With overwhelming amounts of patients, a huge burden with administrative systems and a range of new technologies coming up every day, physicians worldwide are struggling to maintain and improve patient care. As it turns out, this is not so easy because the average physician spends 51% of their time in front of a computer, rather than a patient.

In theory, this is an excellent opportunity for pharma brands to lend a helping hand to physicians using digital technologies for pharmaceutical advertising. However, it seems like the majority of HCPs look at pharma content with distrust. Simply put, they consider pharma brand content to be purely promotional and lacking in value. One of the (mostly failed) attempts at reaching HCPs is through portals.

A place for HCPs and KOLs to connect

The idea behind HCP portals is fairly simple – they’re intended as online resources for HCPs and KOLs to come together and share experiences. In its essence, the idea is great. Pharma brands have the opportunity to connect peers, provide meaningful content that helps physicians and, in the end, promote their products. However, HCP portals have proven to be pretty ineffective in practice, and here are some of the reasons why this is the case.

HCP portals have horrible ROI for pharmaceutical advertising

If there’s one reason for pharma brands to stop using physician portals, it should be the cost. Simply put, as a marketing strategy, they have horrible return on investment. In a fairly dated study from MM&M, it was shown that it costs more than $100 to get one physician on one HCP portal for one complete marketing activity. No matter how good your product, that’s a lot of money down the drain.

They’re too promotional

If physicians aren’t too keen on visiting your HCP portal, it probably boils down to a single reason – you’re going for the hard sell. Many HCPs don’t trust portals simply because pharma brands use them for (c)overt advertising. Instead of providing resources for healthcare professionals, brands are increasingly pushing their products. No matter how helpful the portal may seem to be, in most cases it is another platform for advertising.

The user experience is not that great

The average physician does not have a lot of free time on their hands. They’re increasingly mobile and they need access to their information on the go. In the race to reach more HCPs, those pharma brands with easily accessible, mobile-ready content will win.

By very design, HCP portals are clunky and outdated. They require physicians to make accounts, log in, navigate and find their therapeutic area and finally find the information they’re looking for. Simply put, the information on portals is not arranged intuitively and it takes a lot of time to find the information you’re looking for – if it is there in the first place. For modern-day physicians, time is a luxury they cannot afford.

What to use instead of HCP portals

It is clear that HCP portals as a strategy are a relic of the past and that they’re too expensive and ineffective at what they should do. Instead, pharma brands should focus on providing more value to physicians instead of bombarding them with promotional content.

First, the content that pharma brands produce needs to be easy to discover and access, preferably suited for mobile. Convenience is the name of the game, and one of the best ways to present lots of information in a short period of time is video. If you’re looking to explain complex medical data in a matter of minutes, present it in video format such as PubExplainer. In just 90 seconds, you’ll be able to present your key scientific data in a way that is memorable and super easy to access.

On the other end of the spectrum, pharma brands should have content for the patients as well. Going beyond the pill is the new norm, and video can help. With a solution like MedExplainer, you can use video to explain the disease, diagnosis and treatment to the patients. Not only is it an excellent resource to physicians who can provide value the final consumer, it is immensely powerful for patients. As they know the ins and outs of their treatment, they are much more likely to adhere to it.

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