Last week, we had the pleasure of speaking with Andy Nimmo, the president of Physicians Office Resource. POR is a media publishing company that offers a catalogue of medical devices and in-office tests, in their print magazine and on their website. On August 1st, they launched PharmaCONNECT, a space where physicians and pharmaceutical companies can connect, in real time (or by appointment, if they so choose),as part of their larger website.
Andy explained some of the services in PharmaCONNECT as well as the thinking behind it. With their success connecting doctors to reps for the diagnostics and in-office testing companies, it seemed only natural that those same doctors would not only be comfortable connecting with pharma in the same way, but that they would embrace the chance.
The business model is simple the pharma companies pay a one time set up fee, and a yearly maintenance fee, to set up a branded presence on the site and then they pay per doctor engagement. They are able to see exactly what they are paying for.
What we think is intriguing about PharmaCONNECT is its “open borders approach. There is no exclusivity to pharmaceutical companies. None. Currently, the site is populated, for the most part, with vanilla data, provided by First Databank. Though they have contacted the “top 100 brands and are currently engaging with the top 20. We were told that they expect to have 15 to 20 of the brands with their own pages and presence on the site by years end.
Doctors who do in-office tests tend to be higher prescribers than those who outsource their testing. And their patients have higher rates of compliance because they are able to learn more about the meds and why they ought to be taking them. As Andy said, there is a “natural synergy there. So why not add answers from the pharma companies into the equation?
The hope of PharmaCONNECT is to offer a meaningful and measurable engagement that will not only help companies to get their message across, but offer doctors all the information they need, and answers to any questions, with a few keystrokes. And, knowing the future is mobile, the site itself is optimized for mobile working on iOS and Android platforms. Mobile apps are about a year away, including a click to call feature for iPhone, so the doc can be connected to someone right away.
As there are fewer sales reps to cover more area, do you think that PharmaCONNECT will be the tool to fit both the pharma company and the physicians needs?
We think it will be interesting to see if the pharma companies embrace this platform the way it seems the doctors have. What do you think?