TECHNOLOGY: New tools for e-detailing

The crush of detail reps all trying to break into the physician office has been causing headaches for some time.  Not only for the poor office staff but also for their pharma company CFOs.  Although Pfizer’s success in the past decade has been based mainly on expanding its field sales force, the truth is that detail reps rarely get more than one or two actual presentations in to doctors per day.  Most of their time is spent sitting in the waiting room, and hence the need to deliver cookies, tickets to sporting events, dinners and other bribes knowledge-enhancing opportunities to physicians. Now that PhRMA and the AMA have "agreed" to new guidelines restricting what a detail rep can give to a doc, the physician’s incentive to see the rep has declined even further.  Meanwhile eDetailing may provide some answer to getting the message out. (For much more information on the eDetailing market see here) Manhattan Research reported recently that (some fraction of) 49% of doctors were likely to use eDetailing. (Note: I don’t have the full numbers, so I’m extrapolating somewhat vaguely here).

The problem has been getting some technology that’s easy and convenient in front of the docs. Companies like iPhysiciannet and RxCentric have taken a high bandwidth approach, including sometimes actually putting IDSN lines and computers in physicians offices. But they have often required an actual appointment time, which is a pain in the rear and an actual cost for a busy doc. And, of course, it’s pretty expensive.

On interesting new approach for eDetailing is a tool called Av-Mail. This allows a pharma co to send an email to a doc.  At a time and place of their choosing, physicians can click on a link on the email, and view a relatively short combined powerpoint/voice-over presentation.  Click here to see what it’s like. Something like this might be a reasonable answer to getting in front of docs at very a low cost.  How effective it is in increasing script writing I don’t know, but I suspect it’s not as much fun as a free trip to Hawaii.

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