Hybrid and Virtual Meetings at a Time of Transformation for Pharma

October 4, 2021
jennifer.tate@concisegroup.com

In the past two years, pharma organisations have focused primarily on the pandemic and the evolving healthcare crisis, by enabling access to medicine and supporting Health Care Practitioners (HCPs) and patient needs in new ways. 

All recognize the significant global human impact of COVID-19, such as the implications of rising costs, delayed treatments, and mental health challenges. 

But there has been a fundamental shift in the way pharma organises itself and adapts to meet the challenges of its new reality. How are organizations changing to accommodate the new environment? 

For many pharma and healthcare providers, the pandemic has been the catalyst to make changes that they have been looking to implement for years: technological innovation, virtual and digital interactions, new ways of working and a shift towards a customer and patient focus. 

Moving forward, it’s critical that pharma continues to accelerate digitally enabled business models, use technology to innovate products and services, and build new and meaningful ways to interact. 

We are the Perfect Engagement Partners 

As part of the Encore family, Concise seamlessly brings together event strategy, platform, production and creative expertise. ​ 

What sets us apart is our partnership approach — listening to what you want to achieve, understanding why that is important and working with you to achieve it.  

The combination of our pharma and healthcare specialist knowledge, our storytelling engagement platform Chime LiveSM, together with Encore  production capabilities, is a robust one-stop solution. 

We drive the outcomes needed, before, during and after an event – collaborating with to define what success looks like and seamlessly delivering every meeting, with measurable results. 

Often, we are helping steer clients through their first virtual and hybrid ventures. We mitigate concerns and share ways to minimise risk, to ensure all experiences are engaging, impactful and run smoothly. 

We regularly involve our production teams located in multiple global locations, benefitting planners, presenters and participants with local time-zone support. We appreciate regional, time-zone, language and accessibility challenges, offering faultless solutions through our storytelling platform, Chime Live. 

Read about how we helped a large-scale MedComms agency choreograph their Pharma event held regionally in APAC, EMEA and the Americas/LATAM.  

We Know the Industry 

We work directly with global pharmaceutical and healthcare clients, and partner with many leading Medcomms agencies, to create and choreograph small, medium and large-scale, multi-day, multi-session meetings and events. 

We understand the strict regulatory, compliance and security protocols that pharma and healthcare operates under and keep up to date on the latest international Codes of Practice. 

Our pharma, healthcare and Medcomms clients’ events regularly have considerable amounts of content to cover, so our help with choreographing these sessions proves invaluable. 

Content approval via Veeva can be tricky, so we know to build timelines that accommodate pre-approval of a show and allow for last minute adjustments. We remain flexible and agile throughout a production lifecycle, to help ensure all session content is compliant. 

Our knowledge of the industry tells us that a keen eye for detail is essential. We are mindful of the medical language, grammar and punctuation that needs consideration. 

Support for Healthcare Practitioners (HCPs) 

Across medical specialties and therapeutic areas, the treatment of patients has fundamentally changed.  

COVID-19 has driven lasting changes in what HCPs need and value – and they have rapidly adjusted how they deliver care.  

Consumer and provider attitudes toward telehealth have improved since the pandemic began. According to Accenture’s ‘Healthcare Provider Survey May 2020’: 

  • 78% of HCPs saw a decrease in the number of patients visiting their practice during COVID-19 
  • 36% of patients asked to have treatment remotely 
  • 60% of patients want to use technology more for communicating with healthcare providers and managing their conditions 

 

And Mckinsey’s ’COVID-19 and Commercial Pharma Navigating an Uneven Recovery’ report cites: 

  • Many HCPs value self-administration methods for patients and tools for remote monitoring. 

As a result, the support HCPs need from pharma companies has changed. Pharma is expanding their communication with HCPs beyond product information, and finding more value in providing additional services that meet their most persistent needs; practical support to deliver close patient care, instructions for in-home care and details about lab testing locations and care sites. 

At Reuters’ ‘Pharma Customer Engagement Europe 2021’, IQVIA’s Liz Murray says that “Virtual interaction with pharma has been beneficial for HCPs, with many citing more control over their schedules which made the relationship more flexible and versatile”. 

