Making your voice heard when communicating with HCPs

Data wave and business man to show Making your voice heard when communicating with HCPs

David Barwick, Director of Client Solutions at Amplity Health, examines how in an ocean of data, how you can make sure that your voice is heard when communicating with HCPs.

The world, and the way we interact with it, is changing at pace. For example, the amount of data we are currently generating and consuming is astronomical. According to one often-quoted article on Forbes.com1, some 90% of the data in the world was generated over the past two years alone.

In many respects, today’s world is defined by data, which has an ever-increasing reach as we embrace the Internet of Things.

What does this mean to those of us who work in the healthcare environment? None of us has a crystal ball, but with some thought we can begin to visualise what an evolving future landscape might look like.

“The organisations and individuals who rely on data alone to tell their story will fail”

Digital health revolution

Digital health is changing the way that healthcare is delivered and changing the lives of patients. This ‘digital health revolution’ enables the increased use of technology to create better outcomes for patients and to power value creation across the healthcare ecosystem.

We need to have clear strategies of engagement in this brave new world.

Longer term, advances in bioscience and digital technology have the potential to add value to the system in multiple ways: by transforming the R&D process; by ensuring better health outcomes for patients; by bringing forward new treatments more quickly; and by providing opportunities for physicians to advance patient care.

If we buy into this future landscape, then it becomes obvious that data will be present at the core of the changes. As the experts in their data, it is clear that pharmaceutical industry professionals will be at the forefront of this transformation and have a huge responsibility to ensure their data is accessed and interpreted in the right way.

To unearth exactly what that responsibility might look like, it’s worth considering the ‘share of voice’, commercially-led models historically used within the industry. The ‘share of voice’ model involved each company having several representatives vying to see the same healthcare professional (HCP) to discuss their product, and one of its underpinning philosophies was to create as much ‘noise’ in the marketplace as possible. This was done using the communication options that were available at that time; people, mailings, and so on.

HCPs were often overwhelmed by the number of industry representatives competing for their time. Over time, they became fatigued and more selective about what and how much they consumed.

As we strategise today, with the benefit of hindsight, it’s important for the industry not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Data fatigue

The latest statistics suggest that around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created by technology every day. That’s a mind-boggling number, so not surprisingly thought leaders in the health and wellbeing sector are already beginning to talk about concepts such as ‘data fatigue’.

How do we ensure that people don’t become fatigued by our data when they interact with so much different data every day?

In a world where artificial intelligence will undoubtedly be the curator of choice to process the huge volumes of data, humans will still have a critical role to play. The organisations and individuals who rely on data alone to tell their story will fail.

That is why more and more organisations are seeking to improve the way that they make their data accessible via the multiple options that exist in today’s world. This in turn presents a conundrum for the industry; do we place more or less emphasis on improving our people’s ability to interpret and communicate data, given the likely decreasing future role of people as communicators in the overall mix?

If we buy in to a vision of the future that contains more data, delivered more quickly and through multiple formats, then we might be inclined to conclude that a decreasing role means we require less emphasis on these core communication skills.

Part of the answer lies in the industry’s ‘share of voice’ past. When HCPs were overwhelmed by the number of industry representatives who wanted their time, those who stood out were the best communicators.

Today, HCPs have multiple data sources to consider as part of their daily routine, with data such as latest clinical studies forming just a small part of that mix. This issue will only be exacerbated in a future where our HCPs are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of accessible data available to them.

Communication skills remain at a premium, their importance magnified in a future where we are so data rich and time poor. In this world, where there are many data dishes on the menu, how can we be sure that people choose to consume ours?

The industry professionals who can interpret and summarise information and communicate it in an unbiased, balanced and impactful way will ensure that their data has a place in the decision making of HCPs in this brave new world.

9 out of 10 organisations surveyed by MIT and Deloitte2 anticipate their industries will be totally disrupted by digital trends. Many of these organisations realise that we must embrace what is coming, and to do that we just need to become better at being human.

Top 5 Takeaways

  1. 90% of the world’s data was generated over the past two years alone.
  2. We need to combat ‘data fatigue’.
  3. Human communication skills are still of the greatest importance.
  4. The best communicators are the ones who stand out.
  5. 9 out of 10 organisations predict their industries will be totally disrupted by digital trends.

David Barwick is Director of Client Solutions at Amplity Health. Go to

1 Bernard Marr, “How Much Data Do We Create Every Day? The Mind-Blowing Stats Everyone Should Read,” Forbes, May 21, 2018 | 2 ‘Aligning the organization for its Digital Future’ MITSloan Research Report