In fact, 93 percent of healthcare professionals (HCPs) have reported to IQVIA that they are satisfied or extremely satisfied with reps’ ability to be responsive to their needs during remote interactions. And, 95 percent rated the overall value of the online discussion as satisfying or extremely satisfying.
- Convenient for HCPs. HCPS appreciate the flexibility that remote detailing gives them to choose the time and place of the interaction – whether it’s squeezing in a detail during a break in their clinical duties or joining after hours. In the IQVIA survey, 76 percent of responding HCPs said that e-detailing fit into their schedules better than face-to-face visits, and 57 percent took part in remote discussions from home. 70 percent cited the primary benefit as the ability to reschedule meetings easily.
- Sales performance. 79 percent of participating HCPs in IQVIA’s survey expected their prescribing to increase following a remote call, and 44 percent felt that the interaction was even more effective than face-to-face meetings in shaping their behavior.
I think that accommodating COVID-19 restrictions will trigger more than just higher adoption of remote detailing as a digital means to conduct personal interactions. I see a larger opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to accelerate their multichannel strategies. Broad usage of remote detailing may prompt more investment in engaging content for closed-loop marketing, segmentations that target certain HCPs profiles for remote detailing versus face-to-face calls, and new approaches to customer journeys that systematically follow up remote interactions with email nurture or social campaigns.
Learn more about IQVIA remote detailing solutions as well as how IQVIA can help commercial organizations plan and implement multichannel engagement models HERE.