Identifying value in digital sales aids for pharma

New survey finds more digitally-savvy healthcare providers, challenging reps' presentation capabilities

What might be called a next wave in digital sales aids is coming into focus at Intouch Solutions, a digital agency that specializes in DSA development and distribution. The company performed an initial survey back in 2011, finding that physicians were enthusiastic about receiving DSAs or sitting through sales-rep presentations based on DSAs (which were being offered on the new-fangled iPad and similar tablets). Today, based on a just-completed updated survey, InTouch finds that physicians have higher expectations—but also have much higher use of mobile devices, which enlarges the potential consumption of DSAs.

Reps are hard put to keep up themselves with the digital awareness of physicians, according to the survey. In 2011, 33% of healthcare providers (HCPs) had an iPad; now it’s 84%. HCPs use tablets three times more often during patient consultations. Today, one in two HCPs complain that DSA content doesn’t change over time (presumably, over the life cycle of a drug product); and two out of three believe that content is not customized for their practice or patients. And the resounding response from 2015 survey respondents: more clinical data!

A key point to the analysis is, “what is a DSA?” Donald Hanson, grou account director at InTouch, says that early DSAs (and many still available today) were digitized versions of static documents. DSAs being designed today have some degree of interactivity—the rep (or physician) can pick and choose what parts of the presentation to review. This interactivity can be recorded, so that both reps and marketing managers can understand what parts of a presentation are impactful. Another aspect of this is the ability to tailor a presentation to the medical specialty; details that are important to, say, a primary care physician might not be as important to a specialist. Finally, modern technology should be used to determine the user preferences of interacting with DSAs—some physicians would want to view the presentation themselves; some with an interaction with a rep; some with a teledetailing format.

“Tailored content; fresh perspective; and more focus and less clutter”—these are the qualities that HCPs are looking for in pharma sales presentations, concludes Hanson. Access to the survey summary is available here.