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What Do HCPs Demand? An On-Demand Speakers Bureau

1-on-1 physician engagement with subject-matter experts and key opinion leaders might become a necessity that life-sciences companies should lean into, says one HCP-communications veteran.

Like many other professionals, physicians and nurses had no choice but to continue their education via virtual platforms over the past two years of pandemic. In that time, however, many healthcare professionals became comfortable enough with virtual such that the learning opportunities they now desire are broader.

For instance, a 2021 survey by U.K.-based EPG Health highlights the continuing shift in how HCPs want to consume information: 85 percent said they want access to non-accredited e-learning that conforms to their schedule.

“Of course, creating videos with a thought leader and hosting the video on a disease-state website or brand website is an established tactic,” notes Tracy Doyle, managing partner for engagement strategy for medical-communications firm eNOVA, “What is new, however, is offering short-form, modular videos that tell a continuous story. HCPs want downloadable podcasts or short videos that are in a modular learning format, giving them the convenience to engage with content of interest.”

MM0322eNovaTracyDavis.pngBut that’s not all, says Doyle (in photo). “Based on HCP preferences, the industry is being challenged to go beyond the traditional speakers-bureau mindset to establish a customer-centric model that means rethinking the traditional approach of face-to-face engagement—specifically, adding the ability for HCPs to request live engagement through the digital channel.” In fact, the EPG Health survey found that 58 percent of responding HCPs say they definitely want such interactive learning online, while another 35 percent say they’d consider it.

“Enabling the motivated HCP to request not just a presentation but also a scheduled live connection with a speaker or a medical-science liaison is game-changing,” says Doyle. “The need for internal on-demand speakers bureaus is growing because many HCPs are driven by the speed and convenience of remote engagement. On-demand speakers bureaus will become part of the rubric.”

On-Demand Engagement Has One Caveat
This growing need does present a challenge for the pharmaceutical and medical-device industry, Doyle warns. “One-on-one engagement between an HCP learner and a paid HCP speaker is viewed as a high-risk activity because of fear of off-label discussion.”

However, “an on-demand speakers bureau creates an opportunity for internal stakeholders to collaborate and evaluate compliance risk, define business rules, and create a monitoring plan that will guide and shape the future of their customer-centric, peer-to-peer engagement.”

“With the right technology platform, an on-demand speakers bureau is not only a possibility. It is a reality.”

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