Transforming Oncology-Focused Engagements
Aleksandra Ilic, VP, Solutions & Offerings, Customer Engagement Center of Excellence, IQVIA
May 11, 2020

Oncology research is officially booming. Following decades of slow but steady progress, the past several years have been defined by a stream of clinical breakthroughs. New advances in personalized medicine and targeted therapies are transforming the standard of care, and significantly improving survival rates for patients around the world.

These innovations are also attracting a massive influx of investment and competition. According to IQVIA’s Global Oncology Trends 2019 report, the number of oncology clinical trials initiated in 2018 increased 27% over the previous year, and the pipeline of oncology drugs in late-stage development expanded 19%. This late-stage category included 711 companies, many of which are emerging biopharma companies, who now account for a larger proportion of the development pipeline than ever before.

And the growth shows no signs of stopping. The report predicts that U.S. spending on oncology therapeutic medicines will increase by 11–14% over the next five years. 

Targeting the right stakeholder at the right time

This is all good news for pharma companies with oncology portfolios who are eager to bring new therapies to market. However, the intense competition and payer scrutiny means you need highly targeted commercial plans that use real-time data to drive engagement, improve patient outcomes, and ensure the greatest returns for all stakeholders involved.

Current and future generations of oncology products target highly specific populations with therapies that must be timed to the exact needs of each patient. In many cases, providers may only treat a handful of these candidates, which mean early detection, education, and engagement with customers is critical to commercial success. 

Doing that requires a multi-tiered strategy based on capabilities to deliver insights efficiently, with speed and scale, to field teams working in truly collaborative fashion as they dynamically address  the needs of customers at the point of treatment decision-making, working through disease progression and supporting the patients through their treatment journey. The result is a differentiated oncology field team curating a high-quality and differentiated patient-centric customer engagement experience.

To achieve that level of impact, pharma companies can’t rely on boilerplate commercial efforts, or subpar tools. Traditional commercial methodologies -- and most of the technology platforms commercial teams use to build and deploy them nowadays -- are insufficient to accommodate the unique needs of providers and their patients.

New engagement needs require new technology approach

Unfortunately, the tools and data sets that commercial teams traditionally use are no longer sufficient to meet these goals and solve these acute oncology challenges. They tend to be fragmented, and not easily adaptable or scalable, leading to low adoption and large future technological debt. Their siloed data systems, and lack of account planning and support for seamless collaboration make it impossible to achieve a deeper understanding of each account. Having the right understanding which evaluates patient needs, account decision-makers and influencers, enables selection of appropriate tactics, thereby creating more meaningful engagement. However, most of these tools are cumbersome, making it difficult to accommodate new roles interacting at the account, and to manage increasingly complex coordination of different teams and initiatives.

As a result, pharma companies often make costly and time-consuming investments in commercial programs that result in generic, disjointed customer experiences that fail to deliver business results.

When pharma companies implement highly scalable, agile, and innovative platforms to integrate field force applications in a seamless manner, they can transform their commercial strategy and execution. It makes it easier for cross-functional roles to align, to strategically plan, to orchestrate activities, and to act on integrated insights, which can give them a competitive advantage over other teams in the field.

These cross-functional teams can use these new tools to:

  • Align and implement dynamic oncology-focused customer strategies to improve the stakeholder experience. 
  • Support adaptive and orchestrated strategic team account planning and just-in-time collaborative execution.
  • Embed predictive alerts such as those that proactively identify potential patients, locations with optimal patient diagnosis profiles, or claim adjudication issues, etc.
  • Educate the field force about the product, patients, physicians, and treatment landscape, to maximize every customer engagement opportunity.
  • Identify key opinion leaders and treating physicians, then create a multi-channel awareness and education campaign based on their preferred communication methods.
  • Provide structured data collection and analysis supporting profiling before, during, and after launch of products, indications, or campaigns.
  • Identify the next-best customer interaction, which channel to engage, the appropriate message and content to deliver, which study to suggest, etc.   

Pharma companies spend billions of dollars developing oncology treatments for a targeted patient population. To generate the most value from these drugs, you have to maximize the sales potential of every customer and patient. Using the right technology platform, real world data, and AI/ML to maximize engagement will give you the insights and agility to make that happen. 

What’s next?

In the ensuing whitepaper and blog series, we will explore the technologies and strategies that pharma companies can use to adapt their commercial strategies for the oncology marketplace. They include guidance on how to: 

  1. Empower with Customer-Centric Account Based Focus 
  2. Enable Orchestrated Engagement
  3. Differentiate with Near Real-time Insights
  4. Motivate through Data-Driven Decisions 
  5. Transform with Holistic and Innovative Solutions
If you would like to speak with any of our subject matter experts on these topics or explore IQVIA solutions, feel free to contact us.
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