CoViD-19 outbreak is radically changing almost everything we do: how we work, how we socialize, how we manage our health, how we take care of family members.
Lockdown and social distancing imposed by the Government to slow the spread of the virus and avoid healthcare system collapse will probably last for few weeks, but how long will it really take to go back to normal? It might not be back to normal immediately and after this emergency period we will probably have to cope with this new way of life for a long transitory period, could be months? years?
Patients, and consumers are therefore evolving their habits and needs towards a greater use of “home resources”, that means:
- home services, to be properly monitored and treated by physicians (including have access to drugs, even prescribed ones): telehealth platforms, drugs home delivery, point of contacts to autonomously retrieve primary and specialized information (call centers, chat bots, …)
- e-commerce, to easily buy usual brands without leaving home, meaning both general web platform and online branded stores
At the same time, Health Care Professionals will require:
- safe and protected workplaces, where contamination is avoided or at least mitigated through protective screens and devices, dedicated areas for sick people and sanitized paths inside the pharmacy / physician’s office
- remote management tools, to maintain proper relationships with their patients and ensure daily activities, through virtual interaction tools, telehealth platforms, data digitalization and integration throughout all the network
- real time up-to-date scientific information, staying in contact with colleagues, institutions and pharma companies via remote congresses and virtual events
In this context, also Companies are facing unexpected challenges, needing to answer to key questions such as:
- How to manage sales force teams? How to leverage on them? How long alternative activities (remote training, master data cleaning) will be sustainable?
- What to do with the “freezed budget” of cancelled field initiatives (promotional meetings, congresses)?
- How to ensure a level of communication and services to HCPs appropriate to the new context?
- How to interpret growth of e-commerce and digital channels? How long this increase will last? Is it temporary or might become a standard?
It’s clear that Life Sciences Companies need to radically change their way of business to rapidly adapt to new Health Care Professionals’ ways of working and needs:
- Ensuring REPs are able to work remotely through virtual tools and digital promo material, to continue spreading scientific information to HCPs (still being properly paid for this, regardless the context!)
- Starting the definition of new interaction modes for remote congresses and events based on virtual socialization tools and dedicated “rooms”, to ensure education and formative credits to HCPs, who this way can also remain in contacts with their colleagues
- Moving budget to the development of first aid services such as tools and processes for remote interactions with patients and protection devices for the workplace, to support HCPs in guaranteeing assistance continuity