Free Swittons For Pharma Reps & Physicians During Pandemic Situations

Coronavirus spreading by handshake

We are dedicated to servicing the needs of our local and global communities in times of need. As a provider of remote technology, we are offering FREE Swittons (a P360 company) remote technology, so your pharmaceutical organization can maintain critical communication pathways with key physicians, especially in times of crisis.

Our Swittons device shown below is a smart device for pharma to distribute to physicians to facilitate remote communication, at the press of a button. In normal circumstances, the device augments the rich (and sometimes face-to-face) relationship between the rep and the healthcare provider.

In pandemic situations, devices such as Swittons can facilitate communication and ensure business continuity, while keeping your sales representatives out of the hot zones of hospitals and physician offices.

Swittons for the Coronavirus

During this time of global pandemic impact and protective travel restrictions, we are working to help key healthcare practitioners maintain communication with pharma, especially regarding critical therapeutic areas. This remote communication helps ensure the continuity of business.

We want to help by providing each interested pharma company with FREE Swittons for 3 months, to use with your top physicians. This will maintain consistency in business during these difficult times, and will also protect pharmaceutical staff from high-risk exposure and further propagation.

“Swittons is working to limit exposure risk to the Coronavirus and other pandemics by eliminating unnecessary visits to hospitals and other healthcare facilities,” said Swittons CEO and Founder Anupam Nandwana. “By automating the pharma to physician relationship, our goal is that professionals working in the field of pharmaceutical sciences will not be forced to risk their own health, and will not become a serious risk factor for the spread of the virus.” 

After the 3-month period, which we hope will resolve a pandemic situation, companies that have engaged Swittons can discontinue the platform with no additional charges. However, initial feedback regarding the Swittons program indicates the platform creates tangible value with or without a pandemic issue.

Please contact us if you would like more information about this initiative: info@swittons.com

State Laws Seek to Regulate Sales Rep & Physician Interactions

Physician talking to sales rep

How Some States are Limiting Sales Rep Access to Physicians

Many states, including Vermont, Maine, and Colorado, have passed laws that regulate how drug reps can market to prescribers. Many of these laws are centered around price transparency and comparisons to generics.

These state-mandated restrictions are on top of an outright ban on sales reps visits that many hospitals and health systems already have in place.

Vermont Has Led the Way on Sales Rep Regulations

For several years, Vermont has had laws in place that dictate how sales reps can interact with prescribers during in-person visits. Vermont’s pharmaceutical marketer price disclosure has led the way, with several other states following suit with similar laws. 

Vermont’s price disclosure law requires that when sales reps market a drug to prescribers, they must disclose:

  • The average wholesale price (AWP) per pill
  • The drug’s AWP in relation to other drugs in the same class

In addition, reps marketing to prescribers in Vermont must report any marketing related expenditures they incur. The distribution of drug samples, which has long been a staple of sales rep visits, is included in these expenditures.

Pharmaceutical companies who have expenditures of any amount over $0 must report their expenditures annually. Companies reporting expenditures must pay a $500 registration fee before each state-mandated reporting period. 

Hospital Multinational Doctors Looking On Laptop.

Maine Seeks Drug Price Transparency

On an annual basis, Maine plans to publicly report prescription drug prices. In order to make this transparency possible, the governor recently enacted several bills. Pharmaceutical companies will be required to report certain drug price increases.

Unlike Vermont, Maine is not requiring that drug reps communicate this price information when meeting with prescribers. Rather, price information will be shared on a publicly accessible website, where both doctors and patients can access the information.

This means physicians will have access to certain price information whether or not they meet with sales reps. For physicians who have price concerns or questions, this may decrease their desire and need to meet with sales reps.  

Northeastern States are Pushing for Drug Importation from Canada

That fact that Vermont and Maine are requiring more transparency about drug prices is no coincidence, as both states could easily import more affordable drugs from Canada. In fact, both Vermont and Maine have passed bills approving the importation of prescription drugs.

However, both states’ plans are in limbo as they await federal approval and guidance. If Vermont and Maine are able to import drugs from Canada, marketing from U.S. drug reps could become irrelevant. 

Colorado Also Looks at Wholesale Drug Costs

While nothing is on the books in Colorado to promote the importation of drugs, cost transparency laws have been enacted. The state has enacted its own laws requiring:

  • That the wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) must be disclosed by drug reps.
  • Reps must also disclose the names and WAC of three generic prescription drugs from the same therapeutic class, when such generics are available.  
Doctor and colleague looking at medical report and having a discussion

What is the Impact of these State Laws?

While these state laws don’t outright ban sales reps from visiting physicians, the requirements do put a significant burden on drug companies. Sales reps must be trained to act in accordance with the new laws, as well as adhere to record-keeping and reporting requirements.

This is in addition to the limitations hospitals and health systems are already placing on drug reps.

In-Person Meetings are Already on the Decline

For many physicians, the days of leisurely lunches with sales reps are over. Over the last year, there’s been a sharp decrease in the number of prescribers who are permitted to meet in-person with pharmaceutical reps. 

In 2017, just over half of all practices owned by hospitals and health systems banned drug reps from visiting their doctors. Also, across all specialties, 40% of all physicians were reportedly no longer meeting with sales reps according to Healthcare Finance.

There doesn’t seem to be any regional trends when it comes to physicians being permitted to meet with sales reps.

The top three states where drug reps still had the highest accessibility to prescribers in 2017 were scattered throughout the U.S.: New Jersey, North Dakota, and Mississippi. In those three states, between 69 and 72 percent of doctors were accessible by drug pharma reps.

Doctors Overwhelmingly Favor Brief Meetings

Policy & Medicine reports that physicians overwhelmingly favor brief interactions with drug reps.

85% of physicians in 2018 said their ideal interaction with a drug rep lasted no longer than five minutes

In a five-minute meeting, discussing wholesale acquisition costs will no doubt eat up precious marketing time.

Young chinese doctor woman showing a timeout gesture.

Alternatives to Face-to-Face Meetings

Drug companies must rely on alternatives to face-to-face meetings if they want to reach physicians who are banned from meeting with reps. 

The good news is that the majority of doctors, 79%, preferred an “e-detail” over an in-person visit in 2018.

While most prescribers said they preferred electronic communications with sales reps, very few have been engaging in it.

Only 12% of physicians reported engaging in any remote forms of communication, such as an email or a phone call in 2018.

Alternatives to the traditional face-to-face meeting remain an untapped strategy. 

However, technology is proving to be a double-edged sword. While digital resources may offer sales reps a loophole in marketing to prescribers, physicians are able to easily access information on their own.

A report published by Decisions Resources Group in 2019 found that 49% of physicians said they were able to answer drug-related questions on their own.

These physicians often turn to digital resources, claiming they “never had a question for a representative that they couldn’t find answers for online.”

Doctors are using a computer and discussing.

State Laws Add to an Already Rapidly Changing Landscape

Today, pharmaceutical companies face many obstacles when marketing directly to physicians. Recent state laws are only compounding barriers put in place by hospitals and health systems.

In addition, physicians’ own perceptions are quickly changing how they view and want to interact with sales reps. 

This restrictive climate is forcing pharmaceutical companies to look at alternative communication methods to fuel sales growth. It’s clear that pharmaceutical companies must change their approaches and strategies, as they are increasingly getting squeezed out of the picture.

For more information on how to stay relevant in this changing landscape, please contact us for free below! 

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!

5 Ways To Maximize Pharma Sales Call Effectiveness

With the growing number of physicians avoiding meeting in-person with industry representatives, pharma sales reps have their work cut out for them.

A decade ago, almost 80 percent of providers were accessible to pharma and biotech company reps.

Today, however, we are looking at a completely different picture.

In 2017, only 44% of HCPs were accessible to pharma and biotech company sales reps.

Traditionally, many reps could walk right into doctors offices and get 20-30 minutes with their customers. Those days, however, are long gone.

Today, the average amount of time spent in a sales call hovers around 1-3 minutes.

Male physician shaking hands with a female sales rep.

Not only is it more challenging to find prescribers who will see your representatives in-person, but those who may still be open to doing so drastically cut the amount of time they will devote to listening to a sales pitch.

The pressure has been mounting on the sales force to find ways to deliver results and meet company sales objectives in spite of increasing challenges.

Despite the difficulties present in getting in front of target customers, the sales force of pharma companies continues to be the front line of most commercial sales and marketing strategies.

According to research, 88% of the sales and marketing budget still goes to the sales force.

Unfortunately, organizations are paying more attention to ensuring maximum success from their pharma sales teams and are redefining the meaning of sales force excellence.

So, What is Pharma Sales Call Effectiveness?

Pharma sales call effectiveness is one of the most critical indicators of pharma sales performance.

What your sales reps do consistently in front of their customers and how well they deliver the company approved messages will have a significant impact on their sales performance and the results of the organization.

So, what can you do to improve the effectiveness of every pharma sales call delivered by your team to achieve greater commercial impact?

Female call representative on the phone.

1. Plan The Calls & Utilize Reports

Too often, pre-call planning falls by the wayside. Sales reps frequently overlook its importance and the incredible competitive advantage it can represent.

Time spent in front of customers is truly precious and largely limited. Companies that are looking to succeed in this competitive marketplace must ensure that their reps are adequately prepared to make the most of each customer interaction.

Walking into a pharma sales meeting unprepared results in disaster and the loss of opportunity, of course. Pharma sales reps must plan, think and act fast to maximize the 1-3 minutes they may have with their customers.

It’s not always about who can get to the finish line first, so teach your team to resist the temptation to jump out of the car and race their competitors to the door.

