4 Ways Pharma AI Enhances Medication Delivery Methods

Whether it was from movies, books, or on the internet, you’ve most likely heard of therm “Artificial Intelligence” or AI.

Maybe you know if it as nothing more than just a buzzword, but trust us when we say it is much more than just that. Especially in the pharma industry.

In 2018, the global AI market in healthcare was about $1.4 billion and it is expected to grow to approximately $17.8 billion by 2025.

This expected growth in healthcare shows how much of an impact the technology can have in various areas within the industry and its importance going forward.

So, what are the ways AI can be used in pharma and your company? One of the most popular ways you’ve probably heard about is with assisting in drug discovery. However, that’s not the only way AI can make be beneficial for pharma companies.

TIP: If you’re interested in learning more about the other ways AI is beneficial to your pharma company other than with drug discovery, check out this blog we created!

Another major area where AI is beneficial is with being paired with drug delivery methods to enhance outcomes.

4 Ways AI Can Enhance Medication Delivery Methods

  • Precision Medicine: Takes genetics into account to diagnose/treat and physicians can more precisely foresee how well patients will respond to specific treatments.
  • Virtual Nurse Assistants: Has the ability to lower the number of hospital visits that are labeled as unnecessary. This technology can provide patients with 24/7 access to support and monitoring, as well as the ability to receive answers to questions they may have about their medications very quickly.
  • Robotic Surgery: With artificial intelligence, robots can use data from operations done in the past to make decisions on new surgical procedures.
  • Health Monitoring Apps: AI-enabled health monitoring apps support individual patients with a step-by-step guide through the patient journey and provide HCPs with the data to help guide them. Wearable devices are another form of digital health that can track heart rate, activity, sleeping patterns, and more.

Below is an infographic displaying 4 different ways pharma AI can enhance medication delivery methods:

pharma ai

Also, if you’d like to learn about our Artificial Intelligence built on a Microsoft platform and how the technology can strongly benefit your pharma company, contact us below for free!

Infographic: Why Pharma Sales Team Alignment Is Essential For Commercial Success

The emergence of digital technology is continuously changing how business is done in various industries, especially pharma. Ensuring your pharma sales team alignment is efficient and effective is essential for being commercially successful.

An effective sales pharma sales team alignment strategy helps pharma companies set the direction, have better communication, and boost sales team performance for better ROI.

Traditionally, to build and manage their sales territory alignment strategy, pharma companies would rely on paper-based methods which resulted in more risk, conflict, frustration, and a higher chance of disappointing results.

However, with modern-day resources such as digital technology, pharma companies can ensure their sales team alignment is as effective as possible with a low chance of risk and increased efficiency.

In this infographic, we highlight why automation and the implementation of advanced solutions can improve your pharma sales team alignment strategy.

Why Pharma Sales team alignment is essential for commercial success infographic.

Want to learn more about our Pharma Sales Operations solution or our Sales Operations Management service? Contact us below for FREE today and we would love to chat with you!

3 Things Pharma Companies Should Know About Territory Alignment

A key component of any company is sales. The product or service must be sold in order for the business to continue running their business.

Pharmaceutical companies aren’t immune to this requirement. This is why they run advertisements online, on the radio, on billboards, and on television. Yet, it’s not only individuals with conditions and diseases that they need to expose their product to.

Pharmaceutical companies also need to convince doctors that their drugs work and could be beneficial to patients. It’s for this reason that pharmaceutical representatives are sent out into the field, to speak with healthcare officials, and showcase the newest drug developments.

However, pharmaceutical companies don’t just hire representatives and let them loose to go to any doctor or hospital they can find. The company creates a territory for each representative. They’re told where to go and how often they should go.

This process is called Sales Territory Alignment.

This process is the most effective way to cover the most territory and ensure that doctors are communicated promptly. Also, it’s an excellent way to incentivize pharmaceutical sales representatives, the science, research, and the technology behind it that’s growing rapidly.

What Does Pharmaceutical Sales Territory Alignment Mean?

At its core, pharmaceutical sales territory alignment is an aligning process that assigns work to sales representatives according to either account listings or geographical areas.

Sometimes, the process is referred to by other names. Such as sales territory re-alignment, sales force alignment, sales force deployment, or sales territory design.

Male physician shaking hands with sales rep.

