Part 1: HCP Marketing: The real enemy is Time & poor Customer Experience

Summary: My last Linkedin entry spoke to the Omni-channel doctor. How did they become Omni-channel customers? What market forces have made them information-grazers? What can we do about it? There are many reasons – several of which I lay out here for discussion. This topic is complex and thus I am breaking it into several parts. This is Part 1.

Healthcare Professional marketing today? We’re in the age of No See, No Time, No idea what will work. If you are thinking of embracing Customer Experience as a holistic, grand and somewhat empathetic strategy, we need to understand that HCP’s are facing more difficult demands and challenges than ever before. What kinds? What does it mean?

This past few weeks, I attended presentations from ePocrates, Biopharmand Doximity. It was exciting to see all the new innovative ways to reach HCP’s. Having seen what Big Data tools likeDarkMatter2bd and Medikly can do to add deeper marketing Intelligence and I am even more amazed.

But what does all this market and customer intelligence tell us? While there are more ways to get to doctors, conversely they are harder to actually influence. People speak of the ubiquity of digital, the four-screen Doc. There is a squeeze play happening that we cannot ignore. Let’s look at their current reality and some recent reports that support why reaching and impacting HCP’s is so difficult.

Manhattan Research has repeatedly declared that when asked what HCP’s could use from Pharma Brands, it is practice support. But that’s the wrong answer to the wrong question.

The real need? Time. They have none. With each new guideline, EHR version 205, and burgeoning case-load, App-mania, formulary rules, they need 28 hours a day. not 24. For Pharma and Healthcare marketers, all these amazing media and data tools create the act of throwing more money on disparate tactics in the hope that one or more stick. Marketers are forced to interrupt, disrupt, do anything!

Just ponder these 4 market forces:

1. Practice dynamics: This year, only 35% of the respondents remained independent practice owners.*

2. Sales Rep lock-out: According to ZS Associates July 2014 Report on Sales Rep. access, the doors are closing to Sales Reps seeing doctors. They report the number of “No see” doctors was 23% in 2008 and has now jumped upwards to 49%. **

3. EHR’S: Once touted as time-savers, physicians in a recent survey reported losing an average of 48 minutes a day due to electronic health records.***

4. App-Mania: The number of Patient Apps out there exceeds 40,000; the gross majority of which have fewer than 500 downloads and 75% of which are abandoned after 3 months.****

Basically, doctor’s are not getting a break.

If you tie together private practices falling under the prescribing and satisfaction ratings of a hospital system, this also becomes a form of “No see.” You will not get your Brand drug on The List, except through contracting. It may look like a private practice but it’s not.

One possible solution: Long-term data is the best marketing strategy here. Phase IV Safety and Efficacy Trials need to be seriously integrated as part of the HCP marketing mix.

When you look at the EHR “revolution” and Meaningful Use 2, it seems that the game has changed forever — everyone walks around the hospital, clinic, office, carrying a laptop. Doctor’s are trained through patient observation. To see my doctor’s head bob up and down during a consult as he tries to look at me and type in data must be very frustrating to him/her. The poor EHR User Experience is often a major culprit in the doctor feeling as if they have lost valuable patient time to these new systems. Also lost is valuable time learning about a new treatment.

Once again, the tumult of their frustration has real marketing impact. By 2016, almost 50% of large hospitals will replace their current EHR, as reported by health IT research firm KLAS.***** As marketers, there has been a push to get into EHR’s — with intercept messages at prescribing moment, or adherence programs or savings cards. One marketer said to me recently they discouraged their client from spending too much on EHR’s by just showing them the interface they would be a part of: It was like a bad Escher painting — a classic poor User Experience. As marketers, we need to view EHR’s not as a media buy, but as a way to maximize a good User Experience.

(My idea of what an EHR interface must really look like.)

What is clear is that not all media that access doctors at point-of-care is worth spending on. True, what client wouldn’t say, “You can get my message into the exam room?” Yet, to be associated with a poor EHR to interrupt the doctor-patient moment with a sales message (even a co-pay!) could create negative impression by both association with a bad UX as well as the sanctity of the exam room. So, be careful!

Part 2 will be next week. The next post in this series on “HCP Marketing” will focus on App-mania.

If you would like to discuss this or any aspect of HCP Marketing, shoot me a note or call me at 215-688-7613.

*Manhattan Research: http://manhattanresearch.com/Research-Topics/Healthcare-Professional/Distributed-Service-Model

**ZS Associates. http://www.zsassociates.com/about/news-and-events/.VHD_4-oicV8.email

***The survey, which was conducted by Merritt Hawkins between March and June 2014, included responses from 20,088 physicians.

**** http://goo.gl/lHVwHr IMS Patient App Report, 2013.

*****http://www.klasresearch.com/