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Aligning educational programmes with promotional activities

How can pharma capitalise on doctors’ use of educational resources?

Doctors' use of the internet extends well beyond simple searches for information, with statistics showing that 44% of them use it for online CME alone.

More than three quarters of a million (848,399) online education modules and quizzes were completed by Doctors.net.uk members in an eight-year period and the popularity of this type of education is on the increase with statistics showing that in January this year there was a 57% rise in the number of online education modules completed by members compared to the previous month.

There is strong evidence to show that online educational activities can change doctors' working practices. For example, 60% of the 16,785 GPs across the UK who have studied at least one continuous professional development (CPD) module via Doctors.net.uk said they would change the way they work; while 29% may do so after seeking further information. Similarly, a group of senior oncologists surveyed by Doctors.net.uk unanimously agreed that taking part in online educational activities influenced their decisions around patient care and treatment. 

So how can pharma capitalise on doctors' use of educational resources and align them with other promotional activity and measure the return? Experience shows that long-term awareness building programmes that are based on a clear understanding of doctors' wants and needs around specific disease areas are the most effective approach. By researching doctors' level of knowledge and seeing where and how they last engaged with relevant information and via which channel, pharma companies can develop educational resources that are of real value to doctors. These resources, which really help to position a pharma company as a thought leader in particular disease or therapy area, can then be dovetailed with promotional material, such as a self-directed e-detail. 

By measuring changes in perceptions and clinical behaviour, via ongoing research and impact assessment, pharma companies can continually ensure that both promotional and educational programmes are aligned (yet appropriately separated) whilst also measuring knowledge improvement and other key indicators. 

These resources can also inform, integrate with and support other multi-channel marketing activities. For example, an e-detail or a more educational style resource can be used as a substitute for face-to-face pharma sales rep activity alongside educational service calls and/or tele-reach; or to broaden reach to target 'low see, no see doctors' in combination with service calls and tele-reach. By optimising and integrating activity in this way, pharma companies can maximise ROI from their online resources and deepen engagement with doctors.

For more information on Doctors.net.uk, please call Simon Grime on +44 (0)1235 828400, or email Simon.Grime@mess.doctors.org.uk. You can also follow Doctors.net.uk on twitter: doctors_net_uk

20th March 2013

From: Marketing

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