Blog  /  Insights

The future of physician engagement

Physicians do not expect a fast return to “normal” in 2021. 

As healthcare providers work hard to adapt to drastic changes to their practice, healthcare educators and marketers must also adapt to ensure we’re providing the right support. A large share of providers surveyed in our HCP Sentiment Series in February 2021 report the pandemic has impacted how they engage with pharma. Let’s take a look at some of these key learnings.

Physician sales rep engagement is moving to a hybrid model 

One year after COVID, initial trepidation about restricted physician access is largely proving unfounded as the industry finds a new normal of sales rep interactions. ​The new normal of sales rep interactions may very well include access levels returning to pre-COVID levels and newfound ways that pharma interacts with physicians more frequently but less intrusively than in-person interactions.

Half of physicians say rep interactions today are remote only while 1/3 say interactions are hybrid remote and in person. Of those physicians reporting hybrid engagement with reps, they say that interactions are roughly evenly split between remote and in person. In the future, most physicians expect rep office access to remain with COVID restrictions and ¼  expect access to return to pre-COVID levels. 

Keep preferred information sources in mind when engaging with physicians

According to our insights, the central role of sales reps is undiminished – aside from medical and scientific sources, sales reps are still physicians’ most preferred information source from pharma companies.​

In terms of content, physicians desire slightly less product brand information during their rep interactions and desire more info on disease state and patient services.

With myriad digital channels to invest in, pharma should continue to invest in sales reps even if remote. As the “point of prescription” becomes more digital, so should the ways we educate on treatment options. It’s important for marketers to invest in research to further understand their key market and build a personalized digital approach that aligns with physicians’ needs and evolving preferences.