Pharma is Taking Its Byte of the Apple

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Robin Robinson

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Sales reps have been using mobile CRM applications on their smart phones and laptops for years, but the larger screen and “wow” factor of the iPad may bring additional benefits and functions to bear. Novelty of iPad Increases Mobile Technology Demand With the recent emergence of more sophisticated tools, such as the iPad, which are more attractive for users and more flexible in terms of what can be put on them, the demand for mobile applications is growing. And providers are scrambling to keep ahead of the game. According to Neeraj Singhal, VP, corporate strategy and business innovation, at Cegedim Dendrite, Apple has fueled the momentum through the capabilities of its devices and by providing what he terms “an application ecosystem”— almost 200,000 apps are now available for the iPhone and about 70,000 for the Android. The vast availability of mobile apps is driving the popularity and use of these devices. The touch technology and the sleekness of the iPad are boosting its popularity, as is its superior battery life, Mr. Singhal adds. “Just walking into a physician’s office with an iPad could buy a sales rep more time with the doctor,” says Ken Arbadji, VP, North Amerian Sales, StayinFront. “There’s been a move toward more consumer-type devices because the price point is lower, they are easy to use, and there are other benefits to the company as well. The iPad is slick and creates attention. A physician might be as interested in a sales rep’s iPad as the presentation being featured on it.” While the introduction of the iPad may have boosted awareness, it is not the only tipping point in the industry’s use of mobile devices. “Pharma was one of the first industries to readily adopt mobile CRM, mainly because of the need to track samples and document signatures,” Mr. Arbadji says. “Automation has been pretty pervasive throughout the industry; the iPad hasn’t changed that specifically. “But technological advances that allow for dynamic and flexible responses to what is happening in the field have spurred more use,” he adds. “For example, surveys can be created, be pushed out to the field force, and based on feedback, changes in sales messages can be made immediately. This evolution allows companies to improve efficiencies in sales territories, and get the right message to the right physician at the right time.” Another driver is the increased need for efficiency in the downsized sales environment. “As companies slash their sales forces they are using mobile capabilities to better arm the reps still seeing physicians,” Mr. Arbadji says. Omnipotence of Mobile Not to be Ignored The fact that mobile technology has become part of everyone’s life, including physicians, is driving the need for reps to be technologically savvy when it comes to communicating their messages. Physicians are among the highest users of smart phones. According to a recent study by Knowledge Networks, 62% of specialists have a smart phone and the primary use is for Internet and e-mail, not voice communication. The study of 11,000 physicians also shows that more than half of PCPs and specialists own smart phones, and that many are using them for e-mail, shopping, e-detailing, and survey taking. “In the last five years, technology has become part of the fabric of how we manage our lives,” says Darren Ross, executive VP, solutions, at Cramer. “Because patients and doctors are using mobile devices, dynamic content and interaction are the best of all worlds. They allow for better physician and patient understanding and outcomes.” Mr. Singhal says this rising use of mobile technology by healthcare professionals should motivate CRM solution providers to think more intuitively about providing innovative solutions on the devices being used by the end customer. “This could shift the paradigm of the solution model itself — and service delivery — from a largely push model to a pull model, which also aligns with the new business realities in the healthcare sector,” he says. “Hence, all healthcare companies need to have mobile technology as part of their business strategy, especially with advancements in 4G, high-speed broadband and cloud computing, as well as increasingly higher adoption of technology by the HCPs.” iPad and Mobile Device Benefits Otsuka Pharmaceutical is one of the first pharmaceutical companies to publicly announce the adoption of iPads for its sales teams. Just weeks after the iPad became available in Japan, Otsuka made the decision to purchase 1,300 devices. Otsuka in Japan, which employs just more than 1,000 sales representatives, plans to also provide sales support staff with iPads. Otsuka is one of 153 Otsuka group companies operating in 23 countries. A spokesperson for Otsuka tells PharmaVOICE that the