The Importance of Digital Engagement in Pharmaceuticals

With the development of digital technology, pharmaceutical companies have more and more new channels of communication to attract and interact with customers. This interaction is now less about prompting a purchase from the manufacturer and more about a two-way conversation between the company and potential customers. This allows consumers to make more informed purchasing decisions and healthcare professionals to get the information they need that can be used for future research. By providing insights and recommendations based on data and industry knowledge, pharmaceutical strategy consulting can help consumers make more informed purchasing decisions and help healthcare professionals access the information they need to advance their research and practice. In this article, we’ll explore how pharma can use digital tools to increase sales and customer engagement.

The importance of digital interactions in the pharmaceutical industry

Not long ago, all interactions between pharmaceutical companies and potential customers, including healthcare professionals, were done in person, without using digital tools. But even before the COVID-19 pandemic spread, the industry faced these challenges:

  • difficulties in making presentations and demonstrating the value of the innovation to consumers;
  • inadequate staffing in the sales department;
  • reduced in-person access.

According to the study, digital development in the pharmaceutical sector lags behind all industries except the government. Meanwhile, manufacturing companies paid too little attention to interacting with customers to get feedback. 

According to another study, the pandemic has led to a significant (more than 65%) decrease in the frequency of interactions between healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical company representatives. Moreover, 28% of physicians surveyed believe their willingness to invite pharmaceutical company representatives to live meetings will decrease even further.

Thus, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the digitalization of the relationship between doctors and patients and between pharmaceutical representatives and consumers of company products. During the pandemic, digital solutions were the way out. They also helped to bridge the gap between pharmacists, healthcare consumers and healthcare providers.

Digital tools for interaction between pharmacists and healthcare providers

Among the popular interaction tools for healthcare professionals and pharmacists are:

  • virtual collaboration platforms (video conferencing, virtual advisory board on a virtual collaboration platform, asynchronous discussions, moderation tools);
  • centralised resource libraries;
  • platforms for interaction and learning.

In addition to communication, virtual communication value tools allow pharmaceutical companies to communicate the value of their product to healthcare providers and receive important information from healthcare providers that can be used to make strategic decisions.

Digital tools for patient interaction

According to a 2017 study published in the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, there were more than 260,000 medical apps created around the world at the time. And about 70% of patient groups were using at least one app to manage their condition. Among the most popular were apps of these types:

  1. Patient support apps for the duration of treatment;
  2. Information and educational products (online webinars, conferences and e-health education);
  3. Pharmaceutical apps and Web sites.

Digital technology is helping pharma companies focus on the patient in order to stay relevant, and profitable and achieve better health outcomes. In addition, new cutting-edge technologies such as blockchain, gamification and 3D printing provide additional opportunities for sustainability and growth in the pharmaceutical industry.


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