eDetailing: Where are we in 2018?

Words by Dr Andrée Bates

Detailing remains a core part of any pharmaceutical company’s sales approach and has become a large part of their promotional spend. Due to the fact that it has become more difficult for pharma to access healthcare professionals – a recent survey showed that 49% of healthcare professionals are placing moderate to severe access restrictions (up from 45% in 20131) – the development of eDetailing in the late 1990s began with the early physician interactive model of a scripted online e-Detail. The access situation continues to get worse because of factors such as healthcare professionals simply having less time or being part of a larger integrated healthcare group, the Affordable Care Act shifting away from a fee-for-service to a value/outcomes model, and physician convenience.

In the past five years eDetailing has come a lot further than traditional closed-loop marketing (CLM) eDetailing. Now the use of artificial intelligence technologies allows powerful customised detailing to individual healthcare professionals for their specific needs.

Although there is a lot of data about healthcare professionals that can now be accessed (the CRM call notes, prescribing data, social media data, physician browsing data, claims data and a whole lot more), most reps lack time to make sense of it all and the fact that much is hidden within big data (social media data, claims data etc), means reps do not have the resources to access and analyse it. Traditional CLM eDetailing is not able to take these external data points into account.

In addition, the doctor’s data and views get modified with every interaction they make, so the vast amount of data surrounding each physician is frequently ignored as it is overwhelming for any system that does not use artificial intelligence to analyse it. A healthcare professional’s priorities can change and with a unified big data view, sales reps can stay up to date on what that individual physician needs.

In recent years, Eularis have been doing numerous pharma engagements that combine all this big and small data in real time. We have created artificial intelligence powered algorithms for specific combinations of data that allow pharma sales reps to have access – in either a stand-alone app, or in their CRM system itself – to up-to-the-minute intelligence on every physician. This means the synthesis and analysis of all the data is done automatically for the rep so they can look up their priority targets from the system (the system has identified the healthcare professionals the sales rep needs to see that week, and even whether they are likely to accept an appointment on short notice).

Numerous things can be identified that can create strong physician targeting and detailing results. For example, the system can predict ‘Which doctor has the most potential to write a script for a patient appropriate for our brand, today?’ and to help the rep understand ‘What should be the priority, based on the most recent data, to gain more scripts of our brand from this physician?’ and ‘What messages and channels and sales and marketing actions will enhance that outcome?’. In addition, with appropriate patient data we can also identify maximum share per physician based on their patient population.

The approach takes all the data accessible (and much not typically accessible to sales reps), and combines these big data sources with the smaller data sources (call notes etc), to provide a unified view of each physician, analysed in real time.

It identifies:

•          Which physician is the highest priority for a rep this week

•          Which physician is more likely to accept appointments that week (or at short notice)

•          Who is showing signs of moving away from your brand, or away from another brand (creating an opportunity for your brand)

•          Which sales messages that individual physician needs to hear next in order to move them to higher prescribing of your brand

•          What channels, in what frequency and sequence, are going to move a specific physician(and the optimal balance of eDetail and face-to-face detail by individual physician)

 •         Timings by physician of when to see that physician, how many times that month, and how to integrate the face-to-face visit with the eDetails

•          The system can also trigger automated eDetails at the right time with the right message that work in harmony with the sales rep for maximum prescribing impact by physician

•          Allow the sales rep and eDetailing systems to work in harmony by individual physician

•          Synthesise all this data in one unified format for the sales rep.

These integrated approaches using big data and artificial intelligence allow full integration between eDetailing in whatever form the physician prefers, with face-to-face detailing where appropriate.

Eularis Case Study:

AI-powered sales tool delivers 43% sales growth

Pharma sales reps have an increasingly difficult time. Whether their brand is a new launch, or there are competitor brands providing intense competition, or generic competition, the sales reps need to be armed with as much information on their therapy area and customers than ever before. The reps need the best information on everything possible, including predictions about their customers’ needs and behaviours.

The Client

•          Large, but older, brand in decline

•          New brands with new treatment paradigms

•          Generic competition

•          Sales representatives felt they could not compete any more

•          Sales director wanted to see if AI could give the representatives a competitive edge.

The Solution

•          Rich individual physician-level data within the CRM system

•          Online data that could be linked to specific healthcare professionals

•          Combined all data available into a uniform format, plus temporal sequencing

•          Used AI techniques, thereafter, to create tools that provided actionable insights

•          Physician switch warning behaviours sent to sales rep

•          Bespoke sales message suggestion engine for individual healthcare professionals

•          Bespoke detail aids for each physician created in the doctor’s office.

Then as an addition to the base system outlined, to maximise the efficiency and integration of the eDetails and the face-to-face details, a system was created to identify the perfect balance of these by individual physician each month, to bring about maximum engagement and sales results by physician.

The Outcome

•          43% increase in sales for reps using the system compared with the reps not using the system

•          Was then rolled out to integrate into CRM system for numerous brands

•          Overall incremental sales growth across all brands was $937 million.


By continuing to target and message a one-size-fits-all detail as before means that valuable scripts are being lost, and it is not necessary to lose them in today’s age of big data and AI. The sales call (both traditional and ‘e’) are areas made for big data and AI to optimise both and enhance your sales and marketing results. For information on how you can utilise predictive physician detailing optimisation, contact us at Eularis. Go to eularis.com/contact