Healthcare trends in the digital age: Expectations of today's doctors

Doctors are being flooded with an excessive amount of information and burdened with an excessive work overload. They are less optimistic about the future and are increasingly thinking about leaving the profession, according to healthcare trends from a survey led by Mediately1.
Pharma companies with their activities and digital tools are the medium that doctors rely on to stay on track with the latest findings and news. However, it is not always easy for pharma companies to meet the expectations of doctors, as their expectations can be quite high.
In this blog post, you will learn about healthcare trends that pharma companies should take into account to meet the expectations of doctors, based on the Digital Doctor Survey 2022.

Doctors search for information on digital channels

More than 67% of respondents use digital tools, such as mobile medical apps, as their primary medical information source. There is strong evidence that independent and digital channels are the most dominant ones.
Healthcare trends are showing an increase in digital channels and digital content. A total of 93% of European doctors consider the simplified access to education and healthcare information as the main benefit of digitalisation.


Personalised content is what doctors want and need

A total of 95% of the surveyed doctors agreed they want to receive information from pharmaceutical companies but only if it's relevant. Do not forget, MDs are consumers too2. They expect an omnichannel experience that is personalised and efficient. Earning their loyalty in the crowded healthcare sphere requires a tailored approach, based on each specialty’s interests.
To make sure you stand out and get noticed, try to be specific about the communication channel you want to use. Your message might be perfect, but nobody will hear it if you choose the wrong channel to communicate it.

Make Clinical Practice Guidelines your best friend

One thing the pharmaceutical industry should understand is the history and purpose of Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG), as well as their potential value in making informed clinical decisions.
Clinical practice guidelines are evidence-based recommendations that aim to optimise patient outcomes by providing healthcare providers with the most up-to-date information on diagnosis, treatment and care.
A total of 94% of doctors always – or at least most of the time – make sure that they follow the latest CPG, as they can help ensure that patients receive the best possible care. Hospitals and physicians who keep themselves up to date with the latest knowledge feel confident that they are providing the best possible care by adhering to Clinical Practice Guidelines3.
This is why the complex link between CPG and pharma marketing cannot be ignored4. Doctors usually read the latest international guidelines or attend courses covering the topics at on-site or online congresses. Based on the survey findings, 39% of respondents prefer digital sources and working with an updated digital clinical tool derived from CPG. On average, the vast majority (81%) of MDs follow up to 5 guidelines every week.

Physicians are adopting digital tools more than ever before

There is no doubt digital tools are a lifesaver. Literally. When it comes to prescribing the correct dosage, doctors have to carefully follow dosing guidelines to avoid medication dosing errors, which can lead to ineffective treatment or dangerous side effects. Research carried out by the American Medical Association has shown that nine out of ten physicians view digital health tools as an advantage for patient care, finds AMA digital health research5.
In Europe, 60% of the Digital Doctor survey respondents check the dosing frequently or every time they prescribe a drug. This means that results must be clear and precise. And this is where digitalisation makes a difference. Documents, which can be over 100 pages long, can now be converted in a usable form that includes all the valuable pieces of information.
This is the easiest and most reliable way to ensure MDs use them easily, with 85% saying they would use the latest guidelines in a digital format.
Pharma's job is to keep up to date with the latest changes regarding dosing and try to approach targeted medical specialties with digital solutions. 

What are the most digitally-inclined medical specialities?

Digital tools are most often used by internists (57%), oncologists (53%), cardiologists (50%) and GPs (47%). In most cases, they are also the ones who check drug SmPCs and the newest guidelines on the internet, not in printed charts.

Doctors in general feel supported by pharma

More than half of respondents (63%) in the survey appreciate pharma's effort to interact with them and believe representatives understand what they need.
However, pharma needs to understand the influence pharma marketing has on doctors' decision-making. By using digital channels and personalised content, doctors can easily and quickly get the right pieces of information that will help them connect with their patients and spend less time searching. 
The combination of live events and live visits, intermixed with digital content turns out to be the most effective technique.  

Wrap up

The healthcare insights listed above can be a useful tool for pharma companies to learn about doctors' behaviour and actively co-create the digital healthcare sphere. Choosing the right way of promoting a product to the right audience can have a positive effect on your interaction with physicians and help you implement strategic solutions.  

The results are based on the Digital Doctor survey, one of the biggest European surveys for doctors. This year, nearly 7000 participants from 9 countries joined and shared their thoughts on trending medical changes, work satisfaction, and interaction with pharma.

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  1. Mediately (2022). Digital Doctor 2022. General Report.
  2. Endeavor. Consumerism in Healthcare: The Impact on Physician Relationship Management
  3. Mens Sana Monographs. Clinical Practice Guidelines and Industry.
  4. Klein Bob. What pharma can learn from CPG.
  5. Fox Andrea. Physician adoption of digital health tools is accelerating, AMA research shows
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