Changing Face of Healthcare Communication

Authored by  Hareesh Tibrewala, Joint CEO of Mirum India 

Healthcare industry was already going through transformative changes, both in their business model and in the area of communication. Covid 19 has only accelerated these changes. Here are some thoughts on the trends in Healthcare communication : 

Changing role of sales-rep

The role of the sales rep in HCP engagement is changing. Pre-pandemic 90% of all HCP engagement was in-person. As per ZoomRx survey, during the pandemic this has dropped to 16%. And while this percentage is likely to increase again, it is unlikely to touch the pre-pandemic levels. Hence building digital channels, content and communities, for HCP engagement is becoming critical for brands. Also, these digital experiences need to be immersive and empathetic, so as to hold the attention of the HCP professional


We are seeing the emergence of numerous health-tech brands in the form of online pharmacies, appointment booking apps, wearables and patient communities. Traditional healthcare brands need to bring technology to the center of their HCP and customer outreach strategy. Tele-health, which became the prevalent means of patient-doctor engagement during the pandemic, is here to stay. Both, doctors and patients, have experienced how tele-health is more productive, cost effective and gives larger distribution reach. Thus, Healthcare brands need to start thinking about how they can leverage this new behavior, as part of their business model.

From Blockbusters to Nichebuster

Datamonitor’s report suggest that big pharma is moving from the traditional, aggressive, sales driven block-buster drugs, which had mass consumption potential, to more research and driven, niche-buster drugs that target niche diseases and fewer people. In a such a situation, digital will start playing an even more important role in reaching out to this needle-in-a-haystack kind of target market for niche drugs.

Omnichannel Engagement

There is a persistent narrative around pricing pressures on drug companies, resulting in margin erosion. In order to retain margins, pharma companies will need to move from a pure product model to a service-based model. A service-based model will require a far deeper understanding of the customers, and building an omnichannel communication strategy to service the customer across multiple touch points. An omnichannel strategy will also require breaking down of silos between internal teams such sales, marketing and medical teams, and building a single view of the customer. 

In general, healthcare communication, needs to embrace technology, get a deeper understanding of their customers, and also move from a top-down approach to a more agile marketing framework.

 DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and does not necessarily subscribe to it. 


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