Physician-employees want better communication with pharma--and with their own management

No-see policies leave many physicians in the dark about formularies and medication benefits

A study sponsored jointly by Quantia Inc. and Capgemini Consulting points out a well-known gap in communications with prescribers: fewer and fewer of them are being visited by reps. But according to respondents (some 3,000 physicians who interacted with an online survey), physicians employed at what the sponsors call “organized provider systems” (OPSs, integrated delivery networks, hospital systems, accountable care organizations and the like), they also have too little communication with their own management, especially when it comes to who is making formulary decisions within the network, or why. About a third of physicians don’t know their systems’ reimbursement models; and four out of five physicians do not receive any information about drug cost-effectiveness, or who is making formulary decisions that, in many cases, dictate which drugs can be prescribed. (the survey also shows that 10% of respondents can only prescribe on formulary for out-patient service, and 22% for in-patient service; higher percentages of respondents can choose among alternatives on the formulary—with authorization.)

The survey found that the percentage of “no see” physicians (whether at an OPS or not) has jumped from 27 to 32% in the past year, and that 42% of those working within OPSs never see a rep, usually because of OPN policy. And since younger physicians (less than 10 years after medical school) are almost exclusively joining OPNs, the trends are only going to worsen.

Meanwhile, respondents both want more medical education from the pharma industry, and complain that insufficient support is available. Some 41% of them want more provider/staff education, but only 16% believe the pharma industry is currently addressing this. And 90% feel that partnerships with pharma—for services like patient support, pathway development or quality improvement programs—would improve the quality of care. (Meanwhile, when the responses are split between physician-level and OPS-executive level, only 2% of executives feel that provider/staff education is worth pursuing.)

Quantia, a provider of a popular online community for physicians, QuantiaMD, along with Capgemini, see the use of digital media as a means to connect with prescribing physicians directly, and to provide education and other services. Pharma marketers should “support the field force with resources that supplement basic clinical and market access messaging with topics such as protocol selection impact modeling, disease education, care coordination, and quality improvement initiatives.”

The study, “Working the System: 4 Trends Driving New Opportunities for Engaging Physicians in Organized Provider Systems,” is available here.