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HCP Engagement Now: What do Physicians Need From Pharma?

HCP Engagement now: What do physicians need from pharma?

A lot has changed in the past years in the relationship between healthcare professionals (HCP) and pharma companies. The digitalization of many processes, including the interactions between both parts, influences the way these relationships play out. HCP engagement nowadays is not what it used to be.

But, are pharma companies managing to provide physicians with the content of value? Today we will have a deeper look at both sides of this spectrum.

HCP Engagement now

What do HCP need from pharma?

On the side of pharma companies

In a study by EPG Health, the pharma brands inquired have admitted that the biggest challenge is providing real value to the HCP they engage with. Many of them have claimed to be customer-centric. Yet, the study has shown that their interests are, often, misaligned.

One of the glaring issues that the case study tackles have to do with the way that pharmaceutical field reps from pharma companies are regarded by both parties. 68% of pharma companies believe that their reps are a vital piece for discovering scientific information

The irony here? When presenting the same question to a sample of HCP in this same study, only 4% of them agreed with that perspective.

Without a doubt, pharma companies want to invest and keep up with digital trends. The engagement with HCP has registered improvements according to 42% of the pharma companies inquired. 

But, 22% reported it as less successful, 20% reported that many things didn’t change and 16% don’t even have a clear answer to this question. This shows that pharma companies have a long way to go when it comes to improving their virtual relationships.

The content types in which the pharma brands inquired have invested are brand-led, even in independent platforms. A striking fact has to do with their investment in banner advertising and eDetails (done by 62% of the brands) when compared to investments in supporting medical education (58%) and eLearning (47%).

On the side of HCP

Now we shift to the perspective of HCP on this topic. They are open to new collaborations with pharma brands. Many want a healthy, productive and ongoing relationship with them. Still, they feel they could have more significant content from pharma brands.

The first point has to do with physicians’ channel preferences. They don’t see pharma reps as a priority when it comes to discovering new relevant medical information. 

About 82% of them regard websites as “critical or very important” sources in a variety of areas. The good news is that 52% also gave a positive review to pharma websites, but a lower one for brand websites (40%).

The second point has to do with the content types. The complaint throughout many case studies from HCP is loud and clear in this regard. Many feel that pharma companies are not prioritizing content that aligns with their real demands. 

When it comes to specific categories of content that HCP want to see, 72% favoured disease information, as opposed to 42% on product information.

In short, the way to capture an HCP’s attention during this engagement online is to provide them with independent, non-promotional types of content. Many of them are also open to receiving information on the activities of CME (Continuing Medical Education).

When it comes to the interactions between both parts, this is a point in which both parts are (almost) aligned. HCP will be having an increased demand for remote and hybrid meetings

Many HCP think that post-pandemic they will have a higher demand for either virtual-only events (63%) or hybrid meetings (54%). Pharma companies on the other hand expect HPC to have a higher demand for either hybrid scientific meetings (85%) or remote events (75%).


Pharma brands still have a long way to go on the improvement of customer experience for HCP engagement. Without a doubt, there have been some significant improvements thanks to the digital age. 

Many of them were pushed by the pandemic circumstances the health industry found itself in. But if pharma brands manage to provide HCP with more than promotional content, the relationship will benefit on both ends.

Pharma can invest in elements that educate HCP on complex medical questions. There is great potential for the creation of a healthy and strong relationship between both parties. 

It’s up to pharma brands to revise their communication practices and invest in an engagement model that benefits both parties.

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