Time-constrained HCPs are looking for a flexible means of engagement that fits into their schedules. Virtual meetingsenable pharma to reach HCPs more readily – when and where it is convenient to HCPs. This increases opportunities for HCP engagement and information-sharing to the benefit of both parties. It is a win-win situation for pharma too since it minimises the travel costs and time often necessary for face-to-face meetings.
With virtual conferencing, pharma can increase the number of HCPs they reach and the amount of time spent with them. Virtual presentations can be organised in a manner that ensures maximum involvement of participants. Consequently, pharma reps can extend the sales conversation and make follow-up conversations more easily. Furthermore, email campaigns can be incorporated for additional engagement of participants with targeted messaging based on their responses.
Virtual meetings in action: Novartis use the Vivinda TV virtual conference platform to engage with HCPs via virtual medical meetings. The platform provides HCPs with on-demand content from medical meetings and conferences
Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline have also been using webinars to engage with HCPs. Pfizer used the CardioCareLive platform to stage a series of conferences on atrial fibrillation and promote the companies new oral anticoagulant drug Tikosyn (dofetilide). GlaxoSmithKline sponsored HCPs to virtually attend the International Congress of the European Respiratory Society in September 2017 through the Live Plus virtual platform, which also enables members to stay up to date with company news.
Helping more patients
With virtual meetings, patients at home can consult and receive medical advice from HCPs. For example, in localities with limited or no access to specialists, virtual meetings are especially helpful. This virtual connection can also be used by HCPs to monitor the progress of patients on long-term medication and those with chronic illnesses.
Several healthcare organisations are already providing their patient services through virtual platforms:
- The Ohio Telehealth Initiative (OTI) uses virtual meetings to facilitate collaboration between healthcare professionals and patients.
- The Phoenix Children’s Hospital uses the Zoom for Telehealth video conferencing platform to improve patient outcomes through remote patient diagnosis, consultations between physicians and patients, virtual counselling, hospital administrative meetings, and much more.
Improving employee productivity
The use of virtual meetings doesn’t stop with stakeholders. Employees of pharma and the life sciences can fulfil more work goals due to the flexibility and convenience provided by virtual meetings. They can hold more point-to-point and multi-point meetings, reaching out to more customers. Employee teams can coordinate their operations and engage with each other from remote locations. It is easier for different departments and divisions to interact and share information without the need for frequent travel or the logistics required for physical meetings, such as organising refreshments.
In a survey of 300 UK companies, 89% of the organisations said they use virtual meetings, while 39% found its use increased employee satisfaction due to the flexibility it offers. As many as 97% said at least one area of their company has improved because of virtual meetings. For example, companies can cut travel and hospitality costs related to organising face-to-face meetings, reducing their overheads significantly. Also, most employees enjoy flexible working hours, which enables them to maintain a better work-life balance. For example, employees can work from home without being excluded from decision-making and other office interactions.
Virtual meetings in action: AstraZeneca uses AT&T’s global networking services. The flexible, secure network-based services support AstraZeneca employees worldwide through innovative networking solutions to enhance collaboration among employees and with external business partners.
Pharma can also harness virtual technologies to promote employee learning and training. The continuous professional development required of those working in the life sciences can be difficult to manage due to their busy schedules, but leadership can help by creating supportive and interactive digital learning platforms that their employees can access conveniently. French pharmaceutical company Ipsen has created such a digital learning platform, called the Ipsen Management Academy.
Employees can also use such platforms to consult experts and share their knowledge and experiences. For example, Janssen Pharmaceuticals has a “YouLearn” training platform for its employees.
Virtual meetings for diverse interactions
By utilising virtual meetings and other cutting edge virtual technologies, pharma and the life sciences stand to gain enormous benefits. In particular, virtual meetings enable them to reach employees, HCPs, and patients more readily, helping to build deeper relationships. This can in turn foster brand loyalty through interactive engagement with customers.