With all the demands that today's busy healthcare professionals face, it's important to help meet the needs of doctors by simplifying how, where and when they find clinical information.
In our experience—validated by research—we know that mass emails and a lack of personalization are the main communication pain points for physicians. There's also a big gap between the perceived value of content created by pharmaceutical companies and what HCPs receive.¹
In our recent study, we gathered insights from 150 HCPs across dermatology, gastroenterology, oncology, psychiatry, plastic surgery and neurology specialties who engaged weekly with social media platforms for professional, clinically relevant purposes.
Because HCPs seek valuable information, especially content from peers, there's been a significant rise in social media use for clinical information. Here's what our research showed when it comes to delivering clinically relevant content that is personalized, valuable and trustworthy.
HCP Need #1: Personalized Content
It's no surprise that the content topics valued by HCPs we talked to varied widely by specialty:²
- Dermatology: Upcoming professional events
- Gastroenterology: New scientific research
- Neurology: New drug discovery
- Oncology: Disease management
- Plastic surgery: Patient management techniques
- Psychiatry: Information presented at professional conferences
Adding to the complexity of different topics of interest, there's also a significant time constraint that HCPs experience. Personal preferences must also be considered when creating content for HCPs. Some may prefer modular content that can be consumed at their own time and pace. Others have specific channel preferences or preferred formats that must be acknowledged when serving up content.
Creating a personalized experience starts with evaluating data to understand the HCP's interests, educational needs and time constraints—understanding these key elements helps us determine the right content and channel to leverage.
Key Insight #1: Whether sharing branded or unbranded content, it's imperative to orchestrate the experience that someone has with the information about the medicine, device or intervention.
HCP Need #2: Valuable Information
While preferred social content topics varied among HCPs, our research showed that new scientific research was perceived as the most valuable topic, regardless of therapeutic area.²
Other valuable social content topics included information presented at professional conferences, disease management, patient management techniques and upcoming professional events.²
Key Insight #2: HCPs are searching for valuable content from perceived reliable sources. They are looking to peers for specific real-world experience and to life science companies and academic institutions for new research.
HCP Need #3: Trustworthy Sources
In our research, we also learned that there are significant barriers to building trust with clinically relevant content. The biggest barriers to perceiving content as authentic include bias, conflicts of interest, compensation by a sponsor and presenting one-sided data.
While it's difficult to overcome the stigma of being affiliated with a pharma company, we uncovered an opportunity: 62% of HCPs are more likely to give clinical credibility to social content from physician employees (e.g., corporate medical, research or medical affairs).²
We also learned that HCPs also want to see more content from pharma companies focused on disease state education and patients, including patient resources, education and outreach.²
Key Insight #3: HCPs confirm the legitimacy of a source before applying information to their practice. Whether a source is perceived as trustworthy or not depends on the affiliated institution or how well-known the expert is in their field.
Delivering Content that Meets These Needs
By applying behavior data to understand an HCP's preferred format and educational topics, plus analytics to customize the channel mix and clinical stories—all while ensuring content is delivered by a reliable, trustworthy source—we can truly meet the needs of today's physicians with clinically relevant content designed to save time and be consumed at the HCP's own time and pace.
¹ Physician COVID-19 Response BioPharma Survey, May/June 2021; BCG analysis.
² Avant Healthcare DOL Insights Study, March 2022.