Evolving models for Pharma-HCP communication and HCP-patient care will likely optimise a mix of virtual, hybrid and in-person delivery. Pharma companies should look to: 

  • Facilitate process development that eases administration 
  • Unlock insights available to produce valuable, differentiated content and enhanced experiences for HCPs 
  • Create messages that drive more impact 

 

Ensuring content is value-driven involves massive collaboration and integration across functions, said Sandra Silvestri, Global Head of Medical, General Medicines, Sanofi at Reuters’ Pharma Customer Engagement Europe 2021. “The content has to be simple, relevant and trust-worthy. We always go back to having a deep understanding of the customer needs and their personas, through research, analytics and AI (Artificial Intelligence) and tailoring the content”. 

 

Maximise Interaction to Replicate In-Person Event Experiences 

The great thing about our event solutions is we can take any meeting and turn it into an invaluable interactive virtual or hybrid experience, incorporating all event elements that would have created value in-person. 

This removes limitations on accessibility and participation, whilst driving engagement and raising the energy of the virtual room.  

While offering invaluable learnings, this approach provides a significant return on investment. Reps come away with a detailed point of view that shows them when marketing is landing. And as Chime Live is a white-label platform, everything can be designed to feel in-line with your meeting or brand identity. 

Interaction between participant groups, presenters and panellists, is facilitated by introducing collaborative tools into the event choreography, such as in-the-moment polling and Q&A. 

Our diagnostic tool ‘Conditional Forms’ provides options for in-platform training and exploration. It can help foster collaborative working from multiple regions and disciplines. 

Results generated from this functionality can be fed into the event and help shape its outcome.  

Adapting to a Hybrid Field Model 

Contact time with reps reduced considerably as a result of the pandemic, with a large drop in face-to-face engagement, and a strong increase in remote and virtual interactions. 

HCPs are restricting who can enter the office for professional reasons – meaning no pharmaceutical reps – with many planning to implement this restriction permanently. 

And despite sales reps wanting to communicate (virtually) now more than ever with HCPs, they are struggling to be relevant. HCPs want sales reps to have a better understanding of their needs and expectations, now and after the pandemic. 

With physical access and face-to-face meetings limited, new ways of creating meaningful connections and relationships between HCPs and pharma sales reps are required.  Many pharmaceutical companies are hosting Round Tables with physician groups to facilitate academic discussion.  Hybrid or virtual Round Tables often work well for physicians who often cannot spare the time to participate in fully sponsored or in-person events. 

Silvestri, Global Head of Medical, General Medicines, Sanofi, expressed:  There is market research to say that pre-pandemic, we, as an industry, were still providing 70% push messaging. What does it really mean to listen and to understand what the customer is telling us? The customer has been telling us that promotional information is not what they need.” 

So, now’s the time for pharma to mobilise their digital and data-driven field teams for the future; determine the key ideas that will build a robust hybrid field force model and equip reps to deliver at a strategic level. 

To work effectively in this context, sales reps will need new skills to help shape this collaborative engagement approach. Silvestri says: “It’s important to remember – it’s not medical education on one side and marketing on the other and then sales. It needs to be integrated.”  

Promote a New Way of Engaging HCPs 

At Concise we promote a hybrid future. We recognise there’s nothing like a face-to-face encounter, yet we know that field teams’ adoption of hybrid models of working, result in a broader reach and more opportunities to connect with and learn from HCPs. 

Customer engagement re-modelling often needs consultancy. Crucially we offer a strategic service to craft and share new ways of meeting, while driving data and insights capture.  

When sales meetings with HCPs are virtual, everyone’s time can be used wisely. Hearing from all relevant stakeholders in the moment, delivers instant insights on what’s important and what they need. 

Our pharma and healthcare clients often use Chime Live as a through-line that starts and finishes outside the live event space and allows the platform to operate as an asynchronistic collaboration tool. 

New product training can be done with Chime Live; When there is a new product launch, reps can be trained on it, through a virtual or hybrid event. 

As part of our range of solutions, we also have ‘Pitch Pack’, which works as a virtual sales aid for reps. It’s a cloud-hosted microsite that operates as a dynamic interaction proposition deck, hosted on iPads that sales reps use as a second screen presentation tool and easily update with new content. 

Technology Innovation and Digital Transformation 

Digital is more than a channel, it’s a way of doing business. Digital solutions and innovative technologies support overall strategy. 

Technology continues to push the boundaries of how healthcare is delivered and has the power to create breakthroughs in the understanding of disease. 

During the pandemic, technology has enabled people to work from home, conduct clinical trials virtually, and reconfigure supply chains. The industry now needs to scale its digital capabilities to improve resilience across its core operations. 

