Looking forward: pharma channels for 2021

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The recent Reuter’s report – Beyond COVID-19: Life sciences reimagined [1] – highlighted how fast life science companies are moving into digital customer engagement. According to the survey which underpinned the report, 84% of companies are increasing digital investments.

That’s not really news. We all know how much the pandemic has impacted the industry’s ability to engage with healthcare professionals (HPCs) and the extent to which companies have switched to digital to maintain HCP relationships. What interesting, however, is where those investments were being directed – and how that might change in the future.

How pharma is responding to COVID

At the start of the pandemic, remote detailing, webinars, e-meetings, and email were by far the most popular channels. Looking forward they remain pre-eminent, but a slightly different picture emerges.

The most impactful channels for remote HCP engagement

One big change that stood out to us at Anthill is the increasing interest – and expected investment in – self-directed web detailing. While this barely made the list of key channels during the immediate response to COVID, companies expect to invest in ‘self-detailing’ in the near future – more so than even approved email.

Understanding self-detailing

Self-detailing is a channel that Anthill has been championing for a number of years now. We originally encouraged clients to consider it because self-detailing is a great way to engage HCPs between rep visits. In fact, we created an eBook about self-detailing a while ago titled ‘Mind the Gap’ highlighting these specific benefits.

“Self-detailing is a channel that Anthill has been championing for a number of years”

In the eBook, we explained how ‘chatbot’ technology can be used in self-detailing systems to provide a guided experience for HCPs – even though no rep is present– and how to achieve this kind of interaction in a fully compliant way. We also explored wider uses for chatbots in pharma communication outside of the self-detailing channel.

Since the eBook was launched, we’ve done a number of self-detailing projects for forward thinking pharma companies. These went very well but we’ve still learned a great deal about the best ways to approach these initiatives.

As always, we’re keen to share knowledge. So, earlier this year we updated ‘Mind the Gap’ with new information – with more detail on how to ensure a smooth approval process and how best to structure chatbot ‘conversations’.

If you’d like to know more, you can access the latest edition here.


1. Reuters: Beyond COVID-19: Life sciences reimagined, 2020


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