However, in order to optimize sales, pharmaceutical sales territory alignment has smaller benchmarks in order to reach this goal:

  • Allowing new products or organizational change to dictate territory modification.
  • Ensuring that there’s an equitable workload for all sales representatives.
  • Enabling the company to downsize, thus creating cost reductions.
  • Minimizing travel time for sales representatives.
  • Providing more consistent contact between doctors and sales representatives, which improves customer service.
  • More effectively matching sales representatives with customer types that match their abilities.
  • Establishing uniform incentive opportunities for all sales representatives.

The process of sales territory alignment must be redone on a regular basis because customers, products, trends, and sales representatives go through periods of adjustments and growth.

What Is Considered When Aligning Sales Territory?

Every pharmaceutical company does sales territory alignment in its own way. This is because, even though these companies sometimes sell similar drugs, they have different company needs, structures, and goals.

Most companies create their own territory alignment strategy through balancing factors like travel time, sales potential, and more.

Many companies also tie their territory alignment to their incentive compensation period, which is generally a quarter or a trimester.

By doing this, the territory alignment helps the pharmaceutical representatives see which doctors they need to visit. As well as, which ones will count toward earning a bonus in each incentive compensation period.

Meeting with sales men discussing analytics on a tablet.

Additionally, the pharmaceutical company needs to ensure that they do not waste the potential of any of its representatives by giving them too small of a territory or territory with too few customers. This is also true if the territory is too large or has too many customers.

There are the considerations of ensuring that no representative spends too much time in the car and that multiple representatives don’t have an overlap in territory.

Any of these mistakes both increases the cost of a sale and minimizes growth in revenue.

What Are the Methodologies for Pharmaceutical Sales Territory Alignment?

As previously stated, every pharmaceutical company will use a slightly different process for aligning their territories. The following are the most common methods and what exactly those methods entail:

sales-territory
  • Account Alignment:
    • With this methodology, geography does not matter. Representatives may live a short drive away from one doctor, while another doctor in their territory could require a plane flight to be reached.
    • Oftentimes, pharmaceutical companies will divide the accounts into specialties.
    • In other words, certain representatives will only see pediatricians, while others will only see cardiologists.
    • Allowing the representative to specialize in a specific drug or set of drugs and become more knowledgeable.
  • Geographic Alignment:
    • This is the most common type of alignment used in pharmaceutical companies because it can reduce travel time and travel expenses.
    • With this alignment, pharmaceutical representatives are assigned doctors based on where they are geographical.
    • Depending on how big the company is, how many representatives there are, and doctors needed to be seen, alignment could be grouped by anything from region, state, country, or postal code.
  • Geographic-Account Combination Alignment:
    • This alignment methodology involves a combination of the geographic alignment and the account alignment in order to get the best of both worlds.
    • The one downside of this process is that it can be much more complicated to create.
    • For example, it may give one representative all of the doctors in five adjoining postal codes, but make an exclusion of a handful of specialist doctors, who are given to another representative.

Therefore, perfectly aligning a pharmaceutical sales territory is complex and requires the company to keep in mind their sales goals, continuously collect sales data, and consistently review territories to ensure that best practices are in place. If you would like to learn more, contact us for free below!

Top 5 Pharma CRM Approach-to-HUB Services to Watch Out in 2018

HUB services have been around for about a decade now. In the past, pharma companies were beginning to recognize that there was more involved in bringing new drugs to the market than just getting the dosages into distribution channels.

In addition to more common concerns, pharma was experiencing more and more restrictions from payers. Particularly, from the Prior Authorization (PA) form. This was very time-consuming and had to be filled out ahead of time by the prescriber.

Therefore, the HUBs focused more on reimbursement and prescriber support. Initially run in-house, as the use of HUBs broadened “prescriber support” to “patient support,” third-party HUB service providers began to enter the market.

To date, this vertical industry shows no sign of slowing growth.  

The Culture of Pharma

Arranging R&D, commercial development, production, supply chain and even further disconnection from the stakeholder-facing parts that deal with regulators, policymakers, prescribers, and the end-consumer, is the culture in most pharma companies.

This culture is the primary obstacle to providing transparency, building relationships, and facilitating trust. The outsourcing of HUBs to third-party providers fit into this culture nicely. 

HUB Services in the Age of Patient Centricity

Healthcare is in the midst of a transformation from a provider-based to a patient-centric system.

Powerful forces from patient advocacy groups to policymakers, and the patient’s themselves, are working to ensure that standards of transparency, cost-reduction, results-based practices are met.