company’s sales representatives — called medical representatives (MRs) in Japan — have “high expectations” for the iPads. “Since iPads are a new information delivery tool, and different from conventional tools, it will take a little time for MRs to get used to using the device,” says Masamitsu Kitada, spokesperson for Otsuka. “We expect that the iPad units will enable MRs to boost the speed and quality of information delivery.” The iPad units will be used to present e-detail material and because of the larger screen and image quality, MRs will be able to deliver interactive presentations to busy medical professionals, showing visual data and video content at a touch of the large screen. The devices will also be used as personal study tools for training to help Otsuka Pharmaceutical MRs obtain up-to-date knowledge and excel in their jobs, Mr. Kitada says. Otsuka has announced that after the successful implementation of the iPad program in Japan, the company plans to expand the use of iPads to employees at its other locations. At Octapharma USA, a Swiss-based pharmaceutical company with more than 4,200 employees in 28 countries, sales reps use mobile devices and applications, but the company has chosen not to use iPhones or iPads. Esat Angun, CRM manager at Octapharma USA, says concern with the “field ruggedness” of the devices is the reason the company has not adopted iPad or iPhone platforms. However, the advantage of using mobile apps for CRM is evident in the company’s sales reps’ activities. “Mobile apps make it easier for sales reps to track activities in the field ,” he says. “This enables the reps to target the message to the right account and respond quickly to changes in the field. “The ability to access all relevant customer information quickly, either before a call for pre-call planning, or post-call analysis has worked well,” Mr. Angun adds. “Mobile apps also provide a great way to obtain quick analytic snap-shots of accounts from the field sales force.” Besides the obvious regulatory documentation factor, mobile CRM puts instant account-centric information at the fingertips of the reps for pre-call planning and post-call analysis. “Since we have reps who have to cover vast geographical territories, mobile CRM becomes critical for effective targeting of accounts,” Mr. Angun says. “This results in reps making better use of their time. From a home-office perspective, mobile CRM provides a vast range of transparency and the ability to disseminate very creative and impressive reports direct to the field.” Mobile devices allow sales people to tell more compelling and interesting stories, Mr. Ross says. “The content is more visually engaging, and the ability to present relevant information is far more simple,” he says. “Another nice side effect is the accountability that mobile apps provide for sales management; because they provide true data on usage, the sales and communications teams can be more accountable and optimize programs going forward.” Mr. Ross adds that digital tools enable reps to tell complex product stories in a compelling way. “With an iPad in hand, sales reps can easily show a mechanism of action, illustrate the details on an injection, or animate the 360 degrees of a lab system,” he says. “The story then comes to life, is more accessible, and more engaging.” Managing Change The key risk in this space is change, our experts say. Technology is evolving almost on a daily basis: more choices, better devices, more applications. “What is hot today will be old tomorrow — if not obsolete in three to six months,” Mr. Singhal says. “Therefore, life-sciences companies need to manage this risk by incorporating the possibility of these changes into their business strategy.” Mr. Singhal suggests scenario planning to mitigate the risks and justify ROI. “From a solution provider’s point of view, the key to success is flexibility, open solutions, and the ability to rapidly adapt to the changes in technology as requested by businesses,” he says. The constant updating and changing makes it difficult for drugmakers to make appropriate choices, but it also is a struggle for the solution providers, Mr. Arbadji says. “The flux of new technologies coming to the market creates a number of challenges,” he says. “We need to create apps that can deliver on all of these platforms but at the same time we can’t put too many resources into trying to keep current, because tomorrow there will be a new platform.” Another risk is overreliance on technology, Mr. Ross says. “Maintaining the balance between digital tools and the relationships that sales professionals manage is key to the art of the sale,” he says. Antonín Lukeš, CEO of Data3s, says companies that are looking to implement a new CRM mobile system need to be educated and informed about what they are buying. “It’s important to be aware of the difference between a mobile app and an application