The pharmaceutical industry used to display a more conservative stance toward the adoption of new technologies, the ongoing pandemic acted as a trigger, forcing the pharmaceutical sector to accelerate the digital transformation timeline.
According to a GlobalData survey, 35% of pharmaceutical industry professionals believe that the COVID-19 pandemic sped up digital transformation in the pharmaceutical industry by more than five years. The respondents coming from Europe and North America seemed to be particularly affected by digitalization efforts, with 40% of respondents highlighting that the digital transformation was accelerated by more than five years.
In India alone, the Pharma industry has seen a shocking 59% increase in sales during the emergence of the 2nd wave of the pandemic. According to a sales audit data from the world's largest pharmaceutical market research firm, IMS Health, the Indian Pharma Market (IPM) grew 59% in April, 2021 versus 16% t in March, 2021 due to the low base effect in April, 2020 and sharp surge in Covid-19-related sales. The major trends attributing to the success of the Indian Pharma’s market are:
The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the daily operations of healthcare providers (HCPs) overnight to virtual interactions with both patients and pharma companies concurrently with lasting impact. Evidence suggests there is no going back and that both HCPs and patients are extracting great value in virtual engagements through new virtual tools like Zoom and Microsoft’s teams. In addition, HCPs have seen pharma companies change what they communicate about beyond just product information by embracing these new digital tools and integrating them into their business as usual
As well as more virtual communications another key shift is methods and devices that support self-administration and remote monitoring are now more valued by healthcare providers than prior to the pandemic. This makes complete sense as HCP’s operate remotely and is backed up by research: 65% of all HCPs said they value self-administration methods for patients (auto-injectors or on body devices) more than they did preCOVID-19
2021 required pharmaceutical companies to change their perspective: the patient is at the centre of all your digital activities. For this, you need a sophisticated CXM strategy and comprehensive information about your customers and their needs. A customer experience that inspires and captivates your customers and speaks to their hearts is based on a great deal of consolidated user data. This is where artificial intelligence comes into play: with its help, you can easily collect, manage and analyze large amounts of data automatically. This information can now be collected in a GDPR-compliant manner - which is particularly important for the extremely sensitive patient data in the pharmaceutical sector.
According to a study from 2019, 89 percent of all patients inform themselves about health topics. The pandemic and the lockdown last year may have pushed this number even higher. One thing is clear: pharmaceutical companies must offer their customers relevant content - at anytime and anywhere.
The best way to do this is with intelligent content and asset management systems. They orchestrate and manage all content of the customer journey across the different channels of your company. The systems always play out exactly the content that your user deems relevant in his or her journey. This saves your company a lot of time and effort. Your employees can concentrate fully on designing new formats and content, your customers benefit from exciting content that really interests them. That sounds like a win-win situation.
The pharma industry has promptly adopted these strategies to adapt them during the COVID pandemic. Companies such as Practo, 1Mg and other app based pharma-ecommerce platforms rose to prominence during the last year and a half by constantly adding more attributes to their portfolio. For example, Practo, Pre-COVID provided virtual assistance to patients by allowing text chats with HCP’s. But due to COVID-19 social distancing protocols, it now offers video consultations, phone consultations, free follow ups and an on-demand pharmacy all in one app. It’s changes like this that help companies in the pharma sector stay afloat and ahead of the trend during these trying times.