Explain to them the power that lies within pharma pre-call planning and what they need to do to master this fundamental skill.

The best way to achieve effective pre-call planning is by utilizing reports. Make sure your sales teams are equipped with quality reports to help them gain a better understanding of trends and physician preferences relating to their products’ therapeutic classes.

Having up-to-date reports readily available to your sales teams can be a real game-changer.

Innovative pharma analytics and data management solutions are designed to do that and more. Be sure to choose a platform that allows you to generate real-time results that are available from anywhere at any time.

One crucial consideration to make when deciding what reports to arm your sales teams with is to make sure the reports are like Goldilocks; Just right!

Some companies provide too much information which may be counterproductive as the massive amount of data is overwhelming for sales reps.

On the flip side, other pharma companies offer little to no data to their sales force, which can be equally frustrating.

So, by implementing the right pharma data analytics solution your pharma company can provide sales reps with actionable reports from large amounts of data.

Team member using advanced analytics on laptop.

2. Tailor The Approach To The Customer

Approaching prescribers the wrong way can be detrimental to the success of sales calls. Data dumping is a common mistake that new and sometimes experienced sales reps make when pressured by the lack of time.

Instead of delivering canned presentations that likely offer little to no value to the customer, it is essential to learn to establish a rapport to help put the customer at ease.

Showing genuine interest in the practice and the issues that the doctors face every day will help set your sales team apart from the competition!

Two men shaking hands concluding a meeting.

3. Bring New Information The Customer Doesn’t Already Know

There are only a few things that irritate doctors as much as hearing the same old information repeatedly.

While pharma sales reps understand the desire physicians have to learn about innovations and blockbuster drugs, they feel this expectation is impossible to meet.

Even though blockbuster drugs do not come around every day, encourage your reps to bring a sense of newness by exposing a new angle or by highlighting a unique point in a previously presented clinical study.

Capitalize on the extra attention your team gets from customers during product launches, as physicians are generally much more interested in learning about the latest advances.

Also, make sure your sales team has the most recent data and that it can be presented in an engaging format. Audiovisuals, such as videos have shown to increase information retention.

So, tap into technology to enhance client engagement and experience!

Businesswomen using tablet for advanced analytics.

4. Sell With The Patient In Mind

Successful pharma sales reps are masters at effectively conveying that they care more about patients than making a sale. Reps who are willing to go the extra mile and display their commitment to their customers are generally appreciated more.

Helping doctors empower their patients and increase patient compliance is highly valued by many doctors.

Teach your reps to think of all the different ways they can bring value to their customers’ practices and their patients. Providing patient education material is just one of the many ways!

5. Use Cutting Edge Technology

The truth is, the use of technology in pharma sales is not new. Tablets, iPad and other technological advances have been available to the sales forces of many large and small commercial pharma companies.

It is however also true, that even though utilized, technology isn’t used to its full potential.

An effective sales call means showing the right information, in the correct format and at the right time. It’s no longer sufficient to present old data on a reprint.

Technology can take the presentation to a higher level by making it more interesting. Showing a 90-second to 2-minute video, for example, is a powerful way to engage physicians and potentially extend the duration of the call.

Person using laptop and phone to access advanced analytics.

Boosting the effectiveness and efficiency of your pharma sales call strategy is key in succeeding commercially. Above, we went over the following that will help you maximize sales call effectiveness:

  1. Plan The Call & Utilize Reports
  2. Tailor The Approach To The Customer
  3. Bring New Information The Customer Doesn’t Know
  4. Sell With The Patient In Mind
  5. Use Cutting Edge Technology

Pharma companies that strive to improve sales call effectiveness understand the importance of maximizing time spent in front of customers.

They recognize that making the most of each sales call is crucial to help the company grow and achieve its sales objectives.

Technology can drastically improve the quality of sales calls by allowing your reps to prepare adequately for each interaction with their clients. A comprehensive pharma sales operations solution goes way beyond the sales call by streamlining the entire process from start to finish.

Also, if you’d like to learn more about our all-in-one pharma sales operations solution contact us below for free today!

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!

5 Ways To Drive Rx With Pharma Cloud Computing

Pharma companies have begun to realize that to stay competitive, they can no longer afford to conduct their business with traditional methods. A one-size-fits-all sales strategy no longer works!

Pricing pressures brought on by a plethora of healthcare reforms, intensifying competition, and a hostile regulatory environment have all contributed to the industry’s shrinking revenues.

To further complicate the situation, access to physicians has been progressively getting worse, making it far more complicated for pharma sales teams to get in front of HCPs and educate them in the process.

Approximately 50 percent of HCPs say they can imagine a world without sales reps. – BlueNovius

Industry analysts have pointed out that success in this rapidly changing environment is closely linked to the availability of high-quality, trusted data. Data is crucial to making better decisions and getting closer to customers.

Getting the right data in the hands of a well-trained sales teams can drastically improve pharma sales performance exponentially.

Pharma executives of top companies agree that becoming data-driven is key to success and that in the next 10-20 years, the most successful companies will be experts in using digital technology.

Person using cloud technology on tablet.

Cloud-Based Technology Is Changing The World Of Pharma Sales

Cloud computing has been around approximately 20 years, and several industries have embraced it since the beginning. So, what exactly is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is technology where the software is not installed on individual desktops; instead, it’s hosted on a web-based server, offering on-demand software availability.

The pharma and biotech industries were among the first to adopt cloud-based capabilities to equip their sales force with digital technology.

Data shows that about 81 percent of biotech and pharma companies have adopted cloud mail and core applications. Another 60 percent have brought on sales and marketing, human resources, and other applications.

From a pharma company’s perspective, the biggest benefits of using cloud computing are:

  • Sales reps can increase their effectiveness by accessing shared data stored remotely.
  • Working in the cloud allows your sales team to make use of mobile e-detailing tools.

Research shows that going cloud-based is a sound business investment that’s likely to yield a considerable ROI.

According to a Dell report, companies that invest in cloud technology, digital technology, security solutions, and data analytics solutions have their revenue increased by up to 53 percent faster than competitors uninterested in these various forms of technology.

Besides the impressive ROI, cloud-based systems are particularly attractive to pharma companies as they don’t require a massive upfront cost with their pay-as-you-go set-up, reasonably low equipment, installation, and maintenance costs.

Business man using tablet using cloud technology.

5 Ways Pharma Companies Can Benefit From Cloud Computing Solutions

By creating an integrated digital strategy and by making data safe, sound, and widely accessible, you will help empower your sales team to make better business decisions.

When done correctly, going cloud-based enables you to achieve precisely that. Here are some of the ways cloud-based technology can help propel your business and drive Rx:

1. Providing Quality Analytics

The performance of pharma sales teams relies on a CRM system to manage its daily operations. It’s crucial to provide your sales team with an easy to learn and flexible CRM platform that gives access to all critical market data.

Cloud-based systems allow you to provide your sales team with access to smart reports and dashboards that offer actionable insights, call activity, and sales data that your team needs to make informed decisions in the field.

Old data frustrates pharma sales reps and relying on them leads to missed opportunities. Real-time reporting that combines information from various sources will ultimately result in cost reduction and an overall more productive sales force.

Advanced analytics on a laptop placed on a desk.

2. Simple and Easy to Use Platform

Having access to a CRM platform both online and offline carries major advantages. An offline platform enables pharma sales reps during their sales calls to capture real-time information and interactions.

Receiving ongoing data input is vital to accurate analytics. A cloud-based CRM solution can drastically simplify customer relationships and business processes, as long as it offers a user-friendly interface and ease of CRM management.

In today’s rapidly developing high-tech environment, the ability to provide feedback from within the CRM application is a must-have.

Choose a platform that has a modern feel and user-friendly design to help engage sales reps and entice them to use the functionalities to its full capacity.

Laptop open with coffee next to it with advanced analytics on the screen.

3. Integrated Application

Do you have a system in place that allows for the integration of all your sales and marketing campaigns in a single application? Once again, a cloud-based CRM serves as a robust sales and marketing tool.

By doing so, it acts as a hub, driving follow-up communications with customers based on specific needs. Focused segmentation is essential for achieving pharma sales growth.

Cloud-based platforms make information accessible to anyone, from anywhere at any time. This is huge, as data is gathered and analyzed from a single location, combining the efforts of the whole organization as a team.

Tablet open showing secure cloud technology secure network.

4. Engaged Sales Teams

Cloud-based or not, acceptance by your sales team is vital for success. If your pharma sales reps aren’t willing to start incorporating the new tools into their daily routine, even the best technology will be worthless.

So why not ask your field reps about their level of satisfaction with the existing CRM features and functionalities? Why not get them involved in the early stages and get them excited about the upcoming upgrade?

Just imagine how much more smooth the roll-out will be with most of your sales force already on-board.

Explain the benefits of your new system to your representative and stress how the advanced features will make their life easier.

The goal is for your sales reps to be able to manage their daily activities without ever having to connect to the internet and be able to perform tasks effortlessly through a simplified workflow logic.

A smart sales force effectiveness system is an excellent tool for increasing the level of your sales team skills.

Team meeting with two business men shaking hands.

5. Stellar Execution

Explain to your sales team how technological advancements, such as cloud computing can help them build quality and long-lasting relationships with their customers.

For example, with a cloud-based CRM, your sales reps can receive prompts to tailor the sales messaging based on their customers’ responses.

An effective way to encourage your sales reps to demonstrate new behaviors is by adding the new requirements to their KPIs.

