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The enduring appeal of independent online professional networks

Continually optimising information is important to keep doctors returning and can improve pharma sales force understanding of their market

Independent online professional networks have grown exponentially in recent years with more than three million doctors now using them worldwide. But how will these networks continue to maintain their popularity among doctors in the future and what benefits will this bring to pharma and field sales force activity? 

At Doctors.net.uk – the UK's largest and most active online professional network of doctors – we know that transparency and relevance are of paramount importance to our 197,000+ members: They want to know where information is coming from and they want information that is relevant to their clinical practice.

In addition to holding valuable profiling data on members, such as their level of seniority and specialism, the network can the measurement and evaluation techniques are so sophisticated that progress between different stages of awareness, interest, desire and action within target groups of doctors who are engaging with pharma sales and marketing programmes, can be measured at each stage in order to adapt the subsequent content and messages to ensure it meets their evolving needs and preferences. 

Continually optimising information in this way not only motivates doctors to keep returning to independent online professional networks: it can also provide pharma sales forces with a detailed understanding of doctors' current levels of knowledge and interest in a disease or therapy area, in line with activities in the field. This enables them to work smarter and make best use of the limited amount of time they have with doctors by ensuring their materials and messages are fully relevant and up-to-date. 

The need for more specific information from pharma representatives is backed up by recent research from Doctors.net.uk which showed that 68% of GPs were more likely to see a pharma sales rep if they had a sound knowledge of the disease their product was designed to treat. But only 40% of GPs thought that pharma sales reps were adequately trained and able to add value to treatment decisions.

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

5th December 2012

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