Article: Digital Tools at the Point of Care offer Practice Extensions During COVID-19 - April 2020
Digital Tools at the Point of Care as a Practice Extension
The theme of this discussion was digital tools at the point of care as a practice extension, especially in light of the current COVID-19 environment. There’s a perception that most physicians right now have closed their practices. The reality is more of a mixed bag.
POC experts like panelist Linda Ruschau tell us that “the data and the research from our advisory boards shows that physicians, particularly in the more chronic or serious conditions like oncology, still want many of their patients coming in. Obviously, they’ve changed their protocol and screening, and they’re limiting the number of care partners that are able to accompany the patient. This is especially true outside of COVID-19 hot zones.”
We also know that doctors are hungry for information on COVID.
POC companies have created relevant content, in addition to basics around best hand-washing techniques, providing needed condition-specific information as it relates to increased risk factors or where extra precautions are recommended. Now more than ever, physicians need our industry’s support and patient education.
POC Landscape Will Continue to be Dynamic
“The education delivered at the point of care is still critically important, but the question is now ‘how do we deliver that message”. Not just in terms of individual tactics but also the ability to be integrated into an overall strategic outlook that treats patients as individuals, as humans. “As we still move into this non-personal world, we can’t lose the human aspect.” – David Windhausen
1. QR Codes
“This has required a very unique and rapid pivot in the point of care space from mediums and platforms heavily focused on getting people to engage and touch – all those interactive devices. It’s fascinating. Just as consumers, from checking in at the airline to the ATM to the grocery store, there’s now this not only resistance but many times a mandate not to touch.” – Linda R.
3. Physician Access/Detailing
The first consideration for the shift to e-detailing right now is the customer’s experience. The physician’s needs and landscape in which they are providing care right now should be the first priority. Digital assets being created right now should be focused on adding value, as well as with consideration towards building a long-term relationship. Pharma’s use of email to physicians is up significantly during the COVID-19 crisis, delivering resources and education around co-morbidities.
Changes Now Will Have Lasting Effect
“This will impact long-term how we think about digital in our outreach.” – David W.
1. Avoid Trying To Leap-Frog Into The Future
This is a continuum. Where you are now and what you can do to have the most impact on your specific audience should be identified by building a road map. This moment of rapid acceleration is going to get you there quicker than you were going before, but you’re not going to suddenly leap-frog into the future. It must still be thought through in order to identify the right long-term strategy. “It’s doing things in a meaningful way but you’re not completely abandoning your strategy in the way that you’re approaching things. You’re just evolving that.” – Linda R.
2. Shift to a Mindset of “Virtual Health vs “Telemedicine”
The COVID-19 landscape has accelerated this practice, and for chronic conditions, is establishing more rigorous protocols. Practitioners who haven’t dealt with virtual health before are being forced to figure it out quickly and, it’s different disease state to disease state, indication, specialty etc.
Understanding the Physician Objectives and Business Model Impacts for Virtual Health:
- A more well-rounded experience for patients, whether in-office or virtual
- Complying with state guidelines
- Picking a platform and technology that’s HIPPA compliant
- Factoring in how payers/Medicaid/Medicare are going to reimburse
3. Leverage Data as Part of Your Marketing Strategy
4. Improve the Content Creation Process
The Final Word
Patients are scared right now, not just from a health standpoint but from an economic standpoint. They want more information. Marketers looking to make a difference should be focusing on promoting savings offers, and highlighting compliance and adherence to avoid increased risks. “My hope is that in the end, we have clients who’ve adapted, been more resilient, more responsive, and also just an overall better perception and receptivity to pharma in general from both doctors and patients.” – Linda R.