Digital Must Deliver Both Speed and Depth

by Adele Li | May 9, 2019

They say that you get one chance to make a first impression. That may be especially true for digital health technologies and optimal physician engagement.

While many companies have multiple Wechat public accounts for company level, product level and even activity level objectives, Kantar's 2018 Digital Life Physician and Patient study shows that only 42% of physicians subscribe to company public accounts. Furthermore, what's even more alarming is that many physicians have developed a habit of cancelling subscriptions if they feel that the content of the accounts is not helpful or professional enough. Digital health technologies have effectively brought the “fast access" component to physicians, where they can get quick access to items such as updated guidelines, but physicians are also demanding depth in the information they review that will bring more value to their academic needs.

True Digital Innovation
In 2015, innovative and traditional channels shared equally in delivering information to physician stakeholders. By 2016 and 2017, innovative channels had surged to become the main channel of information distribution, with many expecting that 2018 would yield similar results. However, in a big shock and a red alert for our industry, the numbers reverted back to those of three years ago. This has triggered a major debate on what happened, with many questions being raised and many thoughts and assumptions being questioned.

In Kantar's view, the answer is that the market needs more true digital innovation activity. While three years ago many companies were unable to distinguish between webinar and webcasting, today almost every pharma company has the means to host hundreds of webinars and webcasting events. Moving from traditional face-to-face engagements to online engagements certainly brought convenience and expanded coverage at first, but we must be mindful of what the true motivation is for the physician attending – is it because the channel is convenient or because the speaker is knowledgeable and delivers value.


Looking to the Future
The good news is that more physicians want to try, or have already tried, advancements such as Internet Hospitals. In fact, in our latest Digital Life Physician and Patient study, 76% of physicians are optimistic about the future of Internet Hospitals. These physicians are saying:

  • "It's a supplement and assistance to physical medical treatments, integration of online and offline."
  • "It's the trend of future development and will gradually replace the traditional medical treatment mode."
  • "Medical visits are no longer limited by time and place, providing convenience for physicians and patients."

In addition, physicians perceive artificial intelligence as coming and helpful, with 38% saying that in the future artificial intelligence can replace part or some of doctors' work, and 42% saying that artificial intelligence will become an aid to future doctor diagnosis. Finally, in a sign of the times, the age of social media driven content is creating its share of Internet celebrity doctors, with 5 percent saying, "I have a certain degree of popularity on some platforms and have many fans."

To learn more about how digital health innovation delivers value to physician engagement, please check out Kantar's 2018 Digital Life Physician and Patient study, or please feel free to reach out to me at adele.li@kantarhealth.com  with any questions!

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