Medical Education is crucial to the success of the pharmaceutical industry. It is not surprising that pharmaceutical companies have an invested interest into building effective medical programs to educate healthcare professionals (HCPs) in alternative ways to improve patient care.
In an ever-changing industry, HCPs are constantly overwhelmed with ‘big data’ with very little time to digest any true value. It is thus the responsibility of the pharmaceutical companies to devote time and effort in developing appropriate medical resources, and ensure the safe and effective use of any product. While stringent regulation (such as the APBI Code of Practice) exists to monitor how HCPs are targeted, each company’s interpretation of the guidelines is causing mayhem of what can and cannot be provided, both commercially and medically speaking. Consequently, more and more HCPs are requesting independent content to be created by third-party agencies. The resulting collaboration between pharmaceutical companies and third-party agencies is now stronger than ever before, however it is clear the communication strategy is still driven by the product owners, not the target audience.
Despite the debate on who should be creating medical content, there is no doubt Medical Education brings great value to the healthcare industry when conducted appropriately. The landscape of drug development is constantly evolving, therefore continued Medical Education is essential to allow HCPs to reach well-informed decisions.
How the education is achieved is the million dollar question (in reality >$1m in revenue). Recent times have shown that using a digital platform (phone, tablet, websites etc.) allows HCPs to actively source medical information beyond the 1:1 consultations. It is however worth bearing in mind that a multichannel communication strategy is both complex and costly but can be rewarding for both the developer and HCP. Additionally, delivering information via a number of devices allows the personalised touch – HCPs are able to choose which device they prefer and when. Companies are also investigating how content can be personalised giving the freedom back to HCPs to carry out self-learning in their own time, shifting the focus on education instead of promotional activities.
Information can be empowering up until its credibility is brought into question. With time being limited and valuable for HCPs, it is clear information (and thus education) needs to be both credible and accessible. Adding to the complexity is the fact patients access medical information online largely which is inaccurate, biased or incomplete. Therefore the challenge for pharmaceutical companies and partners is to provide high quality, user friendly and accessible education to benefit HCPs, patients and the healthcare system.
Like all types of information, it is empowering for all parties when the credibility of the information is maintained across all platforms. Only then can HCPs be confident in utilising the available medical information to reach key decisions and provide the highest quality of patient care. All medical information should be accurate, fair and balanced for HCPs to gain any authentic value.
If you would like to find out more about the power of Medical Education, please contact us.
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