Putting the customer at the centre
She believes there is now a moral obligation on the healthcare industry to take the lead on working out how to continue driving business, creating value and sharing best practice in a way that ensures the least risk of COVID transmission.
“We have a responsibility to embrace digital solutions because if any sector understands the impact of COVID-19 it’s going to be the healthcare space,” she says. “If we’re able to achieve similar results through a virtual platform, with less of a negative impact on our world, then I think we have a responsibility to do that.”
The pandemic left companies with no choice but to start using virtual platforms and forced them to put the customer more at the centre of their offering.
But it is well-documented that the pharmaceutical industry is behind many other sectors in terms of digital transformation, so much head-scratching has ensued as companies try to predict what will happen going forward.
Luca Dezzani, Vice President of US Medical Affairs, Oncology, at Eisai believes we will emerge from the pandemic with new-look medical congresses whereby the positives from digital will be harnessed and combined with aspects of the traditional approach.
A hybrid model
“I think moving forward with a hybrid model is the most likely and indeed, hearing from colleagues, the most favoured model whereby those who are willing and able to travel and to be there in person can do so but at the same time those who are, for whatever reason, not willing or able to travel, can join by video conference. We combine the best of both worlds.”
Indeed, for many this would be a win-win scenario.
Giovanni Di Sarro, Global Digital Solutions Senior Business Partner at Lundbeck also predicts a new blended model where physical contact will be retained for those still wanting to travel, but new technologies will enhance and augment that experience.
He believes we are at the beginning of a new reality: “The pandemic has helped people realise the opportunities to engage customers in a different way,” he says. “This is now an additional touchpoint.”
But for a hybrid model to be successful, he cautions, digital capabilities must improve. He foresees huge growth in technologies such as AI, chatbots, virtual rooms and learning platforms.
Schmidt says the pandemic has shone a light on some of the limitations of solely using digital media. Content needs to be packaged in a far more engaging and interactive format, he says, with much more sophisticated profiling, segmentation and targeting of customers to enable the right content to be directed to the right audience at the right time.