The Pharma to physician relationship has always been a very important one in the pharmaceutical industry. So naturally, Pharma companies are always trying different approaches to improve the nature of the conversation and the general relationship between their sales representatives and Physicians. More recently, there has been much buzz around the use of digital tools such as iPad applications and online physician communities to deliver content to physicians in more creative formats with an eye to improve the efficiency and quality of sales touch points.

The problem is that while these creative approaches have created interest within the physician community, the underlying content being delivered hasn’t changed enough to deliver longevity. Additionally, these approaches have lacked a certain degree of authenticity, because the expected outcome isn’t one that is shared between the Pharma rep and the physician. This is where I believe a more patient-centric approach can benefit both Pharma companies as well as physicians and their patients.

The big opportunity.

Instead of having the sales rep explain medical research to physicians who are inherently more knowledgeable, what if the sales rep focused on explaining the emotional mindset and the ‘wants’ of patients in a given therapeutic area? What if with every touch point, the sales rep added value to the physician by teaching her a little bit more about her patients and the emotional journey they’ve been on before walking through the doors of her office? What if sales reps were able to offer to physicians, the patient’s point of view? Would it not start to change the nature of their relationship? Would it not put all the digital creative tools to better use?

A patient POV can be simple.

Everyday, thousands of patients and caregivers take to the Internet to discuss their interactions with physicians, other patients, insurance providers, support groups and other entities that make up the healthcare system. Patients discuss their beliefs and values and talk about how it affects the decisions they take – from the drugs they choose and the places they look for information, to the treatment options they opt for.

Applying an ethnographic lens to the observation and analysis of these very conversations can play a significant role in understanding the value systems of patients and the emotional journey they go on as they move from diagnosis through to treatment and beyond.

A patient POV can provide incredible value to physicians – helping them better identify patient ‘wants’ and customize their treatment approach.

A patient POV will allow Pharma companies to bring forward a patient-centric mindset to the marketplace and even impact the perception of audiences positively. And as Pharma companies begin to speak the language of “patient-first”, a POV will add much needed credibility to communications efforts.

What do you want to research today?