that works on a mobile device,” he says. Many companies claim their solutions work on the iPad, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they have an iPad app, which must be approved by Apple and sold through the Apple Store. Rather, companies with online solutions benefit from the popularity of tools such as the iPad in so far as the iPad is another device for accessing the Internet. “At this point, a lot of the talk about iPad solutions seems to be more about marketing and exploiting fads than real technological development,” he says. “But this won’t last long; users will demand unique, new solutions they can actually use.” F PharmaVOICE welcomes comments about this article. E-mail us at Sales reps have been using mobile CRM applications on their smart phones and laptops for years, but the larger screen and “wow” factor of the iPad may bring additional benefits and functions to bear. Novelty of iPad Increases Mobile Technology Demand With the recent emergence of more sophisticated tools, such as the iPad, which are more attractive for users and more flexible in terms of what can be put on them, the demand for mobile applications is growing. And providers are scrambling to keep… Sidebars: Sound Bites From The Field Carol Glennon is CEO of Renu Mobile Solutions, a mobile marketing agency that creates marketing ­campaigns using text ­messages, mobile barcodes, and the mobile Web. For more information, visit Joe Kleine is Chief ­Commercial Officer of Epocrates Inc., which develops clinical information and ­decision-support tools that enable healthcare ­professionals to find answers quickly at the point of care. For more information, visit Jim Rogers is President and CEO of Nextrials, a Web-based software solutions company for the clinical-research industry. For more information, visit and follow the company on Twitter @Nextrials. Olivier Zitoun is CEO and Founder of Eveo, an ­independent, digital healthcare agency. For more information, visit or e-mail Is the iPad so iWonderful for Business? Physicians Top Pick for Smart Phones Physician Smart Phone Use Experts on this topic Esat Angun. CRM Manager, Octapharma USA, a privately held Swiss-based biopharmaceutical ­company focused on the development of quality human proteins for treatment of life-threatening diseases. For more ­information, visit ­ Ken Arbadji. VP, North American Sales, StayinFront, a global provider of CRM and decision-support solutions. For more information, visit Jeffrey D. Bloss, M.D. VP, Medicine ­Development Leader and Medical Affairs, GSK Oncology, which is dedicated to producing innovations in cancer. For more information, visit Masamitsu Kitada. Spokesperson, Otsuka ­Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., a global healthcare ­company that creates new products for better health worldwide. For more information, visit Antonín Lukeš. CEO, Data3s, a pharmaceutical CRM company dedicated to the development of high-quality solutions powered by Microsoft ­technologies. For more information, visit Eileen O’Brien. Director, Search and ­Innovation, Siren Interactive, an agency ­specializing in relationship marketing for rare disorder therapies. For more information, visit or the company’s blog at Darren Ross. Executive VP, Solutions, Cramer, which specializes in developing and delivering innovative marketing solutions. For more ­information, visit Neeraj Singhal. VP, Corporate Strategy and ­Business Innovation, Cegedim Dendrite, a provider of ­customer relationship management solutions for the life-sciences industry. For more information, visit Christopher Yoo, Ph.D. President and CEO, MedTrust Online, LLC, which provides oncologists with clinically useful technology applications and solutions. For more ­information, visit Pharmaceutical companies are jumping on the consumer iPad ­bandwagon and equipping their sales forces with the Apple mobile tablet device. Pharma Is Taking It’s Byte of the Apple “With an iPad in hand, a sales representative can bring the product story to life in a more accessible and engaging way.” Darren Ross Cramer “Automation has been pretty pervasive ­throughout the industry; the iPad hasn’t changed that specifically.” Ken Arbadji StayinFront “The key risk in this space is change; what is hot today will be old ­tomorrow.” Neeraj Singhal Cegedim Dendrite Sound Bites From The Field PharmaVOICE asked thought leaders in the mobile technology landscape to discuss what other functions mobile devices are being used for by pharma ­companies and how they are improving processes. Carol Glennon is CEO of Renu Mobile Solutions, a mobile marketing agency that creates marketing ­campaigns using text ­messages, mobile barcodes, and the mobile Web. For more information, visit “The global adoption of smart phones with high-resolution cameras and barcode scanning capabilities is producing a new generation of pharma apps and mobile scanning