(Part 3 of 3)
As the final article of our 3-part series on Medical Affairs 2022: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going, this piece focuses on how Medical Affairs (MA) teams need to up their tech game to keep pace with changing times and increased customer expectations.
Investing in and using technology to maximize results
With the diversification of the roles and responsibilities of MA and the deluge of information and data available, MA needs to rely on technology and innovation to filter out irrelevant information and work efficiently. As digital technology changes everything from how drugs are discovered to how healthcare is delivered, MA too needs to get on board. In the words of Robert Stevens, Head of Digital Strategy and Medical Innovation, Novartis, we need to “identify and separate reactive innovation from proactive innovation.” A focus on proactive, specialized, and personalized innovation will help propel pharma companies toward success.
Moreover, proactive technology should be timely and be able to keep pace with the fast-changing landscape. It should make it easier for MA teams to visualize data by transforming and breaking down raw information into easy-to-digest portions that can help in decision-making. Technologies such as AI and latent semantic indexing should be applied to unify, streamline, and centrally collate all data such that MA teams can find necessary information without having to search through multiple databases.
More importantly, proactive technology should be able to provide the right intelligence directly to those who need it. For example, MA teams are responsible for ensuring that their stakeholders are up to date with the current market trends and changes, and different stakeholders—e.g., HCPs versus payers—have different preferences for how they like to receive information. This is where technology options such as chatbots, real-time alerts, shared CRM platforms, centralized information portals, API integrations, etc. can help.
Lastly, no matter how advanced the technology is, it can only achieve its potential when users know how to use it for optimal results. Therefore, pharma will need to invest in training for MA teams to navigate through technology solutions in a result-driven manner.
Optimizing digital to deliver excellent customer experience
The industry does not really have one definition for customer experience because all customers and stakeholders have their individual needs, preferences, and expectations. Customer-centricity in this sense would essentially mean catering to individuals, and not segments or markets. To achieve such a level of personalization, the Medical Affairs Digital Strategy Council has developed 3 core criteria to deliver better customer experience and interactions in the digital realm.
1. Human-centered design – This approach aims to provide quick and easy real-time access to information in a manner that is aligned with the user’s workflow via a seamless omnichannel experience. It is meant to be co-developed and inspired by users so that it is effortless and instinctive.
2. Individualization – The aim here is to optimize customer experience for individuals by using data to adapt and adjust the system such that it is culturally and geographically responsive and sensitive, as well as environmentally and generationally relevant.
3. Trust – Customer trust can be gained by providing accurate and credible information and evidence-based content through all possible channels while maintaining transparency in how data are obtained and used, and by providing timely responses and reliable service.
Meeting these criteria would require not just setting up appropriate technology systems but also ensuring that they are compliant with regulations, and that traditional medical and scientific teams can collaborate well with technology experts, to achieve the end-goal of keeping the customer first at every step of the way.