For instance, cloud-based technologies enable you to track how consistent your sales reps are with successfully delivering tailored messages to their key prescribers.

Businessman drawing on a board showing the connectivity of cloud technology.

Investing in cloud computing benefits pharma companies in multiple ways including:

  • Increased sales productivity.
  • Additional in-depth insight into the performance of sales teams, which in turn can help sales management intervene when necessary and improve sales team performance much faster.
  • Enhances the ability to segment customers more accurately, resulting in tailored communication and more effective message delivery.

The 5 ways cloud computing solutions benefit your pharma company that we mentioned above are:

  1. Providing Quality Analytics
  2. Simple Platform to Use
  3. Integrated Application
  4. Engaged Sales teams
  5. Stellar Execution

Also, if you’re interested in our Cloud Computing solution build on Microsoft’s Azure platform, you can contact us for free below!

4 Challenges With Managing Clinical Trials & How Technology Can Help

The skyrocketing costs of clinical research are likely the first issue that comes to mind when it comes to barriers to pharma companies’ R&D efforts.

In 2014, the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development found that clinical testing costs as much as $2.6 billion per drug; the cost of drug development has increased by 400% in less than two decades.

However, ongoing research challenges are affecting far more than pharma companies’ bottom lines. To name just one high-profile example:

Pfizer recently realized that patients taking one of their arthritis drugs might have reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s. While that seems like positive news, the company ultimately opted out of testing the correlation. This was due to the risks, difficulties, and cost of R&D not being worth the potential upside.

This case reveals a growing reality within the pharma industry – clinical trials are an essential step towards bringing new drugs to market and driving value, but they are facing increasingly pressing challenges, not only including costs but also:

  • Time: Also, the average testing process takes up to 14 years, so drugs may have only a couple of years on the market before they face generic competition.
  • Complexity: Increasing trial complexity influence both the cost and quality of the research. Testing drugs sometimes requires hundreds of sites, complex protocols, and the involvement of hundreds of highly qualified professionals.
  • Risk Management: Standardizing clinical trial processes to comply with regulations requires extensive planning and IT sophistication.

In situations like the one, Pfizer faced, everyone loses – the patients, who miss out on potentially life-saving treatments, the insurers, who have to pay more for drugs that cost more to produce, and the pharma companies, who have shrinking windows for patented drugs and who face R&D costs spiraling out of control.

Unpacking the specific barriers facing clinical trials – and how to overcome them using the most innovative solutions available – is key to meeting efficiency goals and continue to add value.

4 Challenges With Managing Clinical Trials & How Technology Can Help

Top Challenges Affecting Clinical Trials & How to Solve Them With Pharma Technology

1. Regulatory Barriers and Approval Delays

Given how tightly regulated the pharma industry is, meeting compliance obligations is unsurprisingly among the top challenges getting in the way of timely and cost-effective clinical trial completion.

Especially as trials move globally, they become increasingly constrained by their own complexity. The need to coordinate between multiple sites, partners, and vendors are becoming exceedingly challenging.

In a survey including pharma executives by ICON and pharma intelligence, 43 percent of respondents named regulatory approval delays as the most common challenge.

Even steps as fundamental as version control on consent form documentation can turn into major deviations from protocol – a regulatory disaster – if data isn’t correctly stored and organized.

In fact, more than one-third of clinical research spending goes to keeping trials compliant.

Organizing information using a CTMS software keeps track of all information from the beginning, standardizing your record-keeping and who is authorized to do what, and when.

Analytics tools not only keep you protected in an audit but also make delays less likely, as well as streamlining the entire approval process.

An effective CTMS software will keep track of anything from Sunshine Act reporting through consent form documentation, and make it easier to define investigator and support staff roles at a site-level.

These tools also centralize site activation mechanisms, making it possible to instantly share important records with stakeholders.

Once a trial is underway, record-keeping systems also help keep track of scheduled dates for ethics/IRB submissions and approvals, helping to keep study timelines on track.

Clinical trails

2. Site Selection & Recruitment

About 2 million patients participate in clinical trials every year, but to meet U.S. recruitment goals, 6 million patients would be needed. This reality causes delays or budget issues in as many as 90% of trials.

Recruiting and retaining enough participants to complete a trial is among the biggest sources of delays and trial failures.

Site selection is a critical first step to patient recruitment, and some of the most important parameters for site selection are patient access, infrastructure, and suitability for the given treatment type.

However, according to research done at Tufts, the number of PIs available to conduct research has consistently declined over the past several years.

This makes it more challenging – and more important – that pharma companies have the tools to identify available investigators who have the highest enrollment potential.

Artificial Intelligence or AI can draw operational data from previous trials to predict site performance in the future. Eventually, it may even be able to predict retention, trial success, and whether a drug will result in positive outcomes.

Today, however, using the right software makes it possible to re-use information from a site across multiple trials, reducing the time it takes to select and then initiate a site.

When the same patient population becomes known, these tools can also support increased engagement and better relationships over time.

Clinical Trials

3. Clinical Trial Site Management

Clinical trials have been growing increasingly complex for years.

As the complexity, geographic diversity, and rate of change in trials increases, it becomes more difficult to make decisions and identify potential issues in real-time.

Roles and responsibilities among staff members evolve quickly, and lack of visibility into data, as well as dealing with disparate data sources, makes it touch to respond quickly.

About two-thirds of clinical trial coordinators say they use manually compiled spreadsheets to make business decisions.

This leads to slower problem resolution and an inability to identify underperforming sites (leads to more delays).

Using a CTMS, you can easily generate reports on study progress, financial metrics, staff hours, enrollment goals, protocol deviations, and adverse events.

This software enables centralized monitoring, real-time reporting, rather than shuffling papers and trying to compare sites after the fact or in cumbersome ways.

Clinical Trials

4. Data Management

When trials are underway, ensuring that sites are well-monitored, and data is being accurately captured, is one of the most important priorities of trial management.

Ensuring patient perseverance and completion of the clinical trial protocol requires active data analysis and monitoring to track compliance, including monitoring of endpoint data, deviations, and any adverse events.

Doing this manually, as many pharma companies still are, leads to difficulty updating information quickly and aggregating data from multiple sources and across different systems platforms.

Lab results, imaging, and health records are difficult to integrate quickly, especially with site directors relying on manual spreadsheet methods.

Software for clinical data management has the advantage of instantly centralizing the information, making it accessible by key personnel quickly.

The right solution can integrate across disparate data sources in near real-time, enabling proactive response to SAEs/AEs and seamless monitoring of protocol compliance.

Data managers can also automate result reporting, making it easy to look for trends in patient responses sooner.

clinical trials

Traditional Methods of Clinical Trial Management Aren’t Working Anymore

In the past, clinical trial activities such as…

  • Patient Recruitment
  • Site Selection
  • Intervention Delivery
  • Compliance and Record-keeping
  • Data Collection
  • Etc.

…were all completed using paper-based, traditional methods.

Even though online tools have been available for record-keeping for over two decades, clinical trials have been slow to adopt them.

Today, less than 10 percent of clinical research professionals report having access to the software tools that enable automation of these initiatives.

This should be too much of a surprise given the long lifecycle of drug development being eclipsed by the evolution of digital tech and that pharma is such a regulated industry.

However, given how pressing the challenges currently facing clinical trial management are becoming, using modern tech solutions is the best – and possibly the only productive way to improve diverse areas of research, such as:

  • Overall study quality and validation
  • Risk-management protocol and risk-based monitoring
  • Centralizing of study data and monitoring
  • Site selection and management
  • Site Selection
  • Patient Recruitment and retention
  • CRO oversight
  • Time management

Tools like Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, and CTMS software all reduce the risk of extra cost and delays. Data analysis enabled by these technologies can also reduce overall expenditures and improve the efficiency of future studies.

Clinical trials require a balancing act of speed and delivery against the quality of data and processes to deliver the safest product. Often, the right software makes the difference in this balancing act.

If you’re interested in our CTMS solution for your clinical trials, contact us below for free and let’s chat about it!

6 Reasons Why Advanced Analytics Is Essential In Pharma

It’s no secret that technology has had a major impact not only on our daily activities, but also on businesses in almost every industry.

The pharma industry, in particular, has seen major changes throughout many operations due to the implementation of technology.

Technology such as Artificial Intelligence has improved drug discovery while Cloud Computing has proven to be very beneficial with communication and storing files.

However, another type of technology that has been proven to be very beneficial is commercial pharma analytics.

According to Market Research Future, the global commercial pharma analytics market is expected to reach about $9 million by 2027.

While statistics such as the one above show evidence that analytics in pharma is in popular demand going forward, some may wonder, how exactly can you benefit from this technology?

Below are 6 key reasons why commercial pharma analytics is beneficial:

Advanced analytics on a laptop.

1. Efficient Drug Development

Pharma analytics have proven to be extremely beneficial when being used for drug development. The process of drug development is long and costly, as it can take up to 10 years to develop a single drug while costing billions of dollars.

According to a report by Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, it can cost up to $2.6 billion to fully develop a drug.

Advanced analytics enables drug development to run efficiently and effectively by being able to identify potential drug candidates that have a high potential for success and develop them quickly.

Also, patient data can be used to identify connections and patterns that help develop precision medicine.

Large data-sets from numerous sources ranging from clinical trials to patient health records and insurance claims to develop drugs suited for different populations can be used.

Medication out of a pill on a table.

2. Optimize Clinical Trials

Pharma analytics can be used to successfully optimize the efficiency of clinical trials. Not only are clinical trials expensive, but they are also very time-consuming.

