Reaching doctors where they want to be engaged

Andrew J. Watson
Andrew J. Watson
Andrew J. Watson
Assoc. VP, sales and marketing, Wockhardt USA

Reaching physicians at the point of care is thought to be the ultimate marketing tool. However, this approach is intrusive and many physicians reject it as invasive, so many pharma marketers are reconsidering it.

As pharma marketers, we're faced with shrinking promotional budgets and physicians' time constraints—of doctors who see reps, about 40% will only see detailers with a scheduled appointment. If your sales force isn't being seen, then rep-delivered materials intended to influence conversations at the point of care, such as posters, patient brochures, and in-office promotional materials, can't serve their purpose.

Modern tools that leverage technology—such as e-tools used at the point of care—are on the upswing. Less than two years ago. electronic medical record (EMR)-placed ads had a very low level of awareness. Now, according to a recent article on, many pharmaceutical companies are running such ads.

The fact is, e-tools used at the point of care are valuable. But you need to be wary—not only are physicians rejecting the intrusion, but legislation is pending in 11 states to limit pharma's ability to promote brands using this space.

Is “near point-of-care” the answer? Provider messaging that happens near the point of care has many potential benefits. It is less intrusive, time-consuming and expensive. It provides the ability to target messages and get more granular, and makes it possible to identify a condition and “recommend” a drug that can treat it at a critical juncture.

Instinctive Data, a HIPPA-compliant platform that makes near-point-of-care advertising possible, is one way to help reap those benefits.  Instinctive Data uses real-time medical claims data to deliver targeted messages to doctors, right near the point of care. As a result, physicians can identify patients affected by particular symptoms and provide valuable tools and information.

It's been about a year since we initiated the program, using it for  Bromfed DM Cough Syrup, a prescription medicine for the relief of cough and upper respiratory symptoms. The interaction rate—57%—is unusual. Plus, hundreds of physicians ordered patient education, co-pay cards, and samples for their patients through the ID platform.

As pharma marketers, we're faced with the never-ending challenge of effectively reaching our audience and delivering the right messages to the right customers. The evolution of near-point-of-care technologies enables us to do both.