Author: Mario Monella, Scientific Services Director at EPG Health
Imagine a world where healthcare professionals (HCPs) can effortlessly explore personalised information about latest advances in medicine, helping them make better treatment decisions with improved outcomes for their patients. Where information is available on demand, direct to their mobile, with relevant, current and unique content giving answers they trust and act on. Rewind to the end of last summer, in a world where “social distancing” and “lockdown” where not part of our daily vocabulary, this vision formed part of my daily musings. Then, one door closed and another opened.
I had a successful career in pharma, both sides of the commercial and medical path, working with some fantastic digital leads, creative marketers and insightful launch experts. As far back as 2004, I established a remote eDetailing project, in 2008 I was presenting Digital KOL concepts and more recently rolled out two EU wide medical Veeva platforms. So, it’s fair to say I touched many digital products. And I would often question “why can’t Medical take the lead?”, “we talk about Excellence, but where is the innovation?”, “how can compliance be holding us back when we have digital governance in place?”.
This month though marks my first-year anniversary having crossed the divide from pharma to digital medical communications, heading up the Scientific Services team that forms an intrinsic role in the drive for Digital Excellence at EPG Health. Now my questions are different. Over the years, EPG Health has evolved with the wider digital world; I should know as I was previously a client for several years! Its latest technologies allow for a more personalised digital experience and my team has fewer internal obstacles to delivering medical content excellence and innovation. However, this does not make the task simpler, far from it!
Via Medthority (www.medthority.com), EPG Health’s independent medical website, HCPs can easily find and access information on the go, in bite size chunks and in only minutes. So, the primary question is now, within this very small window of opportunity, how do we capture their imagination and convey complex ideas?
The world is currently experiencing a medical revolution with the development of targeted precision medicines and there is an unprecedented demand for medical information to support this. However, the underlying scientific basis for these advancements can often be complicated, extensive, and hard to convey. How do we make it simpler for HCPs? How do we create digital journeys that tailor every step to their needs and behaviour while also achieving the goals of our pharma customers as well?
Key Educational Messages
At EPG Health, we start by distilling the complex scientific concepts into Key Educational Messages (KEMs) that contain the essential information needed to understand this complex information.
Story and journey
Then we craft a story flows that turn these KEMs into memorable and engaging snackable content. Simply making something short and punchy is not the solution, although it’s a good starting point! Through this story, our passion for science and deep understanding of our therapy areas allows us to convey the KEMs accurately and concisely so that (with the support of the latest website functionality, tools and features) HCPs can find the information they need within minutes. And use of enhanced journalistic techniques and SEO/keywords within the copy make our content both click-worthy and engaging.
Each asset and journey are tailored for the specific target audience. From a time-poor GP that needs a snapshot of information to inform a clinical decision, to a specialist with time to invest in exploring the deeper details. A bespoke learning environment is key to successful delivery. Everyone learns differently, something I am acutely aware of from my teaching days and background in neuro-linguistic programming. We need to engage all minds when we tell the story through our Learning Zones, utilising multiple types of media.
The value of these digital assets is then maximised for the context in which they are presented and consumed. We use infographics to visualise and summarise complex key trial outcomes, animations that explore the patient journey and help to reveal mechanisms of action, KOL videos to highlighting essential information, and so much more.
Embedding patient centricity (a term often overused) at the forefront of the story is also effective, with patient case studies (see Mia’s story about childhood psoriasis or hear Marie’s experience with Osteoarthritis) bringing the information to life with clear and concise learning outcomes.
Working in this way requires us to have a team of creative digital medical writers that bring together a rich blend of experience, industry knowledge and inquisitive minds. Our in-depth experience in a range of scientific specialties allows my team to create content that is unique, relevant and engaging while maintaining scientific rigour and high compliance standards.
Personalised for HCPs, tailored for pharma
Of course, content must be created with a consultative approach to supporting our (often cross-functional) client teams. So, the role of our Scientific Liaison is a crucial conduit between our customers, client facing teams and the medical writing team, ensuring accurate communication of KEMs through detailed briefings and knowledge transfer. EPG Health’s heritage in creating for a digital platform and different types of digital media helps us create content that resonates with both our pharma client audiences and our Medthority registered healthcare professionals.
My final thoughts… With the world becoming better connected day-by-day, and healthcare professionals progressively relying on digital media, it is clear that integrated and adaptable digital platforms, which focus on the user experience and journey, will be critical for pharma success in sharing their key messages around precision medicines and achieving excellence in HCP engagement.
Our whitepaper contains more about how to generate valuable content optimised for digital consumption.
Mario Monella - Scientific Services Director at EPG Health
Mario is an expert in prelaunch strategic planning, medical communications, KOL mapping, compliance and operational excellence. He brings over 15yrs experience from both medical affairs and commercial roles delivering complex projects, solutions and strategies to the Pharmaceutical Industry at a Global and European level. He is an industry expert having chaired and presented at numerous MSL, CRM and KOL management summits over the years. Mario enjoys spending time with his young family, creative freedom in the kitchen and coaching football.