Doctors and the influence of the digital boom

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Scott Freeman

Doctors might be highly capable, highly competent individuals for whom saving a life is just another hour on the job. But they’re also people, seeking engagement and enjoyment in their day-to-day lives. And pharmaceutical companies are taking notice.

Underground, medicine, doctor, physician

Instant access to the latest chatter isn’t just reserved for millennials and generation Z. It is tapped by busy healthcare professionals looking for a well of information.

Physicians and doctors 

The Internet of Things (IoT) is well-suited to the busy lives of healthcare professionals who maintain tight appointments and training schedules. Consecutive meetings with specialist pharma reps can be demanding and time-consuming, whereas hoping online from your device is a far more accessible and immersive source of information.

Content can also be targeted directly to doctor-based forums, speeding up the distribution process, while complying with rules and regulations that govern communication with the public. Groups such as Doctors Hangout and the British Medical Association now boast hundreds of thousands of followers.

Public Health England itself uses social media to share news and information about the sector, and engage with patients. Our team at The Operators have previously helped Public Health England run an anti-smoking campaign, which soon expanded into a YouTube takeover. We experimented filming various liquids moving through water to raise awareness of the damage smoking can do to your blood.

In this context, the internet might just be the most powerful modern channel to raise awareness of pharmaceutical treatments and best practice. Indeed, it has the power to revolutionize brand reputation and influence prescription decisions to make or break drug sales.

Want more? 5 thoughts for physicians switching patients to biosimilars

Pharma communications and marketing 

Although online communications are still highly regulated, pharma brands are beginning to brave the digital world. They’re now discovering the power of creative digital campaigns to put treatments in front of healthcare professionals. And doctors are engaging.

Online animation, for instance, is effortlessly accessible and tend to take on a life of its own. The internet is full of emails, blogs and images, but a whopping 92% of internet users regularly share video content across the web. And explainer videos have proven to increase conversion rates by 20%.

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Still of AstraZeneca Animation 

Animation can show the inside, or outside of a human body, without disturbing a viewer with graphic detail. It can breakdown complex medical jargon using visual aids or quirky characters. And it can be created on a reasonable budget, within a tight turnaround…if the creative process is carried out in the right way.

In a recent campaign for AstraZeneca, retro 2D animation was brought to life in the nick of time for a new treatment launch. From black and white storyboards to a full-colour film, the campaign could be delivered on its tight turnaround largely due to the flexibility of digital mediums.

Astrazeneca medicine

Story board for AstraZeneca Animation 

As brands vie for attention, online video provides the means to capture it. By conveying scientific detail in this easily accessible, visual format, brands can snowball the reach of a treatment launch.

Fun and fast, the internet is a means of blending entertainment and information – the right message, sold in a visually engaging way, has the power to set healthcare professionals on the path to selecting a brand's latest treatment. All in a fraction of the time it would take to meet a rep face to face.

Digital channels may seem somewhat intimidating, considering the challenges of user generated content, continuously changing algorithms and ambiguous regulatory guidelines. Nevertheless, pharma brands must adapt and evolve.

Doctors do use the internet, and they are influenced it, just like your average human being. Unlocking its power can lead to drastic changes in the uptake of new products.