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Difference between Digital, Tech & Social Media – A Pharma Perspective

Pharmaceutical companies are consistently striving to keep pace with developments and innovations brought by digital technology. Cloud, mobile communications, the internet of things (IoT) and advanced analytics are among the technological advancements that are significantly influencing the healthcare industry in the ways they have disrupted retail, media, education, and banking, writes Hiren Dhuvad, CEO of Indigital Technologies.

Digital transformation & disruptive technologies, coupled with social media marketing, have a huge impact on pharma companies. Well aware of the disruptive potential, pharma executives are experimenting with a wide range of digital initiatives. However, they are finding it hard to determine what initiatives to scale up and how, as there is no idea about what shape digital disruption will take a few years from now.

Digital & Technology

Digital approaches, when combined with the latest technologies, will help the pharma companies to optimise all their existing processes for more effectiveness and productivity. There are many areas where digital developments have driven great value for healthcare sector so far – personalised patient care, using data to drive superior insight and decision making, virtual care through video consultations, improved diagnostics & treatment and so on. Further, in-clinic launches of new products use to happen via various gimmick based print inputs, but now AR-VR-MR technologies are being used, digital in-clinic detailing has taken over physical print VA detailing with the help of CRM/CLM technology platforms; and sales & marketing cycle meets that used to happen physically in hotels, now, happen over virtual event technology platforms.

Technology experts around the world are introducing first of its kind digital solutions to bring digital transformation in many old school processes of the pharmaceutical market – tech-enabled patient education, personalised video prescriptions, tech enabled in-clinic camps, video conferencing and automation of data collection and cloud-based rendering technology.

Technology is reshaping healthcare in many significant ways. Today, patients are becoming more engaged with their health as they are empowered by the vast amount of health information available on the Internet as well as by fitness wearables such as the Apple Watch, etc. Also, pharma companies have greater access to patient data, including medical history, insurance claims, chronic disease, etc., which is a source of valuable insights. The advanced analytics and natural-language-processing capabilities are significantly assisting the clinical decision process.

Further, the end consumers or patients have greater knowledge about product performance that pharma companies have always controlled. Thanks to digital technology which has opened an array of new, independent information channels. As patients become more aware of the health issue as well as the treatment plan, pharma companies will have to build the capabilities to react rapidly to these new sources of information and remain the main source of influence on the performance of their products.

Social Media Marketing for Pharma Companies

Social media virtually invades almost every facet of an individual’s life. Today, patients are extensively using social media for healthcare research and to fetch important information regarding drug details, doctor availability, etc. In fact, doctors are also highly active on social media and pharma companies either communicate with doctors – prescription market or with the patient – OTC market. Therefore, it is important for pharma companies to be present and be active on social media. After all, it is a perfect conduit for them to connect with doctors as well as patients.

In the case of Rx drugs, where the product is promoted to the doctors and not directly to the end consumer, pharma companies can leverage social media to some extent by adhering to some guidelines and best practices. Social media platforms can be easily used to target doctors as customers. In the same way, pharma companies can target patients as their end customers in the case of OTC drugs. Social media platforms serve as interesting tools to interact with customers. This will also help in strengthening the company’s reputation & brand positioning.

Summing Up!

Digital technology and social media will continue to drive significant value for pharma companies. It is the time for pharma executives to tap on emerging trends to make their products and services more personalised, patients and physicians more engaged, and product research and decisions more data driven.


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