As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to spread globally, virtual platforms will experience an extra boost after already having a transformational impact on the entire healthcare landscape even before the outbreak, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Valentina Gburcik, PhD, Senior Director of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases, Gender Health and Digital at GlobalData, commented: “The shift from in-person to digital is seen in advertising, medical conferences and sales rep meetings with physicians. Virtual health tools are already there enabling companies to have broader engagement with patients and physicians throughout various phases of the patient journey. Sales forces from pharma companies are now using this technology even more to interact virtually with physicians - particularly during the COVID-19 outbreak.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen cancellations of clinical events and conferences, as well as a surge of virtual meetings while all face-to-face contacts halt.
Gburcik adds: “In-person meetings have their own advantages such as people being able to express themselves by using body language and facial expressions that can better convey a message and create a deeper bond with a customer. The lack of a physical component in human interaction may lead to a weaker influence of reps over respective physicians and therefore reduced drug sales. Nevertheless, the ever-increasing internet speed, with 5G on our doorstep, and evolving video conferencing software such as WebEx, Zoom and Skype for Business will somewhat alleviate these problems.”
Over the past decade, our lifestyles have been becoming more and more reliant on digital tools and human interactions have been increasingly coming under threat. It remains to be seen whether the current extraordinary and testing circumstances will push humanity further into virtual space with little hope to go back to where we were before the pandemic struck.
Gburcik concludes: “The pharma sales forces and physicians may get used to the new reality, and thus the use of the virtual meetings and tools may get boosted far beyond the pandemic.”