Pharma should continue to have a sharp focus on accelerated digital transformations. By creating partnerships and building relationships with digital health innovators, pharma can deliver new products and solutions that enable healthcare providers to continue to support patients. 

Digital transformations also allow pharma and healthcare providers to shift from push to pull; deliver a connected customer experience, promote and enable data-led personalisation and measure the effectiveness of digital engagements by connecting them with performance metrics.  

“Person-based interactions are still valued, including more remote support for education, facilitating peer networking etc,” says IQVIA’s Liz Murray. “It’s not just a question of just adding digital – omnichannel supporting personalised experiences is the ultimate goal”. 

Virtual and Hybrid Collaboration tools 

Pandemic lockdown measures and travel restrictions meant pharma teams working together on projects from multiple locations, initially relied on Zoom meetings to collaborate. 

This approach lacked structure and quickly became time-consuming and unmanageable, with stakeholders suffering ‘Zoom fatigue’ and struggling to fit time into their busy schedules. 

Alternative ways to convene were explored, including the use of virtual engagement platforms to connect teams and create focused meetings. 

Despite seeing a return to in-person meetings in some locations, there is an important reason in retaining a virtual element to any collaborative event and many HCPs still want the option to attend events virtually. 

The Best of Both Worlds 

Hybrid meetings that combine in-person and virtual participants allow for higher attendance, greater engagement and more efficient working.  

Event engagement platforms like Chime Live   help maximise the planning and structuring of virtual and hybrid events. Planners can use the platform functionality to sample stakeholder opinion in advance of a meeting, to inform the agenda of an event and drive its focus. 

Data can be recorded and monitored through an event platform, in real-time, to help shape the sessions and prioritise content or activity. Capturing  feedback and opinion in the moment, provides valuable insights and saves time on reconvening after events by feeding directly into event activities, made possible through the event platform. 

As pharma, healthcare providers and medical device companies move beyond the pandemic, they will continue to utilise the technologies and knowledge gained to positively engage virtual audiences and to boost the value of interactions between mixed audiences. 

Explore how we pivoted a multi-day pharma leadership event to virtual, to share the vision for emerging from the pandemic with a positive outlook here

Transform Participation Through Hybrid Solutions  

‘My Experience’ is our omnichannel solution that allows attendees participating in a Chime Live event to choose their journey as a presenter or attendee, in-person or joining remotely, thus ensuring the best possible experience wherever they are connecting from. 

Interaction between your participant, presenter and panellist groups, is facilitated by including collaborative tools in the event choreography   such as in-the-moment polling, word clouds, Q&A, upvoter and feedback forms. 

We can monitor trends swinging in a certain direction, and address them within a session, by live-exploring differentiated and segmented results. Commenting in this way, shows nuanced understanding. 

Finally, ChimeCast is our agile, microsite version of Chime Live that includes a live stream, responses and feedback to presenters, a real time chat thread and composite page layout; all functionality is viewable within one screen. 

Our Storytelling Platform, Chime Live 

For participants meeting in-person, we provide the Chime Live platform on iPads  where participants can pinch, zoom into, and capture the content to take away with them. Our data shows that virtual participants show similar behaviours on their personal devices.  

To ensure engagement levels are high pre-event, we recommend giving attendees access to the Chime Live platform where they can complete some assignments in advance of meeting. This enables our pharma clients to measure participants’ knowledge, gauge opinions, and help shape the final event to ensure engagement is high on show day. 

Using gamification in the event platform allows you to track who has done what and when, assigning points and potentially contribute towards personal development goals. 

We can take learnings from before and during an event, and contrast and compare; playing it back just to specific therapy areas or regions within a session. Using choreography and segmentation, we can create unique and individual journeys. 

 

Whether you attend an event in-person or remotely, Chime Live extends the lifecycle of the important work generated, and all participants can access content used at and generated by the event, in their own time. 

We provide an option to lengthen the lifespan of your Chime Live platform beyond the current 90-day timeframe from pre- to post-event. This benefits both repeat customers and multi-part events with the same participants. A yearly subscription with automatic behind the scenes efficiency improvements and updates, keep the platform live, with no loss of information and addedor functionality. 

There’s so much to absorb with transformation of both the pharma and events worlds, but our experts are ready to learn about your event objectives and share ways we can use Chime Live to transform your virtual, hybrid and in-person meetings. 

Read about how we helped our global pharmaceutical client hold their international flagship show in the Middle East