Eyeforpharma’s Mobile Strategies for Pharma 2011

This month, my colleagues Daniel Ghinn, Robert Hanvik and I attended Eyeforpharma’s Mobile Strategies for Pharma conference in London. The event consisted of two days packed with forward-thinking presentations, as well as an interesting mix of attendees from all over the world, from marketing managers to chiefs of architecture, GPs, and IT team leaders.

The following is an overview of what were, in my opinion, some of the highlights of the two days.

Daiichi Sankyo: Adding Long Term Value to Products Using Mobile Technologies 

The first day started off with a presentation by Dr. Simon Clough, Managing Director of Daichii Sankyo’s UKbranch. With the NHS undergoing what can be considered unprecedented changes, it is vital for a company like Daiichi Sankyo to focus on changing patient outcomes. Thus, Daichii Sankyo has undergone a restructuring process in theUK with the objective of developing mutually beneficial relationships with underlying value to both the NHS and its patients. Guided by the Japanese concept of Kaizen (“continuous improvement”), decision making within Daiichi Sankyo has become more local than before in an attempt to detach the company from a ‘one size fits all’ mentality.

Daiichi Sankyo has developed an internal learning development portal for its employees which addresses role-specific questions and has harnessed the power of the iPad in order to ensure this portal is accessed successfully. According to Dr. Clough, every Daichii Sankyo employee in theUKhas been provided with an iPhone and iPad as the company’s CRM database was redesigned for mobility. However, it seems that the philosophy goes beyond the technology: theUKsubsidiary of the Japanese pharmaceutical company recognizes the importance of harnessing simplicity, which, according to Dr. Clough, can be as simple as developing a one-tablet drug that replaces three or four individual tables that need to be taken at different times of the day, thus improving adherence.  The company has also moved from using recruitment agencies to using social media.

At the end of his presentation, Dr. Simon Clough was asked by my colleague Daniel Ghinn whether cultural changes had been more difficult to implement that infrastructure related activities. The answer to this question was that it is truly more challenging to implement changes at the organizational level, especially after decades of the aforementioned ‘one size fits all’ philosophy.

A few Insights into Roche’s Mobile Strategy

The next presentation was delivered by Andreas Claus Kistner and gave the attendees a couple of interesting insights into Roche’s mobile strategy, and asking the audience why they considered that mobility was new. We are already mobile, as proven by our devices, which are always connected no matter which part of the world we are in.

Andreas Kistner also addressed the topic of mobility within the salesforce, stating that the average sales rep spends two to four hours a day travelling to the doctors they need to visit and spends an average of one to two hours waiting to speak to physicians, whilst the average time they actually engage in discussion with a HCP is 15 to 30 minutes at most. Noticing the imbalance between these durations, Roche has developed a mobile CRM system that allows team document sharing, eLearning (an activity that can be easily carried out whilst in a waiting room), and real-time data capturing, amongst others. Of course there are a few technological roadblocks to be considered, such as data security and integration of mobile strategies into the overall business structure, but technology is only the base of being ‘a mobile worker’ – there are other factors at play, such as people and process, culture, and governance.

Other presentations on day one included, amongst others, the story of an award winning banking application, a panel discussion on developing a robust digital engagement strategy, practical advice from digital agencies on creating a memorable mobile experience, and David Doherty’s presentation on 3G Doctor, a mobile service that allows patients to consult with doctors on demand, which has been covered in my previous opinion piece.

Creation Healthcare’s Research on Attitudes Towards Mobile

My colleague Daniel Ghinn was also a speaker on day one of the conference, discussing Creation Healthcare’s findings following a survey we undertook to research the industry’s attitude towards mobile as a strategic channel. Our findings revealed that although there is a lot of optimism from respondents, the steps they are taking in order to engage patients, HCPs and other stakeholders via mobile are cautious, due to the conservative nature of the industry. To read more about our research, see this page for a selected key findings.

Day two started off with Oberoi Consulting’s presentation, which discussed changing business models within the pharmaceutical industry and how mobile technologies can contribute to cost-effectiveness.

Novartis: Implementing CLM Using Mobile Technologies

It is safe to say that CLM (closed loop marketing) was a hot topic throughout the event, as illustrated by Tim White’s (head of eMarketing at Novartis) presentation, which emphasized stakeholder needs ensuring that “the correct customer receives the correct message through their preferred channels at their correct time”. Novartis shared their vision of what a successful integrated approach to CLM is, using iRep as an example. iRep has been developed specifically for sales reps in order to change the way they communicate during sales visits. Whilst the iPad is can shorten material preparation time and present easily usable rich content, it can also help strengthen the relationship between the representative and the customer through follow-up e-mails which allow the customer to access personalized content on a web portal. Information on what content the customer has viewed on the portal is sent back to the company in order to inform future visits, ensuring that the marketing department has a more active role in content development.

The presentations that followed focused on the iPad and why the way it is used could change the game, as well as on patient-reported outcomes that generate valuable insights for HCPs and patient organizations. The latter was presented by HealthUnlocked, who carried out some research amongst patients that revealed the fact that tables are highly favoured over old-fashioned pen and paper. The same company also contributed to developing means of measuring patients’ level of pain and/or disability using a digital Oswestry Disability Index tool that submits their answers to clinicians. The same tool is being used to monitor surgeries and measure pre-operation vs. post-operation conditions.

Mobile Initiatives in Turkey: Nobel Pharmaceuticals

The attendees also heard from Murat Mendi, the CIO of Nobel Pharmaceuticals, a generic drug company located inTurkey(consistently ranked amongst the top 20 Pharma companies in the country). It is always interesting to get a non-Western perspective on where things are headed with mobile and Mr. Mendi mentioned the difficulties his salesforce had a few years ago, when 3G was not a widespread technology in Turkey and sales reps had to connect to the internet using EDGE, causing quite a few inconveniences. The company now has both a sales module and a corporate module in place which work together to enter new doctor information into the system, take notes regarding visits, identify what materials they will work with, and automatically schedule visits. We also found out an interesting fact: the median age inTurkeyis 28.5, which is remarkably young.

End of Day Two and Key Takeaways

The day ended with a few round table sessions – the attendees were split into three groups which had to report back after discussing the following subjects: engaging healthcare professionals using mobile, engaging patients using mobile, and identifying key elements of the mobile mix. I chose to attend the session which addressed patient engagement and I can say it sparked some interesting discussions that gave rise to questions such as: Do patients want to be engaged at all?

Overall, the event was packed with interesting debates and focused very much on putting behavioural change ahead of technology/infrastructure implementation, which was a key takeaway that everyone seemed to be aware of. But why isn’t pharma practicing what it preaches? Is it because some companies are still engaging in ‘tickboox marketing’ practices (i.e. implementing mobile solutions for the sake of mobile). During one of the panel discussions, it was revealed that a large number of companies may also have unrealistic expectations about customer engagement: a healthcare mobile app is not the same as a weather app – people do not use it every day for the same reason, and the ‘if you build it, they will come’ philosophy is not recommended. Lastly, it was revealed that there have not been any apps which have given a greater ROI than patient websites, but when looked at in the context of multi channel marketing, ROI should not always be the main driver – there are things like improved patient outcomes which should never be overlooked.

Georgiana Murariu

Georgiana Murariu currently works as market development researcher for Creation Healthcare, where she tracks and develops interesting insights in the area of digital health. Georgiana Murariu joined Creation Healthcare in July 2011 to support the company's core marketing functions, having just graduated from Canterbury Christ Church University with a Bachelor's degree in Marketing with Media and Cultural Studies.