Deloitte identifies the following as the driving forces of patient-centricity in healthcare:

Patient- Centricity Healthcare

The aging population suffers from more chronic illnesses driving up costs.

  • Policymakers, pledging to reduce costs by requiring more significant evidence of effectiveness and cost comparisons.
  • Big data analytics and innovations like genomics are enabling faster diagnosis and precise treatment plans.
  • Boundaries between the patient, provider, and other participants are increasingly blurred as new collaborative relationships are formed.
  • Patients are more connected than ever. Their expectations of information and personalized care are growing.

Today’s consumers are more empowered than ever before to take part in their own care. They are demanding more access to information that’s relevant to their conditions and all available information regarding treatments.

Pharmaceutical companies answer to many stakeholders in a broad range of areas such as:

  • Pricing
  • Evidence of value
  • Types of drugs they develop
  • Return on research investment
  • Patient compliance
  • Patient satisfaction
Patient Hub Services

In 2016, Accenture released a report suggesting that while companies in both the United States and Europe were investing more into HUB services, there was still a glaring problem.

The majority of patients were unaware the services were available to them. Accenture predicted that digital channels would be useful to make sure that patients are aware of HUB services.

Accenture also pointed out that online platforms linking the patient, HUB provider, and prescribers together would provide a better experience for all concerned. However, that leaves a critical player out of the mix.

With the push towards results-based medicine and patient centricity, the ability to engage with the patient/consumer has never been more important.

Patient’s Mistrust of Pharma

From doctors to pharmacists, patients choose providers they trust and with whom they have built a relationship. When it comes to faceless drug manufacturers, there’s less control, little choice, and far less trust.

Patients generally go along with their doctor’s medication recommendations, but not without question. While this is true for patients of all ages, the mistrust is even more pronounced among the millennial generation.

Furthermore, millennials are less likely to trust and abide by their doctor’s orders than older generations.

Could better utilization and application of patient HUBs help pharma build real relationships and establish trust with patients?

In-House HUB Success

For pharma companies to successfully bring management of HUB services in-house, they need to work hard to improve efficiencies throughout.

Currently, the priority is toward the design and management of proprietary application programming interfaces (APIs).

This allows HUBs to work seamlessly, transferring massive amounts of data within a standalone portal. Aside from the technical investment, pharma companies must consider the necessary HUB requirements from at least three different perspectives:

hub-services
  • The Vendor: The most positive feature of providing HUB services internally is that you control all aspects of the client relationship. Of course, you do run the risk of jeopardizing turning out quality products, by trying to be all things to both patient and provider. This is the reason third-party providers were born in the first place.
  • The Client/Patient: It’s nice to have options. When vendors partner with service providers to create more streamlined HUBs, usability and experiences are improved.
  • The Prescriber: The strategy pharma uses may not matter as long as PAs are handled and patients are provided with financial support services such as copay assistance if indicated.

Rethinking the Approach to HUB Services: A Progressive Strategy

Of the most popular third-party HUB providers many are affiliated with or owned by other stakeholders like insurers, pharmacies, and health systems:

  • CareMetx – Walgreens
  • CoPilot Provider Support Services – CareMed
  • EnvoyHealth – Diplomat
  • Lash Group – Drug wholesaler, AmerisourceBergen
  • Omnicare Specialty Care Group – CVS
  • OptumRx – United Health
  • Opus Health – QuintilesIMS
  • Sonexus Health – Cardinal
  • Triplefin – Wholesaler, H. D. Smith
  • UBC – Express Scripts

A progressive strategy which incorporates third-party technology, management, and facilitation to allow better integration with various provider-based systems may have the best chance at success.

While improving patient experience is vital, developing a relationship and building trust can’t be overlooked.

Patient Care Experience

Third-party HUB service providers who happen to be supply chain stakeholders (such as the HUB service providers who are connected to pharmacies) may be more resistant to share valuable patient data and may wish to limit access to the patient. 

No Need to Reinvent the Wheel

It sounds like a lot of work, but think of it like this: Aren’t you already using similar technology to manage customer data and relationships through sales and marketing channels?

What if these same tools could be used to bring HUBs in-house?

By approaching HUB services as another arm of customer relationship management (CRM), pharma can utilize existing SaaS technologies to successfully integrate HUBs in-house.

At Prescriber360 we already have a handle on the workflows that exist in healthcare. Our systematic approach to data collection, analytics, and strategy not only supports sales and marketing but is also geared toward patient engagement and health outcome monitoring.

This is an increasingly important part of value-based care.