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Working in true partnership in a time of change

By Lisa Alderson

The pandemic has changed pharma’s customer base as many key stakeholders in hospitals have taken on new roles and some have left the sector, while partnerships between health and social care have been evolving.

In common with industry’s key contacts in national and local government, healthcare professionals (HCPs) must adapt to the ‘new normal’, and areas such as patient equality, disease awareness, access to medicines and new technologies are being reviewed.

With pharma companies forced to pull their customer-facing teams off the road for almost 12 months, navigating the rapidly changing landscape and building relationships with new stakeholders can be a daunting prospect.

The starting point

The first priority is to re-map customers and influencers across your entire geography and organisational structures and to re-evaluate your company’s strategy around growth and patient care.

Combine this with your existing knowledge of hospitals and healthcare organisations in relation to their challenges and goals and then consider the impact on potential partnerships, as well as your company’s goals and aspirations.

This will change your perspective on ‘win-win partnerships’ and guide thinking on which staff members should move into which roles to restart key relationships. Bringing in external facilitators to challenge thinking and present new ideas impartially is also useful at this stage.

Consider the people skills of each customer-facing team, their communication style and passion for specific areas, whether they are clinical, commercial or patient led, and their personal goals. In addition, map communication with stakeholders to evaluate different types of activity during the past 12 months and assess what has been most effective.

Then map how key stakeholders have been engaging within their peer group. For example, which papers have they published and via which channels? Are they active in online forums, or other channels and which key topics are being discussed? Are any innovations drawing particular attention and, if so, why?

HCPs have got COVID-19 well covered. So, steer conversations on to other topics, particularly innovation. For example, who is developing light touch diagnostics that could revolutionise patient care, or what self-care measures have been launched recently?

Beyond the pill

A sound knowledge and unbiased view of wider issues brings credibility to conversations and supports arguments for new medicines or treatment programmes and how they can deliver real value to the physician and the patient.

Therefore, understanding current trials and published papers is not just for the medical team; everyone working in healthcare should know their products’ ecosystem, including competitor developments that are breaking new ground.

It is also important to be aware of the support that is available to help patients in a therapy area, such as new monitoring technologies and diagnostics, and charities that provide information and advice to assist people in managing their condition.

By looking at the bigger picture and being ready to extend conversations beyond the pill to discuss wider issues within a therapy area, industry will be in a stronger position to support customers and find ways to work in partnership with them in these challenging times.

For information on Wilmington Healthcare and its cloud-based strategic healthcare insight and strategic account management offerings, visit wilmingtonhealthcare.com/interactive-medica

Download our new white paper: “Strategic thinking: how can data help to navigate the way ahead in 2021?”

Lisa Alderson is Business Development Director at Wilmington Healthcare

In association with

22nd February 2021

From: Marketing

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