The average cost of clinical trials for approved drugs was reported to be $19 million by researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and it can even take up to 15 years to complete!

Using advanced analytics, you can reduce the costs of clinical trials and much less time-consuming by identifying the most appropriate patients to take part in the trial using various sources.

37% of clinical trials fail because they don’t have enough eligible patients.

The patients are vetted based on demographics, historical data, and complex criteria such as genetic makeup and individual characteristics. This way clinical trials can be run more efficiently and at a reduced cost.

Businesswoman using tablet and accessing different people.

3. Decision-Making

Decision-making is another area where advanced commercial pharma analytics can be very beneficial. As the trend towards data-driven decision-making gains momentum, it’s important for pharma companies to follow suit, or they’ll be left behind their competitors who are doing so!

With that being said, how can you possibly make the best decision if you’re not presented with the right options to choose from? That’s where pharma analytics come into play!

Pharma companies can use advanced analytics to attain insightful information on patients, market trends, and other relevant data to inform decision-making. They can make important decisions on drug development such as the type and amount of the drug to be developed.

Also, opportunities in the market can be identified and commercial activities can be monitored with pharma analytics. Prioritizing drugs is key and with this technology, you can establish the effectiveness of one drug compared to the other.

Combined with machine learning and artificial intelligence, advanced analytics help provide invaluable information that can make it much better for patients and improve health outcomes.

Many pharma companies embrace advanced analytics to improve decision-making with their budgeting.

You can use advanced analytics to identify areas in your supply chain that require improvements. It can be anything from streamlining the supply process to negotiating better rates and projecting future patient needs.

Remarkably, pharma analytics can help measure performance in relation to other competitors. The data obtained can be used to devise strategies to increase competitiveness and performance.

Female physician and female nurse discussing something on a tablet.

4. Cost Reduction

Advanced analytics provide you with the best resources and tools available to make the right decisions every time, which in the long run will save your pharma company a lot of money. Who wouldn’t want to save money?!

In an article by PA Consulting Group, a pharma client of theirs spent 75% of their sales efforts on tasks that weren’t viewed as a top 10 priority.

Spending valuable time on tasks that aren’t at the top of the list of priorities can result in wasted time and even increased costs! Thankfully, pharma analytics can help you choose the right tasks to complete in the correct order!

Pharma analytics not only can be used to reduce commercial costs, but clinical trials costs as well.

Implementing advanced analytics can reduce the cost of clinical trials by up to 15% according to McKinsey.

Making the right decision is a critical part of reducing costs. Advanced pharma analytics ensure you have the necessary tools presented in front of you to make the right decisions and increase efficiency and effectiveness.

Person putting money into a jar.

5. Increased Sales Growth

Sales growth is another key area where commercial pharma analytics can be very beneficial.

McKinsey Global Institute affirms that big data strategies have the potential to generate a value of $100 billion each year as a result of better decision-making, greater efficiency of clinical trials, and superior innovation.

You can use pharma analytics to identify opportunities in the market and capitalize on them. For example, using available data, you can determine patient populations that are undeserved and develop drugs for them.

According to a recent survey by WNS DecisionPoint, 71 percent of sales teams and 82 percent of marketing teams use analytics extensively.

6. Improving Collaboration

Traditionally, HCPs have been left out of patient health records. Pharmacists were only given pieces of paper with the required prescription.

This made it hard for HCPs to offer patients holistic and personalized care to the best of their ability.

However, with electronic health records (EHR), healthcare providers can collaborate to offer patients personalized care.

When HCPs have access to all of the patient information available, they can make more accurate recommendations on treatment options.

Also, pharma analytics provides better communication and collaboration between research groups, healthcare providers, insurers, regulators, and patients to offer patient-centric and additional care.

Person on their phone with their laptop open.

Making the decision to implement technology such as commercial pharma analytics is not an easy choice and we understand that! However, the benefits of this technology can elevate your pharma company to new levels!

To recap some of the benefits pharma analytics can provide your pharma company with, they are:

  • Efficient Drug Development
  • Optimize Clinical Trials
  • Assist in Decision-Making
  • Cost Reduction
  • Increased Sales Growth
  • Improved Collaboration

Also, if you’d like to learn more about our pharma analytics solution, contact us for free below!

Infographic: How AI Elevates The Pharma Industry

In the past, Artificial Intelligence (AI) may have been a fancy buzzword that was constantly heard around various industries. Now, however, the term carries much more meaning, especially in the pharma industry.

According to Accenture, 74% of pharma executives believe AI will result in significant improvement within the next three years.

While you may have heard how beneficial AI has proven to be when assisting with drug discovery, there are many other benefits to implementing this technology into your pharma company.

Whether it’s increased productivity or automated communication, the need for AI in pharma is becoming increasingly more clear as we move forward in this technology-driven era.

Below, we have created an infographic that highlights statistics displaying the need for AI in pharma as well as how AI is elevating the pharma industry.

Pharma AI Infographic

Also, if you’d like to learn more about our Artificial Intelligence technology, contact us below for free and we would love to talk with you about how we can implement the technology to enhance your pharma company!

C-Level Analytics Strategies with PowerBI – Insight from Microsoft MegaExpert: Belinda Allen

Belinda-Allen-Power-BI-Article-Pt-2-Feat-Image-768x432

We sat down with Microsoft PowerBI Certified MVP and executive strategist, Belinda Allen – where she shared her insight on how enterprise application of Power BI is revolutionalizing business strategies.

This is the first part of a series with Belinda, focusing on tangible, actionable Power BI integration at the enterprise and executive levels.

During each part of this series, we are sharing two tidbits that we asked Belinda:

What is your definition of the CEO-level value-proposition of using Power BI?

“With the implementation of Power BI, C-value executives will have access to real-time analytics and knowing what is happening in the moment without having to ask anyone to provide them with updates, without having to guess on their own, and more importantly – they are no longer looking at what has happened in the past, but they can now dig into what is happening in the present to make the best decisions for the future.

We live in a world where disparate systems are a reality, and they probably will be a reality going forward while line-level managers are leveraging data. So, being able to create reports that integrate the data from multiple sources on to one common place and looking at it in real-time is something that prior to the world of Power BI dashboards was not possible or it took a long time for people to prepare reports and send to C-level executives.

The ability to look at information and make decisions quickly to look for trends, tracking data, and starting to use other resources that are available within the Microsoft family that provide intelligence and machine learning built-in is beyond invaluable for the CEO. 

One of the biggest advantages of using Power BI is there’s a low cost to entry and high return on investment. So, the low cost of entry the product that is relatively easy to use for the person consuming reports and it’s very easy to share data. It’s all about the efficiency in getting data, nobody wants to sit and wait on what’s going on. We all expect everything instant in today’s technology era – and Power BI can deliver that.”

How does Power BI feed the strategies that help the executive management of an organization and make enterprise decisions?

“Being able to use sentiment analysis along with financial numbers is becoming more and more important. Sentiment analysis monitors what people are saying on social media and reviews that are left on websites such as Yelp and if they’re showing that they’re happy with your company or not. We are living in the here and now, so if you have a bad experience with a company, you’re most likely going to tweet about it and companies can now capitalize on this information with some of the tools that take sentiment analysis and do that. 

The same is true when they’re looking at their CRM systems, being able to monitor what’s going on. Times have definitely changed, you can now create a correlation between complaints about your company and the revenue decreasing. Let’s say you have a ton of complaints about product “B”, you may want to see if there have been new sales for that particular product and if there is any correlation there. We don’t know what we don’t know! We have a tendency as human beings to look for data that supports our theories. 

So, if we can do some analysis that takes us out of trying to build something that just supports our theories – which is what we’ve always done with tools such as Excel (creating files to prove a theory of why we are going in that direction we are headed in), we can instead look at what the data is telling us. Being able to be more fluent and go with the trends using Power BI and sentiment analysis is just invaluable.

Microsoft’s Power Platform is also very beneficial and it consists of three products – Power BI, Power Apps, and Flow. Power Apps is a mini-app building tool that enables you to create an app to use on your desktop or on your phone and it can be something very complex that a developer would build or something more straightforward. And you build those out using the single functioning formulas similar to the way you do an excel spreadsheet. So, if you’re comfortable with Excel, you can build your own apps inside of Power Apps. I bring this up because you then can take something built-in Power Apps and put it inside your Power BI report. Or you can take Power BI visuals and put them inside your Power App. 

Then you can take advantage of a third product called Flow. It’s an integration tool or workflow tool – it’s a way to bridge things together between multiple applications. Let’s say you are in Dynamics 365 and somebody has a problem with your company. After a case has been resolved in Dynamics 365, Microsoft Flow can automatically send out a form and if someone responds saying no they weren’t satisfied then new questions can appear so you can drill down on the issue and if it’s an open-ended question which I completely recommend then whether or not the answer was positive or negative can be tracked and analyzed, so you can really get to the heart of the matter.

In days past, we would have to read all of the comments/answers to get an idea of what’s going on, now, Microsoft machine learning has the ability to go through all of that text automatically and assign based on shift in tense, all capital letters, and other signs of negativity. You can have this tool go through social media comments, YouTube comments, blog comments, etc. Or, let’s say one of your employees creates an alert using Flow, and if that alert gets activated, then I want it to send an email to the CEO of the head of sales and maybe three other specific people and I want it to include a link to a specific report or visual – and you can do that automatically with Flow. You can even set parameters where if the number being analyzed is less than a certain value, the alert can only be sent to certain people. Or if it’s a value greater than you can send it to everybody.” 

