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The art and science of creating experiences that inform and inspire healthcare professionals

Natasha Cowan, Senior Corporate Communications Manager | 11/3/2023

Healthcare professionals are struggling to find the information they need to make the decisions that matter. By infusing scientific information with creativity and technology, brands can develop relevant and inspiring experiences that drive clarity, helping prescribers improve outcomes for their patients faster.

In the past decade, medical engagement has evolved from a brand-centric approach to a customer-centric approach. But while there is plenty of information that biopharmaceutical companies can and do provide to healthcare professionals, customer needs are often still not met.

For example, according to a recent survey on healthcare professional content preferences by Wiley and EMI Research Solution, which included 949 healthcare professionals from 141 countries:

  • 50% struggle to find information on a relevant or specific topic
  • 44% find it challenging to keep up with the latest medical developments
  • 41% struggle to find credible resources for information

Healthcare professionals struggle to access the educational content they need for several reasons. Not only are they time-poor, but the treatment landscape has become more crowded and complex. As treatments today are becoming more specialized, prescribers must navigate shifting data and an abundance of messages from competing companies.

Adding to the mix, siloed team structures and strict compliance barriers separating medical and promotional messages have led to Medical Affairs and Commercial teams spending time, money, and energy developing two separate experiences to engage the same customer. The result is two teams competing for the healthcare professional’s attention, making it more difficult for the customer to sift through the array of messages and find the valuable information they are looking for.

But it does not have to be this way. As Gary Lyons, Head of Medical Strategy at Avalere Health, explains: “Medical engagement is about taking healthcare professionals on a learning journey that keeps them engaged at every step. It’s about creating an experience that keeps the journey alive and encourages them to come back for more. To achieve this, we need Medical Affairs and Commercial teams to see a healthcare professional’s journey as having the same basis and following the same steps. This results in a unified customer journey, which optimizes how healthcare professionals engage with content, acquire new information, and draw experience from the company they are engaging with.”

The relentless pursuit of relevance

Innovative biopharmaceutical companies are creating small, agile teams dedicated to encouraging collaboration and bridging the activities between the Medical and Commercial departments. These cross-functional teams combine expertise in science, strategy, creativity, technology, media, and analytics to develop a single unified experience across touchpoints—one that unites credible, digestible, and clear medical information with empathetic and emotionally resonant storytelling.

Data and insights are at the core of developing impactful experiences that are relevant today and continue to be relevant over time. However, too often insights are collected by different teams and housed in siloed databases, meaning crucial information is lost and a holistic picture of the customer never truly forms. By working cross-functionally, Medical and Commercial teams can combine their insights to build a deeper view of the healthcare professional.

“Brands need to consider the total customer experience in relation to the product, disease education, services, and support a healthcare company offers its customers. The experience should address a collection of needs that include but are not limited to the strictly clinical, with the understanding that customers are whole people, living and working in broader communities, with all the needs, dynamics, and expectations that go along with that,” says Ryan Mason, Chief Marketing and Creative Officer at Avalere Health.

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