In today’s healthcare landscape, strengthening your HCP engagement strategies through digital approaches is the biggest opportunity in pharma marketing.

Not to mention, multiple channels, especially online channels are the best way to connect with physicians. HCPs are typically pressed for time, have to deal with shrinking budgets, and want immediate access to valuable data. With an increasing number of developments in pharmaceuticals and clinical medicine, mobile channels are especially important, as they support critical communications and can host unlimited, targeted content.

Pharma marketers need to adapt and evolve if they are to provide value to their partners, like HCPs and other stakeholders. Digital channels for healthcare communications are efficient, convenient, and can actually alleviate the tremendous pressures most physicians experience daily. Digital marketing can even facilitate the innovation and discovery of new therapies, helping to advance healthcare initiatives.

Challenges of engagement
While face-to-face meetings are more and more difficult to secure, and because HCPs have already embraced current tech trends, it is to the benefit of pharma companies to strengthen their digital approaches to stakeholder and HCP engagement. While individuals today typically seek information from online resources first—physicians included—the challenge is providing high quality content that supports continual interaction with HCPs. In fact, HCPs rely on forms of electronic communication (such as emails, online forums, and mobile apps) to provide knowledge and assistance far more frequently than traditional information streams.

Most doctors feel the need to remain relevant among their peers, and the medical profession promotes a drive for excellence in research and clinical activities. Physicians are therefore among the most enthusiastic professionals to adopt their smartphone as a primary communication channel. The fact is that HCPs want to access the information they need, anytime they need it. For pharma companies looking to improve HCP engagement, they must evaluate their digital strategies and leverage state-of-the-art technology to make sure they meet the needs of their physician network.

Meeting your HCPs’ needs
As physicians are increasingly adopting mobile technology, there is a meaningful opportunity for pharma companies to initiate communications with HCPs exploiting multichannel digital platforms. Furthermore, pharma companies wishing to improve their HCP engagement strategies need to increase the quality and credibility of content available through digital channels to keep up with the demand by HCPs.

HCPs mostly desire the ability to access educational materials online, including better access to treatment strategies, treatment guidelines, diagnostic tools, journal articles, free trial data, and continuing medical education (CME). With HCP preferences increasingly heading towards digital channels, the ability to source information therein should be an integral part of their workflow. For pharma companies to effectively engage HCPs using digital channels, they should offer creative resources across multiple platforms, making their brand stand out as a source of value.

Strengthening your digital strategies
The key to developing a strong digital strategy is understanding what HCPs need. For one, identify your users’ preferred digital channels and the type of content they want. And here’s a clue: HCPs typically desire more academically-charged content, reliable sources of data, and credible scientific knowledge—not poorly-disguised marketing materials. Most beneficial to physicians is access to genuine and targeted content, along with information management and decision support services.

A great first step for any pharma company wishing to up their digital game is to establish a panel of high quality HCPs. This provides them the opportunity to discuss the specific types of digital content that physicians find valuable to their practice. Pharma marketers should identify the common problems HCPs need answers for, and maintain awareness of changing healthcare landscapes and pressures. In other words, your digital strategies should be flexible and the content should be tailored.

And speaking of content, keep it organized, to the point, and practical – remember HCPs are busy. A robust digital presence should minimally include a website that can host material resources like fact sheets, case studies, and other educational content. The site should also have integrated, on-demand material like streaming presentations and webinars, offer prescribing/diagnostic tools, and facilitate data sharing and other communications.

Monitoring digital engagement
The power of digital healthcare marketing is that it provides an industry rich in data a better way to sample, analyze, and share important clinical information. Herein lies the true potential for digital engagement: it supports innovation and fosters the discovery of critical therapies, which may be developed and delivered quickly and more effectively by exploiting digital technologies. An additional benefit of a strong digital strategy is the ability to track HCP engagement via online discussions, downloads, and more, allowing you to tailor content to what HCPs really want.

Being able to adapt your HCP engagement strategies to better fit your physicians’ needs will position your company and brand as a source of value. With a digital approach, it is possible to report on the progress of an ongoing marketing campaign and change it accordingly. This demonstrates your flexibility and even your credibility as a relevant healthcare company. Ultimately, a digital approach to healthcare marketing will help you form stronger partnerships with HCPs and stakeholders alike, and contribute to your overall market success.