We are proud to be a partner with Belinda to provide her insight into the C-level application of Power BI strategies, changing the methodology of business in the life sciences. Stay tuned for the next release of insight from Belinda. 

Belinda Allen is a Microsoft Certified PowerBI MVP and Gold Level Trainer, she is also the Business Intelligence Program Manager for PowerGP Online. She has excelled in assisting partners and customers to implement and create BI methodologies, enabling businesses like yours to make high-quality decisions based on real-time and accurate information. You can find out more at http://www.saci.com/.

If you would like to learn about our Data Analytics solution which includes Power BI technology and how it can help your Pharma company, click below!

8 Ways Cloud Computing Supports Pharma Marketing Operations

Everyone in the pharmaceutical industry wants to enhance and personalize patient engagement while also lowering costs and reducing the risk of the unknown when it comes to breaking into a new market.

But, where do you even start?

By properly supporting your marketing operations from the ground up. That’s where the magic with cloud computing comes in.

According to a report by HIMSS analytics survey, over 83 percent of pharmaceutical companies are already using cloud technology. On top of that, MarketsandMarkets reported that in 2015, healthcare companies spent about $3.75 billion on cloud technology. That number is expected to grow to about $9.5 billion by 2020.

Until recently, cloud computing had held a negative stigma within the healthcare community as being easy to hack. So, why are all of these companies not only eager to use cloud technology but also investing a ton of money into it?

The answer is that cloud computing has made leaps and bounds over the last few years and offers a huge opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to boost their marketing prowess.

What is Cloud Computing and Why Does It Matter?

Before diving into how cloud computing can support your marketing operations, we first need to understand what Cloud Computing is.

Cloud computing helps businesses be more efficient and save on software and hardware costs that are essential for basic marketing operations. Specifically, in pharma, it helps companies meet HIPAA Compliance Requirements.

Cloud computing has various definitions that depend on how it’s being used. Companies can use cloud computing to enhance their marketing technology capacity without adding costly software, personnel, investing in training, or setting up new infrastructure.

There are different types of cloud computing as well as…

Examples of proven cloud platforms that can help your company are Synoptek and Microsoft Azure

So, How Can Cloud Computing Support Pharma Marketing Operations?

As a marketer in the pharmaceutical industry, having direct access to your marketing and audience data anytime, anywhere is critical to maintaining a strong marketing strategy and supporting each campaign from the ground up.

Cloud computing makes this easy in 8 simple ways:

1. Access to Multi-Device Support 

There’s an overabundance of data available in the pharma industry. In fact, the pharma industry generates petabytes of data every second via multiple data streams, like R&D and CRM systems. When it comes to leveraging this data, the biggest problem is not knowing where to store all this data and how to access it after the fact.

Cloud computing allows marketers to store important data in a global network that can be accessed from anywhere in the world and from any device.

This, in turn, allows marketers in the pharmaceutical industry to function more efficiently where they are, instead of having to be in the office to access specific data. Multi-Device support allows for the simple exchange of information and also helps promote clinical trial recruitment.

Physician filling out a form.

Patients, physicians, and caregivers are being informed and influenced by pharma sales reps in person, via mobile devices, internet, apps, and social media. Virtual care from any device and platform is what is becoming more common. 

Patients are already using portals to access their medical records and to contact their physicians. Apps are also being used to fill scripts and start conversations between patients with the same disease online. 

2. Direct Access to Tons of Patient-Data Instantly 

According to a 2013 survey by Accenture, 45% of Chief Marketing Officers want their marketing employees to control data and content without any intervention. 

This begins with the ability to access data on their own terms, wherever they are! 

With cloud technology, marketers can easily access and share relevant files from anywhere, which improves collaboration and communication between the team and clients. 

As mentioned above, patient data is pouring in from everywhere, including social media, apps, fitness wearables, and the internet. Cloud computing ensures that pharma companies will never have to worry about accessing that data because it will all be there for the taking. 

With patients being much less dependent on doctors and more self-reliant with controlling their health, the way data is gathered has changed over the years. 

“In a survey, more than 85 percent of patients said they were confident in their ability to take responsibility for their health and knew how to access online resources to help them do so.” 

The more that patients access devices to control their health, the more data that can be accessed by your company using cloud computing. 

Patient injured at table looking at laptop for treatment options.

3. Maximize Cost Efficiency 

Implementing cloud computing into your pharma marketing operations is much more affordable than traditional methods. This is because you won’t have to spend excessive amounts of money and time on infrastructure, software, and hardware. The cloud is already out there, ready and waiting for your data.

All you need to do to get started is to pay the initial sign up fee for the subscription services of your choice. (We recommend Azure Cloud Software)

While costs are reduced through cloud computing, process efficiencies are also increased. Cloud computing creates an open channel of communication which will result in faster decision-making and more streamlined patient engagement and market access processes.

Having this type of awareness in real-time makes your marketing operations much more efficient and gives decision-makers a clear perspective to make informed decisions.

4. Increased Security 

In the past, security was a major problem with cloud technology and was a primary reason why pharma companies would stay far from it. However, with time and recent technological advancements, security has become what may be the biggest benefit of transitioning to the cloud.

Now, multiple layers of security are added to critical business data such as patient data and the information necessary for your marketing operations. Some would think that cyber hackers might have the same access, but the cloud shuts that idea down quickly.

Image showing security.

The cloud is secure by encrypting data to be transmitted over networks and placed in specific databases. This encryption not only keeps potential outside threats like cyber hackers out but also prohibits access by internal team members who do not have authorized access to the data.

Data such as contacts, sales tracking, patient information, content, and strategies are all heavily protected by the cloud, ensuring that your marketing operations remain safe and secure.

5. Increased Mobility 

Let’s all be honest, we are living in a mobile world, and our phones are often used for much more than just making phone calls or texting.

No matter how your business operates in the industry, the field never sleeps. Through cloud computing, your marketing operations team can access relevant information anywhere.

Especially, when your team may:

  • Travel frequently
  • Work remotely
  • Be aiming for a better work-life balance

Maybe your team has had a crazy busy day at the office and hasn’t been able to address existing deadlines or work through new problems. With the cloud, anybody on your team can continue working while accessing all of the same files and data at home, as if they were still at the office.

Thus, remaining productive.

Woman on her laptop and taking notes at a table.

A vital part of a successful marketing strategy is making sure that it’s streamlined and your team is never behind. The robust benefits of cloud computing ensure that your pharma marketing operations are keeping up with the continuously changing and heavily competitive pharma market.

6. Improved Analytics 

As a marketer in the pharma industry, are you familiar with the patient journey? If not, then fully understanding it should be at the top of your priorities!

Learning how patients can be guided through the patient journey and how to successfully do so is a major key to streamlining your marketing operations.

Advanced cloud analytics can help track and better guide patients through their journey.

More importantly, analytics can also help marketers gain a clear understanding of what matters most to your audience.

That way, pharma marketers can put together helpful content that not only catches the eye of the patient but also helps them address any issues or questions they may be having.

Now, the question becomes, how do you know what visitors to your website are looking for without asking? The answer is with analytics.

Below is a simple visualization of an example of how analytics can better prepare you with decision making.

This example is very simple but very accurate.

Let’s say two visitors go on to Microsoft’s website. One is looking for an Xbox video game console, and the other is looking for the Surface Pro laptop.

Analytics through the cloud can track where these visitors have clicked, and it will be able to be seen which visitors is which, based on what they have done during their experience on the website. Thus, specific content can be created and served up to those patients to guide them further in the patient journey.

7. Improved Communication 

The pharmaceutical industry is extremely complex and requires a ton of pre-communication before any decision can be made.

Before patients, healthcare providers, hospitals, or third-party companies in pharma spend any amount of money for anything; they are going to need to know for sure that their problems will be solved with what they are buying.

This is done by having an effective customer service system. Through the cloud, BPaaS (Business Process as a Service_ customer service system makes sure communication is continuously flowing.

This can be done by:

  • Collecting customer/patient data
  • Flagging common problems
  • Categorizing client service histories
  • Quickly sharing, filtering, and pushing solutions across various channels

Having an effective BPaaS service system can be a major game-changer for your pharma marketing operations, and how efficiently it’s run when issues come up or customers just need to be more informed.

Physician meeting with sales rep discussing over a tablet.

8. Optimizing Digital Media Spend 

Besides being incredibly common as a daily activity in people’s everyday lives, social media is a key contributor for business to reach a larger audience.

The primary mover in the digital marketing world tends to be through sponsored posts and paid media. However, this also brings up more questions than it answers.

Like…

  • How much do you spend on these posts?
  • Where do you focus these posts geographically?
  • How do you know how much to divide your posts among all the platforms?

These are all questions that a cloud-based BPaaS can answer.

BPaaS can assist CMOs by managing their marketing strategy on social media to make better decisions for spending effectiveness and ROI based on campaigning on certain platforms.

When deciding which platforms to campaign on, the pharma industry does better on the following channels:

The pharmaceutical industry is incredibly complex and competitive. Cloud computing is something that can give your company the edge over your competition. It can especially be beneficial for your marketing operations.

Here are the 8 ways cloud computing supports your pharma marketing operations as we have covered in this article:

  • Access to Multi-Device Support
  • Direct Access to Tons of Patient-Data Instantly
  • Reduced Cost Efficiency
  • Increased Security
  • Increased Mobility
  • Improved Analytics
  • Improved Communication
  • Optimize Social Media Spend

These are key ways that cloud computing can benefit your company. As more parts of the business in the pharma industry become digital, cloud computing will only increase in value.