services that benefit the pharmaceutical industry. Two areas stand out: mobile apps to improve the integrity of supply chain, distribution, and drug traceability systems; and consumer services that improve medication adherence and prescription refill rates. Supply chain tracking with an iPhone app enables consumer input of drug packaging serial ­numbers to check on a specific product’s ­pedigree. This same app is used to enhance the process of issuing credit for returned meds. Digital watermarks on drug packaging can be read by many smart phones to authenticate the pedigree of the medication at every step along the supply chain. Wireless medication reminders can improve patient adherence rate from an average of 50% to more than 80%, ensuring prescription refills and improved sales.” Joe Kleine is Chief ­Commercial Officer of Epocrates Inc., which develops clinical information and ­decision-support tools that enable healthcare ­professionals to find answers quickly at the point of care. For more information, visit “Mobile marketing is no longer uncharted ­territory for pharmaceutical companies. Mobile marketing can help companies achieve returns on their investments and increase the reach and frequency of interactions with physicians. It’s no surprise that physicians want information on their terms, yet that’s hard for companies to ­understand and execute against. It’s critical to work with a partner that knows physicians’ mobile preferences and has a built-in network that will actually use your mobile offerings. Mobile services designed to supplement the activities of pharma sales representatives include drug detailing, ­sampling, patient literature delivery, and the ability to contact drug manufacturers. Mobile is all about customization, established trust, and effectiveness — all key factors to success.” Jim Rogers is President and CEO of Nextrials, a Web-based software solutions company for the clinical-research industry. For more information, visit and follow the company on Twitter @Nextrials. “In today’s mobile world, clinical trial sponsors want the ability to respond to safety and operational issues anywhere and ­anytime. To accomplish this, they need the appropriate mobile apps on a data platform offering remote accessibility. The Apple iPhone offers ­excellent ­mobility and can support software that ­provides sites and sponsors with access to patient data and study metrics. The Apple iPad provides an even more robust interface and offers a larger screen. For this reason, healthcare institutions, such as the Kaweah Delta Health Care District in Visalia, Calif., are ­embracing the iPad — in this instance, ­giving the KDHCD staff the ability to view patient data at the bedside. With healthcare and sponsors adopting these mobile devices, it will be possible to use them to review patient data not only in the clinical trial database, but also in patient records.” Olivier Zitoun is CEO and Founder of Eveo, an ­independent, digital healthcare agency. For more information, visit or e-mail “Mobile apps are being developed to engage physicians on the go or while they are with sales reps or patients. While most of the current ­physician iPhone apps feature tools and calculators, a number of new apps being developed also include specialty news, guidelines, publications, and videos. For reps, iPad apps can be used as mobile training tools or as digi-selling platforms, featuring interactive materials adapted to the device to leverage its technology. These solutions over time will be fully integrated with CRM systems. As most companies are reviewing their IT strategies for their sales forces, the iPad is emerging as the natural successor to the Tablet PC.” QUICK FACT Six in 10 Americans go online wirelessly using a laptop or cell phone. Pew Internet and American Life Project QUICK FACT 81% of physicians want more apps related to their specialty. Manhattan Research Is the iPad so iWonderful for Business? According to a study conducted by the Center for Media Design at Ball State University, consumers are finding the iPad great for entertainment, but it is not yet popular as a work-related device. Despite these findings, several pharma companies are equipping their sales forces with the new Apple tablets. According to the study, after hands-on experience with the device, users claim the content creation programs are difficult to adapt to due to the touch screen and on-screen key pad. Users in the study reported that the device is much more suited for leisure and entertainment. Users also commented that applications created for the iPad work very well, but performance of apps not formatted for the device were disappointing. British users that were part of a survey conducted by copywriting agency CooperMurphy reported they rarely took the device out of their home — only 5% said they take theirs everywhere. Analysts say this may be because the device