Connectivity in motion: The art and science of creating experiences that inform and inspire healthcare professionals
Healthcare professionals are struggling to find the information they need to make the decisions that matter. By infusing scientific information with creativity and technology, brands can develop relevant and inspiring experiences that drive clarity, helping prescribers improve outcomes for their patients faster.
In the past decade, scientific engagement has evolved from a brand-centric approach to a customer-centric approach. But, although there is plenty of information that biopharmaceutical companies can and do provide to healthcare professionals, customer needs are often still not met.
For example, according to a recent survey on healthcare professional content preferences by Wiley and EMI Research Solution, which included 949 healthcare professionals from 141 countries:
- 50% struggle to find information on a relevant or specific topic
- 44% find it challenging to keep up with the latest medical developments
- 41% struggle to find credible resources for information1
Healthcare professionals struggle to access the educational content they need for several reasons. Not only are they time-poor, but the treatment landscape has become more crowded and complex. As treatments today are becoming more specialized, prescribers must navigate shifting data and an abundance of messages from competing companies.
Adding to the mix, siloed team structures and strict compliance barriers separating medical and promotional messages have led to Medical Affairs and Commercial teams spending time, money, and energy developing two separate experiences to engage the same customer. The result is two teams competing for the healthcare professional’s attention, making it more difficult for the customer to sift through the array of messages and find the valuable information they are looking for.
But it does not have to be this way. As Gary Lyons, Director of Medical Strategy at Avalere Health, explains: “Scientific engagement is about taking healthcare professionals on a learning journey that keeps them engaged. It’s about creating an experience that keeps the journey alive and encourages them to come back for more. To achieve this, we need to integrate the approaches taken by the Medical Affairs and Commercial teams so we can optimize the small window of time healthcare professionals have to engage in content and learn new information.”
The relentless pursuit of relevance
Innovative biopharmaceutical companies are creating small, agile teams dedicated to encouraging collaboration and bridging the activities between the Medical and Commercial departments. These cross-functional teams combine expertise in science, strategy, creativity, technology, media, and analytics to develop a single unified experience across touchpoints—one that unites credible, digestible, and clear medical information with empathetic and emotionally resonant storytelling.
Data and insights are at the core of developing impactful experiences that are relevant today and continue to be relevant over time. However, too often insights are collected by different teams and housed in siloed databases, meaning crucial information is lost and a holistic picture of the customer never truly forms. By working cross-functionally, Medical and Commercial teams can combine their insights to build a a deeper view of the prescriber.
“Brands need to consider the total customer experience in relation to the product, disease education, services, and support a healthcare company offers its customers. The experience should address a collection of needs that include but are not limited to the strictly clinical, with the understanding that customers are whole people, living and working in broader communities, with all the needs, dynamics, and expectations that go along with that,” says Ryan Mason, Chief Marketing and Creative Officer at Avalere Health.
Once the experience has been launched, the data continuously generated at each touchpoint can be used to evolve the team’s understanding of the customer, providing the knowledge needed to iterate the experience and ensure it remains relevant over time.
“Relevance is never really ‘done.’ Customers change, the competition changes, the marketplace changes, and the world changes,” Ryan explains. “To thrive and succeed, brands must evolve coherently from the start and actively nurture their evolution along their lifecycle. This is a pursuit that requires varied expertise to both understand what is relevant and act on that understanding. We call this approach developing Living Brands and it requires a total team effort that involves every flavor of strategic, scientific, creative, activation, technologic, and analytical know-how.”
The art of storytelling
At the heart of creating relevant and engaging experiences is storytelling—it is how humans make meaning and is the essence of driving belief and behavior change.
“Ads, no matter how brilliantly crafted, are unlikely to be enough on their own. We need to move from an advertising- and messaging-driven model of communication to a content publishing and experiential approach. These engagements go beyond an advertisement. They validate, inform, explain, encourage, and inspire,” says Ryan.
Practicing authentic, effective storytelling in healthcare involves infusing the brand messages in a natural and unintrusive way. The stories can come from the brand itself or can be customer and patient stories that are elevated and amplified. Each piece of content invites customers to explore, interact, and engage in deep, meaningful ways, whether in person or online. Importantly, the content not only informs the customer, but also piques curiosity and meaningfully provokes, triggering interest and breaking through the fog of competitive communication.
By developing skilled cross-functional teams that combine science and storytelling with the right data, technology, and user experience, brands can develop engagements and experiences that better match the way the world works, and the way customers think and communicate. The result: healthcare professionals will better understand the relevance of life-changing therapies and technologies, navigating scientific data with ease so they can make the healthcare decisions that improve lives.
Download the full article for a real-life case study exploring how Avalere Health united art, technology, and science to inform and inspire rheumatologists. Get the full story.
Get in touch with Avalere Health to find out how we can help you create inspiring and engaging experiences for healthcare professionals.
1 PMLive. https://www.pmlive.com/pmhub/medical_education/wiley/white_papers_and_resources/how_can_you_engage_healthcare_professionals_online_practical_insights_from_our_2023_survey; [accessed October 24, 2023]
- Natasha Cowan, Senior Corporate Communications Manager, Avalere Health