As a pharma marketer, here’s what cloud computing can do for you:

  • Feel less stress
  • Have more time for other tasks that need your attention
  • See actual results from the work you’ve done
  • Feel more confident going forward with streamlined marketing operations

If you have any other input or comments that wasn’t stated above, please feel free to let us know in the comments! Or, if you’d like to learn more about how cloud computing can help you grow your marketing and your company, please contact us today for a complimentary consultation below.

How Pharma AI Benefits the Time to Market for New Drugs

Artificial Intelligence is a rising star – meteoric, actually – in most industries, including pharma. But, do you really know how pharma AI can affect your business?

Pharma artificial intelligence can help you drive revenue growth and operational efficiency by powering in-depth data mining and analytics, patient engagement, compliance monitoring, and making efforts. It can impact your R&D time and costs, too!

On average, successful drug research and development takes upward of ten years, and the clinical trials success rate is less than 12 percent according to estimates. That’s far too long and costly to result in profitable R&D operations.

Thankfully, you can leverage pharma AI to boost clinical success rates, cut costs, streamline and shorten the drug design, testing, and validation cycle.

A look at how AI transforms pharma company operations will help you make an informed decision if you haven’t adopted the technology yet. Perhaps, answers to the following questions will help see why AI can be a worthy investment:

  • What pharma processes or elements can AI impact?
  • What’s the role of machine learning in healthcare outcome monitoring?
  • How does AI impact pharma speed to market?
  • What’s the effect of AI in pharma sales productivity and revenue growth?

Let’s find answers by examining the most critical ways that pharma AI can affect the time to market for new drugs…

Let’s start with the good news:

1. Integrated Information Systems and Automated Big Data Mining Speeds Up Drug R&D

One of the most significant benefits of artificial intelligence in the pharma industry is rapid drug research and development.

It involves the use of machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL) algorithms, which “train” integrated computer systems to automatically extract and analyze massive chunks of raw genotypic and phenotypic data relevant to drug R&D.

The system streamlines and fast tracks the collection of big data from the Internet of Things (IoT) devices (such as wearable health monitoring gadgets), medical research journals, patient management software, and other public and private databases.

AI systems that gather R&D data automatically and relatively fast helps to shorten the medicine discovery time, which is longer with a human-centric effort. Pharma companies can increase their speed to market and gain a competitive edge by delivering new drugs to hospitals and patients comparatively fast, which results in turnover growth.

2. Accurate Predictive Pharma Analytics Help Boost Clinical Trials Success Rates

AI-driven pharma R&D delivers predictive analytics, enabling researchers to pinpoint with a high degree of accuracy the right compounds for manipulating diseases. It provides in-depth insights and data necessary to validate and test drug concepts as well as optimize treatment delivery methods.

It can cost up to $2B to research, iterate, test, perfect, and validate a drug concept. However, the cost can come down with the accurate prediction of drug candidates, which increases the probability of clinical trial success.

AI-powered analytics helps to eliminate trial and error in the drug discovery process, and this can reduce overall R&D costs as it allows pharma researchers to present more viable solutions for approval by the FDA most of the time.

3. Tracking Medication Adherence 

Low medication compliance rates among patients participating in a clinical trial can slow the drug R&D process. Likewise, the inability to monitor the extent to which each candidate is adhering to a prescribed drug can undermine the testing and validation phase.

Traditional health IT systems and human-centric approaches (such as requiring the patient to memorize their dosage) have not solved the non-adherence problem.

Patient taking medication in hospital.

AI can help track pharma compliance rates in several ways. For example, indigestible IoT sensors transmit adherence information to a centralized database, enabling pharma researchers to monitor and analyze drug usage against treatment results and side effects.

The technology can track critical biometrics in the patient, including blood pressure and glucose levels. It can pinpoint anomalous outcomes based on the intelligence gathered via machine learning.

Another approach is facial recognition software. It involves a patient recording themselves taking a drug, after which the AI algorithm analyzes the video to confirm that the right candidate took the pill.

4. Improvement of Treatment Outcomes by Virtual Collaboration and Coaching 

The success of any drug in the market depends on its ability to solve the intended healthcare problem. However, an otherwise appropriate medical solution may fail if the patient is not using it correctly out of ignorance, or certain lifestyle habits are hindering outcomes.

AI changes that.

A “smart” healthcare system can process natural language, and that makes it possible to “advise” patients in real-time in a language they understand, without necessarily involving a real, human doctor.

The system draws from vast amounts of healthcare data and medical records to provide highly personalized, evidence-based answers to questions that patients ask.

Businessman and businesswoman touching icon of digital screen

For example, robot-like assistants can help reinforce behavioral changes necessary for drug compliance and successful treatment. Advanced systems may also pose questions to patients, for example, to help understand why they’re skipping doses.

AI-powered IoT technology can then transmit the data to a pharma content management system for real-time monitoring. Improved treatment outcomes mean more business for pharma companies.

5. Streamlining Pharma Sales Process   

AI-powered pharma sales software can impact reps productivity and turnover in a big way. For instance, the tech can help study industry trends and customer preferences, such as the treatment options a particular practice or doctor prefers the most.

Businessman with headsets using computer in office at night

A sales team may use that intelligence in pre-calling planning to gather relevant promotional and informational material. Effective pre-meeting preparation increases the chances of converting leads to sales. It can help boost pharma revenue.

The advantages of pharma AI nutshell…

Pharma AI speeds up the drug R&D process, enabling companies to differentiate their products by delivering healthcare solutions to hospitals and patients faster than otherwise possible. It reduces R&D costs while boosting clinical trial success rates, which translates to increases profit margins for pharma businesses.

Integrating IoT and AI into patient management solutions helps to improve medication adherence and treatment outcomes, resulting in in-market success. The tech can also boost pharma sales productivity and revenue.

Now, for the bad news. There do happen to be a couple of slight detractors to using AI in the pharma industry:

1. Patients May Not Always Cooperate 

For pharma companies to monitor drug use and effects using AI-powered technology, participating patients must be willing to interact with the system consistently.

For example, a candidate may decline to ingest a biosensor or film themselves taking a pill. Without collecting vast amounts of consistent patient data, ML algorithms cannot “learn” and extract the intelligence necessary to help pharma researchers or providers to draw accurate conclusions on treatment outcomes or drug efficacy.

2. Incompatible Legacy Health IT Infrastructure 

The majority of current health IT systems do not naturally lend themselves to AI and big data mining applications.

With most of the healthcare data available in disparate, structured and unstructured sources, extracting in-depth insights for tasks like remote treatment outcome monitoring and patient engagement is usually difficult if not impossible.

As such, pharma companies have to develop (or acquire) interoperable health IT infrastructure before they can leverage AI to tap into data from diverse sources, and to extract predictive analytics/business intelligence, which enables them to make informed, real-time choices.

The fact of the matter is that presently, most healthcare systems are not AI-ready. 

Not all patients or healthcare facilities may adopt the interoperable AI infrastructure needed to supply pharma companies with large volumes of data for in-depth ML analytics.

Leverage AI to Boost Your Overall Pharma Business Efficiency (and Profits) 

Artificial intelligence in the pharmaceutical industry outperforms human-centric patient or customer data collection and analysis techniques. It’s a game-changing and product-differentiating piece of technology.

By incorporating AI into your pharma management system, you can increase business revenue and profit through enhanced speed to market, effective patient monitoring and compliance, and improved sales productivity. Contact us for free below and let’s chat!

5 Use Cases for Commercial Pharma AI Beyond Drug Discovery

Artificial Intelligence, or AI for short, has been one of those buzzwords that’s been circulating throughout the healthcare industry. Most recently, it has been widely considered to be extremely beneficial for drug discovery and in clinical trials.

However, that’s just a very small aspect of the total benefit that pharma AI can bring to the table for the pharma and biotech industries.

According to a study by Accenture, pharma AI can potentially create $150 billion in savings for the United States healthcare economy by 2026. 

Constantly hearing about the incredible benefits of AI while still not fully understanding what it can do and how it can help can be very frustrating and often deter companies from embracing it.

Artificial intelligence business man.

Before we dive into AI and its benefits, let’s briefly go over its definition:

AI consists of various computer systems and predefined algorithms with the ability to perform tasks that normally require advanced human intelligence. 

Some of these tasks include:

  • Visual Perception
  • Speech Recognition
  • Decision-Making
  • Translation Between Languages

The idea of “human versus machine” has been replaced with “human + machine” and if that just piqued your interest, it should. Pharma AI has entered the beginning of a golden age, and it is expanding into everything from manufacturing to marketing trends.

You may have wondered how patients feel about receiving AI-enabled healthcare?

54% of patients are willing to receive AI-enabled care. 

With over half of patients in favor of AI-enabled healthcare, it shows how far AI has already come in the pharma industry.

Now, will incorporating AI alone suddenly result in millions in revenue right away.

No. 

However, when AI is paired with the right tools and platforms such as Microsoft’s Cortana Intelligence Suite and pharma-specific solutions, the results will begin to show quickly.

Woman looking at a medical interface in the hospital

So, How Can Commercial Pharma AI Be Used Beyond Drug Discovery 

1. Targeted Content Delivery in Marketing

The pharma industry has come a long way since the traditional methods of marketing blockbuster drugs, thanks in large part to the integration of AI and other state-of-the-art technology.

With the addition of pharma AI, huge amounts of raw data can be collected, sorted, and interpreted in real-time. Due to this, pharma AI has the ability to improve your commercialization in some key ways:

  • Marketing Strategies
  • Product Launch
  • Product Value Proposition
  • Customer Engagement

In the past, general marketing strategies have worked because the drugs that they were selling had an impact on a large population of patients all at once, otherwise known as blockbuster drugs.

