The Shifts Changing the Pharma Industry

Written by The Rounds

By Tim Rice, CEO

Healthcare has always been at the forefront of innovation. Practices and procedures that are accepted today, may not always be accepted tomorrow. As patients, we expect our physicians to base their diagnosis and treatment (Tx) choices on the knowledge they have gained from experience and evidence.

However, the challenge many physicians face is that the field of medicine travels at the speed of light. They often find themselves being stretched to the limits and historically, the tools they have been using for years to communicate are becoming outdated. For example, a staple for many physicians used to be beepers and fax machines. Some hospitals still use beepers but most rely on their mobile devices. Before cell phones, hospitals were concerned about radiofrequency but since wifi was introduced, this issue is not as big of a concern. Fax machines are still a critical tool for exchanging content by HCPs but their function is quite comparable to that of an email. The shift to secure online transmission and electronic medical records (EMR) has grown exponentially. 

After seeing how much the world of medicine has changed, connecting physicians to accurate, relevant and timely information is critical to our healthcare system now more than ever. As many physicians can recall, knowledge exchange from peers and experts used to take place in the doctors’ lounge of their local hospital. This environment created a sense of community among physicians and allowed them to learn from each other, share experiences and discuss challenging cases. This lounge was vital in giving physicians a way to connect that would, in turn, provide the best healthcare experience for their patients.

Tim Rice, CEO of The Rounds

In today’s digital world, many of us turn to self-diagnosing ourselves prior to visiting our doctor. Many have also self-treated themselves based on a friend’s experience or recall seeing something on Facebook that corresponds with symptoms they might have. I know it can be difficult to wait to see your doctor, however, your doctor is more trustworthy than the internet. 

It takes years to become a doctor and what many people do not know is that they are required to constantly take part in ongoing development to stay in practice. A physician is someone that we can rely on to diagnose and treat us accurately because of the knowledge that they continue to gain throughout their years in practice.

Personally, I want my physician to have the ability to connect with accurate, relevant and timely information to ensure my patient journey is a successful one each time I see them. 

Reflecting back to the days of the in-person exchange of knowledge in the doctor’s lounge, we have seen a shift in the way physicians find this knowledge. Many physicians are starting to rely on alternative channels to connect with this information they would have previously received in their local hospitals’ lounge. However, this information is disconnected, difficult to find and does not provide the opportunity to connect and interact with their peers.

Fortunately, the pharma industry has also recognized this shift in how physicians are gathering knowledge and information. Pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers can no longer rely on old school methods of massive field forces going door to door. Approximately 56% of physicians are actually deemed inaccessible or access restricted because of the demand on their time that rep visits occupy. 

Many rep visits are considered to not be relevant, reliable or valuable to their practice and interrupt the physician’s workday. High valued physicians average 12 rep visits per day and each visit is 4 minutes long. That means that almost an hour of their day and 6-8 patient visits could be impacted by reps. On top of that, physicians don’t get paid nor can they bill for a rep visit. This makes rep visits not worth their while. In addition, sending fax blasts and mailers to physicians or placing an ad in a medical journal does not provide a customer-focused approach that the physicians of today are looking for.

The challenge when determining how this information gets shared is directly related to the high regulation in the field of pharma. In today’s digital space, what you say, who you say it to and how someone accesses that information is almost impossible to regulate. Although social media platforms may seem like a great place to share this information, physicians are not inclined to join an open platform like Facebook or Twitter to share this information because their main focus is to protect themselves from public and patient scrutiny. Physicians are also not motivated to join medical groups as they are disconnected from other specialties and are typically for viewing only. These barriers limit a physician’s ability to connect with their peers and colleagues in a secure environment.

So where can physicians go to connect and access information in the digital age of medicine?

Insert, The Rounds.

The Rounds has embraced the shift in the pharma industry by allowing members – registered Canadian physicians – to access accurate, relevant and timely information for free and on their own terms. As a secure collaboration network trusted by physicians, members can exchange knowledge and support their peers and medical experts by learning, sharing and discussing their needs to improve healthcare outcomes. The Rounds serves physicians of all specialties that are looking to access up-to-date therapeutic information and engage with industry in the reimagined “doctors lounge”.