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Investing in independent medical education

Pharma should adopt a 'multi-wave' approach

Online physician communitiesDoctors in many countries are unwilling to go to pharma websites for their educational needs. Even though they know that most of the funding for their training comes from the industry, they still prefer independent, third party resources.

Statistics show that 44 per cent of doctors use independent online doctor networks for education. In fact, in the UK alone, more than three quarters of a million (848,399) online education modules and quizzes were completed by members of Doctors.net.uk - the largest and most active online network of doctors in the UK -  in an eight-year period.

By adopting a multi-wave approach, that incorporates educational as well as promotional content, pharma can assess doctors' existing levels of knowledge and understanding around key disease and therapy areas, and move their knowledge on to the next stage by creating resources that meet their evolving needs

The value of this approach is increasingly being realised by pharma companies across the world. For example, David Schmeler, Vice President of Networks in Health partner mdBriefCase, which runs the largest multi-disciplinary online healthcare community in Canada, has seen a growing trend towards independent online education sponsorship among pharma companies in the country.

David explained that pharma companies in Canada are finding it particularly valuable to take a wider and more integrated approach to engaging with doctors, and shape their markets. For example, it is being used to help primary care doctors better understand co-morbidities wrapped around disease areas, such as heart disease, as well as provide support around more holistic issues, such as diet and lifestyle, for patients.

David said: “Doctors are academics by nature: they constantly want and need to learn. If pharma can provide high value, good quality learning then companies will have the chance to influence decision-making - and that is a big win.”

Indeed, by sharing relevant and timely educational information and resources in this way, pharma can develop a new kind of relationship with doctors; one that builds equity for its brands and can help it to establish a thought leadership position in key disease and therapy areas.  

For more information on Networks in Health, please email Alex.Merckx@networksinhealth.com. You can also follow Networks in Health on Twitter @netwrksinhealth

27th November 2013

From: Marketing

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