is so new to users they are uncomfortable with taking it out, or that they find its size not conducive to portability. One thing is for sure, both studies found that iPad users love it for reading, gaming, and entertainment. Source: Center for Media Design. For more information visit “Mobile CRM becomes critical for the effective targeting of accounts.” Esat Angun Octapharma Physicians Top Pick for Smart Phones BlackBerry and Apple are neck and neck in terms of physician smart phone adoption, but BlackBerry is still the top smart phone among physicians. According to Manhattan Research’s Taking the Pulse report, which tracks physician adoption rates of various information technologies, 72% of U.S. physicians now use smart phones. Physician smart phone adoption outpaces the general U.S. adult population’s adoption of smart phones, which still stands at below 20%. Manhattan Research also reports that combined iPod Touch and iPhone adoption among physicians tops Blackberry. The iPod Touch, of course, is not a smart phone, but its WiFi capability can make it useful to physicians in range of a fixed wireless network. Manhattan Research reports that there’s still little activity around Android-powered devices among physicians. Source: Manhattan Research. For more information, visit “Many companies are not actively using mobile devices. Instead they are relying on notebooks as the main portable device for their reps.” Antonín Lukeš Data3s QUICK FACT 71% of phyisicians believe their PDA/smart phone is essential to their practice. Manhattan research Welcome to mHealth “For the past few years, ­pharma brand managers have been using mobile devices to market to ­physicians.” Eileen O’Brien Siren Interactive “Physicians are using more sophisticated mobile devices built to be held in one hand or tucked away in their lab coat pocket.” Dr. Christopher Yoo MedTrust Online Mobile apps for everything healthcare related — mHealth — give pharma the opportunity to create positive outcomes for patient health. Beyond CRM: Mobile Apps emerge for CME, Clinical Trial Recruitment, Patient Education, and more … Physician Smart Phone Use A study of almost 11,000 healthcare professionals found: n 85% to 90% of physicians with smart phones are using them for Internet and email n 62% of specialists have a smart phone n 55% of PCPs have a smart phone n 29% of PCPs and 24% of specialists use smart phones to participate in online surveys n 17% of PCPs and 18% of specialists who have smart phones are using them for e-detailing Source: Knowledgenetworks. For more information, visit There are almost 6,000 mobile applications available in the health, fitness, and medical categories, reports MobiHealthNews in its recent study, The World of Health and Medical Apps. According to Wikipedia, mHealth is defined as the integration of technology with the health sector that results in the promotion of healthy lifestyles, improved decision-making by health professionals and patients, and enhanced healthcare quality via improved access to medical and health information and facilitating instantaneous communication in places where this was not previously possible. The following are a few examples of new areas where mobile applications and devices are on the rise. iPad Clinical Trial App from GSK GlaxoSmithKline and MedTrust Online have partnered to create CancerTrials App, the first free geolocating cancer clinical trials application for the Apple iPhone and iPad platforms. With CancerTrials App, cancer doctors can easily find and share information about experimental therapies in clinical trials with their patients. Once relevant trials are found, results can be mapped relative to the location of the iPhone or iPad running the application. The app was released in June, and by September, it had consistently ranked in the top 200 medical apps in terms of popularity by downloads. “GSK and MedTrust share a common mission: to provide solutions that are useful for the medical industry,” says Christopher Yoo, Ph.D., president and CEO of MedTrust Online. “Physicians are using more sophisticated mobile devices built to be held in one hand and tucked away in their lab coat pocket. Many of these smart phones are more powerful than the PC sitting on their desks. It is a natural solution to provide clinically useful information to busy doctors on the devices they can use as they see their patients.” According to Dr. Yoo, the application will be available for the Android and other mobile platforms soon. “GSK is always looking for opportunities to ensure that physicians and patients have up-to-date information with regard to clinical trials and clinical trial programs,” says Jeffrey Bloss, M.D., VP, medicine development leader and medical affairs, for GSK Oncology. “We know that clinical trials often offer the best opportunity for care for patients and as we are learning to adapt to this new world of