Now, with the rise of a more patient-centric approach within the industry, pharma companies need to market in a more targeted and specific way.

Unfortunately, the traditional pharma marketing systems can no longer be successful in this new pharma because they’re both sluggish and inaccurate.

With pharma AI, on the other hand, pharma companies can aggregate, process, and convert massive amounts of unstructured and difficult to manage data sources to gain rich insight into how consumers are making decisions.

By implementing the right algorithms paired with a powerful analytics solution, data can not only be accessed but can also be used to precisely target consumers who are most in need of your product or service.

“Using data intelligently to power go-to-market strategies has to be a priority if commercial teams want to stay ahead of the competition and increase both their REACH and their PRECISION.” – Dr. Dolores Baksh, GE Healthcare Life Sciences

Success in pharma marketing often requires a lot of complex decision-making, which can get overwhelming and stressful very quickly. Thankfully, pharma AI can provide your company with data analytics to reduce stress, save time, and deliver high-quality results!

“AI-powered analytics is perfect for pharma marketing departments because it can undertake large volumes of complex decisions by going through data-sets at a high degree of accuracy.” – Sudeep Pattnaik, CEO, ThoughtSpace 

The end result is a solid marketing foundation that allows you to target the right consumers or population leading to a better commercialization and pharma marketing strategy.

Doctor using phone and laptop for marketing.

2. Manufacturing Optimization 

You’re probably familiar with the old saying, “everybody makes mistakes.” Well, what if we can change that to, “Artificial intelligence DOESN’T make mistakes,” at least when speaking about pharma manufacturing.

Why is pharma manufacturing optimization so important?

The process to fully develop and test a new drug can cost up to $2.7 billion. 

Of course, not all of that money is spent in the manufacturing stage of drug development.

The various studies that need to be conducted in order to bring the drug to market constitute about $10 million to $2 billion of the total amount, but here’s the kicker…

90% of drugs that begin testing in humans don’t reach the market because they are either UNSAFE or INEFFECTIVE. 

So, errors in manufacturing could not only hit you at an unexpected time, but they can also be extremely costly. That’s where pharma AI comes into play.

Using predictive analytics, AI and Machine Learning (ML) can predict and prevent:

  • Under-demand
  • Over-demand
  • Supply chain problems.
  • Production line failures.
  • And more!!

With that being said, how exactly can AI and ML do this?

Well, instead of humans sifting through the massive amounts of raw data for hours looking for anomalies, AI and ML can do it much more quickly, efficiently, and accurately at a lower cost.

Pharma AI can be beneficial to your company’s manufacturing sector by providing:

  • Increased speed.
  • Increased precision.
  • Enhanced employee safety.
medical pills industry factory and production indoor

3. Discovering and Evaluating Pharma Market Trends 

The last thing that any pharma company wants to worry about is being the last to know about an emerging trend in the market.

Being the last to know could set your company and product development far behind your competition and you’ll end up playing catch-up.

Traditionally, the best ways to discover emerging market trends were networking, website researching, and sifting through professional studies.

However, in the current technical age, pharma AI helps your company be the first to know about an emerging trend before it happens, giving you plenty of time to plan and execute.

Applications of AI such as ML and Deep Learning (DL) have the ability to analyze large amounts of data to make sure you are the first to witness any potential market trends.

By following a programmed algorithm, these applications of AI can quickly dig through these large data-sets. This would take much longer for humans to do.

The word “analyze” doesn’t quite fully define the magnitude of automated work that will be done for your pharma company using pharma AI. Instead, the term “dynamic understanding” more effectively describes the capabilities of AI and ML-enabled processes.

ML can provide your company with a dynamic understanding of the entire market in real-time, providing the best results.

After the data is produced, your company can benefit from being fully aware of the following:

  • Market Size.
  • Patient Segmentation.
  • Targeting.
  • Provider Segmentation.
  • Payer Segmentation.
  • Messaging.
  • Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR) activities.
Image of businesspeople at presentation looking at virtual project

4. Prescriber Segmentation 

As the pharma industry becomes increasingly more patient-centric, the way pharma companies create and commercialize drugs are becoming more prescriber specific.

In 2016, there were 4.45 billion prescriptions written throughout all of the United States. 

Based on that statistic alone, can you even imagine how long it would take to sort through all of the data involved for each individual prescriber? It would simply take forever!

Pharma AI helps you and your team free up time typically spent on more mundane or administrative tasks to instead focus on tasks that lend themselves to the company’s long-term goals.

For example, some types of data that pharma AI can generate efficiently are:

  • Therapy starts, changes, and add-on prescriptions.
  • Compliance and persistence.
  • Managed care access for the brand.
  • Group practice affiliation.

For instance, let’s say you want to segment prescribers into the following groups:

  • Promotion
  • Payer
  • Product
  • Patient

By leveraging pre-programmed AI algorithms to calculate large data-sets, you can create more specific groups for the four segmentations above. Let’s say two of the more specific groups are “Price-driven” and “Range of communication.”

A study that conducted similar prescriber segmentation discovered that 71% of prescribers were more specific with how they would like to be contacted, while only 29% of prescribers had a larger range of communication preferences.

Traditionally, finding this would not only take a ton of time, but it would also require significant resources to pull off within a reasonable timeframe. So, why spend all the time and resources on a task that can be done much more quickly and efficiently with AI?

Symbol of social network with people images-1

5. Chatbots

A research firm, Gartner, predicts that chatbots will handle 85% of customer service issues by 2020 and 40% of patients won’t mind talking to a chatbot as long as the information is accurate.

When people think of chatbots, they only think of the little pop-ups that come up at the bottom of the screen of websites. With the integration of AI, chatbots can be expanded in multiple ways that make your job easier and the experience much better for your consumers.

First, let’s briefly go over how AI-enabled chatbots can benefit your pharma company’s website since it is the most common understanding of the technology.

You can’t always be there to respond to every website visitor all day and every day. However, AI-enabled chatbots can help bridge the gap by providing basic information to visitors on your website and social media when they need it.

According to a State of Chatbots report in 2018, 64% of website visitors expect 24-hour chatbot customer service while 55% of website visitors expect instant responses. 

Plus, by incorporating certain algorithms into ML-enabled chatbots, insights from every conversation can instantly be learned and processed to ensure that a more human-like response is given with every encounter.

This way, you’re giving the user EXACTLY what they want. A response that is accurate, compliant, quick, and available 24/7, 365 days a year!

So, what are other ways chatbots implemented with AI can be beneficial for your pharma company?

  • Track patients after discharge.
  • Check on patients with chronic diseases.
  • Track clinical trial participants.
  • Help users find and talk to doctors.

AI-driven chatbots can also be beneficial when developed around a specific treatment option. This would allow physicians or patients to get information that is relative to their needs for either prescribing or starting treatment. This includes the ability to access:

  • Adverse Events
  • Tolerability
  • Dosing
  • Efficacy
  • Financial Resources
  • And more!

It’s clear that incorporating AI-powered chatbots into your pharma company can save time while also ensuring that website visitors, patients, and prescribers are all getting accurate information very quickly!

Business person working on computer against technology background

Pharma AI saves time and money so you can focus on tasks that drive long-term success.

By integrating pharma AI solutions into your company operations, you will reap benefits far beyond drug discovery and development.

While many of these benefits will take some time to manifest, you will see an increase in production, efficiency, and reduced cost progress over time, all with minimal involvement on your part.

1. Targeted Content Delivery Marketing

2. Manufacturing Optimization 

3. Discovering and Evaluating Pharma Market Trends

4. Prescriber Segmentation 

5. Chatbots 

Applications of AI such as ML, DL, and Predictive Analytics are being incorporated into pharma operations every single day with great, lasting results.

How will your company leverage the power of artificial intelligence to provide better products, services, and support to your audience?

Want to learn more about pharma AI? Or, curious about our artificial intelligence pharma solution built on Microsoft platforms? Get in touch with us for free today by clicking below!

7 Top Technology Trends Shaping the Future of the Pharma Industry

Every industry is changing at a more rapid pace. Products and services are becoming increasingly commercialized. Technology is playing a progressively bigger role in research and development, marketing and advertising, and sales and distribution.

The pharmaceutical sector is one that has felt this transformation in research and development over the past few years and will start to feel it in the other divisions over the next decade.

Here are a few of the trends that will shape the pharmaceutical industry over the next ten years:

Artificial Intelligence

It’s very likely that within the next decade, humans will no longer be pharmaceutical test subjects. Instead, cognitive computers will be used in biotechnology and genomic research.

Rather than it taking months to see the effect of a particular drug on thousands of people, it will take seconds to see the effect of thousands of drugs on billions of simulations of the human body’s physiology.

Artificial Intelligence

In fact, there’s already one supercomputer program, Atomwise. This program has been used for similar purposes. It has the ability to search through existing medicines that could be re-purposed to more effectively treat diseases.

This type of molecular structure search and analysis would normally take months, if not years. In 2015, Atomwise identified two drugs in less than 24 hours, that could reduce Ebola’s infectiousness.

Digitization of Medicine

Every company, in every industry, is coming to the realization that a product or service isn’t enough. A complete package must be offered and this package should be digitally friendly.

In the pharmaceutical industry, this trend is growing so quickly that there’s a name for it, ‘Around the pill’ digital offerings. These offerings include everything from digital health apps to services and devices that can be bundled with the prescription.

