It’s All About The Journey, Not The Destination
Gone are the days of dumping content and hoping HCPs engage with it. A personalized journey is the roadmap to success
Content specialist’s EPG Health believe that the key to better health outcomes stems from investing in behaviour changing education. Harnessing the latest behavioural technology, they craft multichannel educational journeys which measure behaviour change alongside reach and engagement to deliver real results with clinical content.
Their independent medical website epgonline.org offers a personalised service to provide healthcare professionals (HCPs) with content on their terms, not pharma’s.
“Historically most pharma companies and medical communication agencies have focused on the digital destination,” says Managing Director Paul Vennard. “Our clients create a huge amount of content and want to disseminate it at one time, so they put it somewhere and hope people find it, consume it and engage with it.”
But this no longer resonates, he says, in the modern world where everyone is short on time. There is much more to be gained by crafting catchy, short pieces of content. “What we’re doing is breaking that down into key educational messages, creating content that helps get that message across and then taking someone on a journey through multiple messages and pieces of content. We’re assessing all the way whether or not they’re taking in the messaging and whether they’re likely to change their behaviour as a result of what they consume, which for pharma is like the Holy Grail.”
The journey is often not linear, says Vennard. “We do set up programs with a linear nature, but we also know people don’t work in that way – they'll often start at the most random of places and our job is to make sure that they get from wherever they start to a point where we can say accurately, through either algorithms or stated responses, that they understand and they're going to apply it in practice by changing their behaviour.”
Changing the metrics for success
Instead of a single focus on top line metrics like reach, EPG places greater emphasis on the way in which HCPs actually engage with content. “We’re using the latest technology – machine learning, artificial intelligence – to tailor a personalised journey for an individual getting through that knowledge pathway. At the end of it, we’re able to tell a client that we managed to get X number of thousand people to the content in the first place, but we also got Y number of people to say, as a result of what they consumed over that journey, that they're going to change their prescribing, treatment or diagnosis behaviour.”
The traditional online metrics – visitor numbers, pages consumed, time on site – are still there, but reveal too little about true engagement. “What we’re now able to do is provide all those stats, but also tell you which pieces of content are resonating – and what format that content takes. We’re taking content and turning it into bite-sized, introductory content that almost whets the appetite, and allows a user to come back and read the full version at some point, which we can use technology to make sure they do.
“We're able to feed back to the client and say, ‘This is the content that works, that resonates, that people say actually helps support them in their practice, rather than just the same content that's always been produced.’ We can feed back on how to structure that content effectively to deliver consistent messaging. It’s no longer just about headline stats of visits, it’s about what’s working right.”
Harnessing feedback loops
While education can remain housed in medical affairs, a more holistic approach with feedback coming from internal and external platforms can help shape thinking around how best to disseminate information. “There needs to be enough of a feedback loop coming from pharma’s internal resources and other partners so that they can see what works,” says Vennard. “It’s more of a shift in mindset. A very long piece of scientifically sound, robust information is great, but you won’t get enough people to actually read it to have long-term impact in the real world.
“You can’t take something that would be published in The Journal and put it online and think it’s going to change the world. Producing a 44-page publication for an online environment is not going to work. It could be the best piece of content that's ever been written but if you don't get someone to read it, because they don’t find it or haven’t got the time, then it’s failed.” EPG guide pharmacos in how to structure their content, advising how you pull out key points and structure content to allow a user to consume it in a digestible way.
Myth-busting with real-world evidence
At the upcoming Medical Affairs Europe eyeforpharma Barcelona event, EPG will be running a workshop on ‘Evolving HCP websites: deliver behaviour changing journeys rather than digital destinations,’ which seeks to challenge industry myths.
“We’re exploding some of the myths that we encounter a lot, with real-world examples of how content has changed as a result of the learnings we’ve got. We’ll be launching a research report with insight from both HCPs and pharma, looking at all sorts of themes around content, types of format, multi-channel integration, how they measure campaigns and activity, and the sort of obstacles and challenges they face.
“The research also looks at the disparity between what pharma believe HCPs want to consume and what HCPs tell us they actually want to consume, where there are some fairly fundamental differences. There’s also a host of key stats that we’re sharing in the workshop – as an example, when we talk about behaviour change, virtually every single pharma respondent says that they really want to be able to measure it, and yet only nine per cent say they can actively do this.”
One such myth is the idea that you can take continual medical education (CME), accredit it, put it on an online platform and simply expect people to complete it. “We don’t see that at all,” says Vennard. “By breaking that down into 10-minute chunks, which you can’t do if you’re accredited, we see a much greater user interaction and completion of each module. If you flip that back the other way, you then start to think about how you can build your educational CME in bite-sized, modular chunks that you can then assess.
“What we've been doing is looking at how our users interact with the content that’s historically been produced, that we are given by pharma companies, that we create and curate and really trying to rework that into a much more digestible and regularly visited and consumed journey which has the end result. Ultimately, we want people to take on board the latest thinking in how to treat patients and apply it in the real world, and that's what we're trying to move towards.”
EPG Health’s workshop session is on Tuesday 12 March, 3 – 4.10pm in the Workshop Rooms at the 3rd Annual Medical Affairs Europe at eyeforpharma Barcelona, March 12-14, 2019, at the Centre Convencons Internacional Barcelona (CCIB).
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