Digital vs Analog: With doctors having less time available, but greater numbers of patients to see, many find themselves searching for more effective ways to run their practice. This begs the question, what is the best way for doctors, and the pharma & LifeScience industry, to operate: digital or analog?
The world is becoming more digital and individuals more digitally savvy. To answer the above question, a lay person (in this context, a non-pharma industry employee) would think that implementing a digital approach within the pharma industry would be a positive next step.
After all, we would all love to believe that the pharma industry is keeping pace with the evolving behaviours and information needs of today’s physicians. After all, physicians need to take into consideration the overall and expanding needs of patients to best perform their job, and pharma thus needs to take into consideration the needs of physicians. From increased information at physicians’ fingertips, to the ability to keep better records, to the ability to share information over a safe and secure platform and to improve patient care – there are many areas in which digitisation would benefit both physicians and pharma.
However, is this possible? And if so, what do the doctors think? How do we know if doctors are even searching for a new way to operate and care for their patients? Because for all we know, they’re happy with the current system. But more importantly, are they searching for a more digital approach, and if so, why?
Digital vs Analog
Based on the DRG Digital – Manhattan Research study of 1,814 U.S. practicing physicians across 25 specialties, the analog style of the pharma industry is not keeping pace with the time-poor physician’s world. As more doctors and physicians opt to use more digital methods to treat patients and find solutions, they see the pharma industry, specifically the sales reps, lagging behind the current trends.
This is nowhere more evident than in the pharma reps providing adequate and fresh information to doctors and physicians. This comes as 68% of the time, oncologists say their reps show them information they’ve already seen. This is a pattern that’s observed across the board in the medical industry, in varying degrees, as much of the industry is believed to be becoming “stale” and using stale information, even though it has the potential to be better. Still, in the medical industry, digitisation is largely seen as a positive. As tablets and digital pharma resources become the norm, physicians are observing that their pharma reps are using them less and less. This faux-pas has the ability to become a major problem in the industry and stop it from keeping pace with trends. If the two parties (physicians and reps) are not on the same platforms and wavelength, communication often breaks down. This could lower the standard of patient care and record keeping for the future.
What’s the solution?
Like in many cases, there is no one solution. However, gaining a pharma plan more closely aligned with the physicians’ needs is a great start. By using a mutual platform, such as MedUniverse, physicians and pharma reps can find new ways of engaging and see improvements. It can increase the communication standard, scheduling and record keeping, and ultimately patient care.
All the while, increasing the satisfaction of the relationship between physicians and pharma, which many medical professionals say is important in itself.
So what do the doctors actually want?
In our interview with Heidi Stensmyren that you can find here and the findings from the DRG Digital – Manhattan Research study, show that doctors and physicians want a more streamlined digital experience across the board. As many doctors and physicians believe that technology is not being used to the extent that it can be, improving communication with reps is a focus. They believe that a more streamlined digital approach will improve many aspects of the medical industry – from patient care and satisfaction, to improving the relationships within the medical community. As we know that physicians are searching for a more holistic digital approach to their industry, pharma has a great opportunity. They have an opportunity to ensure that all doctors and physicians are able to perform their jobs to the high degrees expected of them – all of this, in a more streamlined manner, using technology. As doctors are coupling the need to efficiently maximise their time and to provide accurate diagnoses, a digital approach to the pharma industry may be the best way to bridge the gap.
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