As this grows in popularity, it will prove to be a game-changer when it comes to pharmaceutical marketing and advertising, as well as distribution.

Body Sensors

Body sensors are a new technology that’s currently still in clinical trials. These sensors can either be placed on the body or inside of it. They measure various critical vital signs.

body-sensors

One sensor that’s already being used is a digestible sensor. These are sensors that are inside of the pill and track both the drug being digested and how well the drug is being absorbed into the body.

It has been seen to be especially effective in overseeing prescription adherence with schizophrenia, major depressive disorders, and bipolar I disorder.

3D-Printing

In 2015, the very first pharmaceutical was 3D-printed. As this manufacturing method gains popularity, it will likely completely transform how the pharmaceutical industry operates, in terms of its supply chain.

Hospitals and pharmacies could potentially print the pills that they need in-house in ten years’ time.

Additionally, the University College of London is testing ways to print pills in fun shapes for kids. Thus, making it easier for them to take and can make it a potential commercial goldmine.

For those B2B companies that are involved in the sales, sales operations, and marketing of pharmaceuticals, these new trends could open many doors in terms of new forms of revenue and profits.

Personalization and Precision of Medicine

Whole new fields of pharmaceuticals are opening up and over the next decade, will only continue to widen and gain significant depth. It’s becoming less expensive and more commercially available for patients with various illnesses to get precision medical treatment.

Therefore, more money is flowing into pharmaceutical research that aims to discover how to target medication more efficiently (e.g. how certain drugs could attack cancer cells and avoid attacking the other cells).

DNA Molecule

It’s also becoming more commercially viable for patients to work with companies like myDNA. This organization, and others like it, analyzes a patient’s DNA to identify which medications will be most effective for a specific treatment plan.

It’s likely that over the coming years, rather than medications being manufactured for millions of people with an “average” or “median” DNA and molecular makeup in mind, medicines and their dosages will become unique to every patient.

AR and VR

Augmented reality is slowly creeping into every aspect of our lives, and that includes pharmaceuticals. Some pharmaceutical companies are looking at allowing patients to better connect with their prescriptions by translating the descriptions on the bottle into 3D.

Instead of having to read along, and a nearly indecipherable pamphlet on how the drug works, patients could be much more engaged with a visual AR demonstration.

Virtual Reality Device

When it comes to VR, it’s been believed that if the pharmaceutical industry pursues and invests in the technology, more new streams of revenue from pharmacies that provide virtual reality treatments could be opened up.

The treatments won’t be applicable to many diseases, like cancer or pneumonia, but rather as a treatment for pain and stress.

Patient Involvement

With new technology and innovation, patients are gaining more power. They now have the ability to have more of a say when it comes to their body and their health.

Thus, pharmaceutical companies will need to start taking patient needs, thoughts, and desires into consideration. Products will be more successful if patients are involved in their creation and distribution.

It’s likely that over the coming years, many companies in the pharmaceutical industry will create patient advisory boards. This has already become an integral part of several healthcare conferences where patients either help to organize the event or speak at it.

The pharmaceutical industry is changing at each level.

In order to survive and thrive in this environment, it’s more essential than ever for companies in the industry to explore and invest in the latest technology and innovations.

Are you interested in harnessing some of these top-notch technologies to move your business forward? Get in touch with us today for a free consultation on the top technologies that can impact your business the most.

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.

How to Measure Pharma Salesforce Effectiveness the Right Way

In 2019, commercial pharmaceutical companies operate in a progressively changing environment; the ever-increasing pressure to reduce healthcare costs puts the industry under even greater scrutiny from both the public and regulatory bodies.

Unfortunately, this drive to cut costs in the marketplace can directly impact the availability of research and development resources which in turn impacts the company’s ability to bring new, innovative drugs to market.

This is primarily because the drug approval process is extremely lengthy and expensive; with an average of only 1 in 5,000 drugs that ever make it to market, the odds of launching a blockbuster drug are slim.

Regardless of the unfriendly forces at work in the marketplace, the ultimate goal of a commercial pharma company is to provide life-saving products while remaining profitable

Smiling pharmacist and customer discussing a product in the pharmacy-2

So, with so many negative factors outside the company’s control, the attention naturally shifts to improving internal processes to gain a competitive advantage and achieve operational excellence on multiple levels.

Achieving excellence in sales, in particular, remains to be one of the most critical areas of focus for any pharma or biotech organization looking to thrive in this new environment.

So, they must be fully committed to measuring salesforce effectiveness the right way to truly understand how success can be achieved and replicated across the organization.

The salesforce of the organization plays a pivotal role in driving prescriptions and generating revenue.

Several factors play a vital role in incompetent and consistently effective salesforce:

  • Difficulty bringing new products to market.
  • Managed care pressures.
  • Lower profit margins.
  • Reduced access to prescribers.
  • Longer sales cycles.
Close up of human hands using virtual panel-1

The Traditional Method of Measuring Salesforce Effectiveness

About a decade ago, measuring salesforce effectiveness was much more straightforward because the pharmaceutical-medical landscape was far less complex.

At that time, tracking a few specific key performance indicators was sufficient enough to evaluate the performance of your sales reps:

  • Call Goal Attainment
  • Territory and Customer Coverage (Reach and Frequency)
  • Sales Goal Attainment

Although these metrics are still being utilized today, they no longer paint a complete picture and must be augmented by a variety of new metrics:

Favorable Access to Doctors

In years past, direct access to doctors was relatively easy. Whether your reps could get in front of their target doctors and deliver the approved marketing message wasn’t a concern.

Now, territories can change annually and the difference between territories can be extreme; making access to doctors more limited for certain sales reps.

doctor handshake with a patient at doctors bright modern office in hospital-2

Simple Decision-Making 

In the past, a doctor’s decision-making process was relatively simple.

Previously, managed care did not have much influence over the prescribing decisions of physicians, allowing pharma reps to easily fulfill their primary purpose of educating physicians on the benefits of their drugs and ultimately to influence their prescription choice.

Now, a doctor’s prescribing decision is heavily influenced by managed care plans, accurate and thorough educational information, and by the patient’s themselves.

Unique Products With Unique Selling Points 

Much like most marketable products, successful prescription drugs have unique characteristics.

Twenty years ago, the market was much less crowded, leaving a much bigger piece of the pie for each new market entrant.

With only a couple of options available in each therapeutic class, reps could easily sell the benefits of their products and convince doctors to prescribe them for their patients.

Now, the market is saturated with many different drugs in each therapeutic class and projected efficacy.

Serious doctor listening to patient explaining her painful in his office

So, How Can You Measure Salesforce Effectiveness The Right Way? 

While some of the basic principles of successful selling in the pharma industry are still in use today, others no longer hold.

It is no longer enough to call on the right customers (Reach) at the right number of times (Frequency) to ensure success.

Among the elements that add to the complexity of the current selling environment:

  • Rapidly changing the pharma-medical landscape.
  • Lack of truly unique products.
  • Increased influence of managed care organizations over doctor’s prescribing decisions.

These factors and many others contribute to the fact of what’s necessary for success in one territory may be completely different from what’s needed in another.

So, the question naturally arises – How should we measure sales force effectiveness in a changing marketplace? 

Pads with color diagrams and color shining on background-1

Yes, it is still essential to make sure your reps call on the right prescribers the right number of times. But, it is also important to make sure they meet their daily, weekly, and quarterly call goals.

However, reaching 100% on ALL these metrics will no longer guarantee success because these metrics by themselves don’t go deep enough.

They do not answer these important questions:

  • How did we achieve the results that we currently have? 
  • How do we replicate these results in the long term? 

To better answer these questions and more accurately measure and replicate salesforce effectiveness, your pharma company must also measure:

  • What they know.
  • How they behave.
  • How consistently they apply their knowledge.

These three areas will give you a more in-depth understanding of the quality aspect of your salesforce’s performance.

Medicine doctor hand working with modern computer interface as concept-1

Knowledge

Here are examples of specific areas to measure when it comes to the level of acknowledge of your salesforce:

  • Customer
  • Territory
  • Product
  • Therapeutic Class
  • Selling Skill
  • Competition

Behavior 

Due to the subjective nature of behavior assessments, determining how your salesforce behaves in customer interactions is a bit more difficult, but certainly not impossible.

Here are two of the most effective ways to measure sales reps behavior:

  • Role Plays
  • Field Coaching

Consistency

The third and final measurement refers to the sales rep’s consistency in the application of knowledge and behavior.

The answer to this can be somewhat wrapped into the Reach – Frequency – Call Goal Attainment Numbers.

If your reps excel in all three of these AND have high Sales Goal Attainment numbers, they are likely to be performing at a higher level in all other markers – knowledge, behavior, and consistency of application.

On the flip side, however, high Reach – Frequency – Call Goal Attainment – with low Sales Goal Attainment may indicate subpar performance in one or more of the following measurements – knowledge, behavior or consistency.

Double exposure of businessman shows modern technology as concept

Measuring salesforce effectiveness the right way is not only useful in the short-term but vital to understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your long-term salesforce strategy.

Without this information, you will not be able to elevate your sales team’s performance, because you won’t be able to pinpoint the skillsets necessary for success, regardless of the complexity of the environment.

Tailored technology solutions, like robust sales operations software, can help give you the tools to measure some of these metrics easily and efficiently so that you can focus your efforts on building a first-class salesforce.

In your experience, have you found another critical element of salesforce effectiveness that wasn’t mentioned here?

Please let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear about your experience and make this a more comprehensive resource for other pharma and biotech companies.