Online CMEs, The Best Value Proposition For Pharma

Continuous medical education (CME) is something that is unique to the field of healthcare. Doctors of all specialties around the world and in India, need to undergo continuous medical education as a professional, legal and ethical requirement. But hurdles such as unavailability of time, fees and lack of quality CMEs have reduced voluntary participation in on-site CMEs. According to Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the participation in traditional CMEs fell by 4% between the year 2012 and 2013, a trend that it believes will continue.

The same data also suggests that there was an increase in Physician’s Internet use by 7.5 % but hardly any increase in the provision for online CMEs by Pharma. Is this something Pharma should be focusing on? Is there a big opportunity for Pharma to create positive sentiment in the doctors? Will it provide good returns?

Why are Online CME Courses a Great Proposition for Doctors and Pharma?

As everyone knows, completing CMEs and gaining points is essential for doctors to maintain their licenses. Additionally, many doctors look for clinical value in these CMEs. Lack of time and high fees are some of the major ‘turn-offs’ for doctors to attend traditional CMEs. Hence, doctors are continuously looking for easier and cheaper models of CMEs. Online CMEs have emerged as a promising mode of delivery for both doctors and providers. This is because:

  1. Less cost and higher convenience for doctors: Online CMEs are less costly compared to traditional CMEs since doctors do not have to travel to a particular venue and spend additional money on stay and travel. Online CMEs provide them an option to complete the courses on their mobile devices or desktop at the time they wish, making it more convenient and flexible.
  2. Less cost for providers: The costs for providers too are reduced, as the costs for creation of the content are ‘one-time’ costs. Once the content for CME is created it can be utilized as long as it is clinically relevant. Until then, Pharma providers do not have to pour in their money for running same CMEs. Online CMEs also achieve “economies of scale” as one course can be accessed by a large number of doctors, reducing the cost per doctor. Thus, an initial investment can keep generating good returns over a longer duration.

Online CME – A Great Opportunity For Pharma Marketers

In India, over 2/3rd of all physicians use smartphones, tablet or desktops and are active on social media. It shows the readiness of doctors to consume information or knowledge through these means. While 74% of doctors mainly use their smartphones, about 45% of them consume professional information through either mobile or desktop devices. Reports by Frost and Sullivan, Hopkins also suggest that 60-90% doctors worldwide use professional doctor-only social media portals.

The stage is set for pharma companies to positively establish themselves through CMEs. Pharma should consider online CMEs so that they can:

  • Emerge as partners and thought leader: Through online CMEs Pharma can emerge as partners and thought leaders than just suppliers or inventors of a drug. By doing so, Pharma companies will get noticed, be remembered for positive reinforcements they are providing to the doctors. It is most likely that Pharma companies that display that they care about doctors and really serious about providing relief to patients will get noticed, be remembered and get talked about among the doctors and patients alike.
  • Boost target audience quicker: Increasing clinical awareness by conducting online CMEs also is the best way to communicate new discoveries and treatments. By doing so, Pharma will not only be able to showcase themselves as “innovative” and “responsible” but also can raise awareness and interest in doctors’ minds. Online CMEs are hence considered as the best pathway to prepare the doctors for Pharma’s marketing initiatives. The leads generated through online CMEs have shown highest conversion rate around the globe.
  • Initiate a relationship, not just a sale: Interactive online CMEs allow a mutual exchange of ideas. In India, doctors are actively seeking solutions that can help them grow their practice. Clinical content packaged with practice related tips are the best way to connect and build a relationship, which can be only done through online CMEs.
  • Access a large audience to quickly take your content PAN India: India is a huge country and traveling from one location to the other still takes a lot of time, something our doctors clearly do not have. But through online CMEs, the courses and content can be easily accessed by doctors. Docplexus offers a smooth, versatile platform for Indian doctors where geographical boundaries are almost gone. Doctors have been accessing the courses we created from all across India, from Dwarka in Gujarat to Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh and from Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir to Rameshwaram in Tamilnadu. Once the course was made live within a week we had 1200+ doctors registered for the course. It is a great achievement for us.

How Should Pharma Proceed?

  • Understand key concern areas of doctors: Understanding problem areas of doctors is the most important step while designing the CMEs. Creating polls and surveys on Docplexus can give insights about some of the key concern areas. The courses or content designed to address these concerns are most effective and appreciated.
  • Design great proprietary content: Pharma companies have great clinical insights available with their medical affairs teams. These proprietary clinical insights must be brought forward in interesting interactive mode than just pamphlets and handouts through CMEs. By publishing these insights through online CMEs Pharma companies can easily highlight their uniqueness to the doctors.
  • Promote good practices through CMEs and connect with the audience: The most important step Pharma should take is to help doctors the way it matters most. Pharma’s help in providing knowledge and tools to increase the practice can build the trusted relationship between them and doctors. “Trust” is the most important driver why someone advocates a product.

How Can Docplexus Help Pharma?

Docplexus has clinical and technical expertise in creating online CMEs. We have successfully created and run 4 CME courses drawing a cumulative enrollment of over 6500 physicians spread across all parts of India.

Our state of the art audience analysis and delivery matrix allows us to understand the requirements of the doctors. Through a series of polls and surveys, we can reaffirm the content and context of CME and hence can successfully design the content with medical affairs teams of Pharma companies.

In addition, we can assist Pharma by delivering these CMEs to an audience of over 2,40,000 doctors in the most interactive and interesting mode.

We have learned the Art and the Science behind online CMEs, something that we would like to share with our Pharma counterparts. Is Pharma ready to take this leap?


Docplexus – Pharma’s Trusted Marketing Partner
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