social media and learn about the ways patients and physicians gather information, we continue to look for ways to contribute to that and we thought this application could really make a difference.” The purpose of any clinical trial mobile app should be to provide relevant information that physicians can trust. In the rushed environment of today’s practicing physicians, it is important to provide physicians the type of info they need when they need it, and that is entirely possible in a mobile application. According to Dr. Bloss, this is especially true in the cancer arena. “In the oncology field in general, the immense explosion of new data and new information on a daily basis is incredibly difficult to keep up with,” he says. “A mobile app can help physicians have a very reliable and comfortable data source to go to.” Both Dr. Bloss and Dr. Yoo say the CancerTrials App is extremely easy to use and very fast. The design is simple so that it takes only four finger taps or less to reach relevant information. For more information, visit Mobile Marketing and Advertising Mobile marketing is not for every brand. However, with its ability to target and deliver a unique brand experience, it’s a channel that should be explored as part of the marketing mix, says Eileen O’Brien, director, search and innovation, at Siren Interactive. As mobile devices become more powerful, more people, including physicians and other healthcare professionals, are relying on them as their point of entry onto the Web. User experience is no longer defined by the browser, and communication campaigns now need to work toward integrating the experience across all channels, Ms. O’Brien says. “For the past few years, pharma brand managers have been using mobile devices to market to physicians using Skyscape and Epocrates,” she says. “This trend is likely to accelerate since the latest Manhattan Research data show that 64% of physicians use a smart phone and Skyscape data indicate 87% of physicians rely heavily on their mobile devices for clinical decision support.” For more information, visit or the company’s blog sirensong. Physician Information for Dosing and Prescribing In August, Novo Nordisk launched NovoDose, the first-ever mobile app for physicians to look up dosing guidelines and blood glucose goals for their patients with diabetes. The guide is available as an application on iTunes and works only with Novo Nordisk’s insulin analog portfolio. Through a series of questions with easy touch-screen answers, NovoDose allows physicians to select the type of insulin they want to research and review suggested guidelines for dosing, titration, and even blood glucose goals for their patients. The app also provides important safety information on the products and only those who self-identify as healthcare professionals can download the app. For more information, visit Mobile CME The CBCE (The Center for Biomedical Continuing Education) has improved its oncology CME app with three new features for the iPhone and the iPod touch. An updated app will be available for the iPad later this year. The added features include a new, text-based module, an interactive case module, and oncology/hematology-specific daily news for busy healthcare professionals. The new CME app has text-based modules developed specifically for CBCE Oncology that take no longer than 15 minutes to complete and include charts, graphs, and illustrations to enhance the content. The updated app uses a case-based, tumor-specific curriculum to help healthcare professionals understand how recent clinical advances can improve individual patient outcomes. Healthcare professionals can review complex patient scenarios on timely clinical topics in oncology and compare their treatment decisions to those of a clinical expert. The third feature is a daily news feed from CBCE and HealthDay’s Physician Briefing to provide daily oncology/hematology focused news within the CBCE Oncology CME App. For more information, visit Health Monitoring and Disease Management There are many mobile apps to help patients and physicians with disease management, especially in the diabetes category. Agamatrix is hoping to update its existing diabetes management app to be the first medical app to connect directly to Apple’s iOS platform, which includes iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. This would mean patients would no longer have to manually enter glucose data as they have had to in the past. The company is waiting for FDA 510(k) approval for its new USB download cable, which connects the meter to any Apple idevice. The app, called WaveSense Diabetes Manager, currently has 50,000 users. For more information, visit F “Clinical trials often offer the best opportunity for care and we thought a cancer trials application could really make a difference.” Dr. Jeff Bloss GSK Oncology

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