Specialists' Satisfaction

Jun 01, 2002

Salu, the physician-specialist practice management company, has created an online market research panel aimed at helping pharma marketers tailor medical education programs to doctors enrolled in its web-based services. The panel began in January with a sampling of one hundred specialists who use Salu's online Dermdex (for dermatologists and plastic surgeons) and NeuroHub (for neurologists) services. Those are just two of Salu's hubs that serve tens of thousands of physicians who specialize in everything from allergies to reproductive medicine.

According to the survey, more than 80 percent of respondents want increased online access to therapy-specific scientific literature, more than three quarters want to order product samples online, and nearly half are interested in greater access to e-detailing.

Other tools and services that physician specialists would like to see include pharma-sponsored continuing medical education (CME) courses and the ability to register for them online, access to dosing guidelines for specific medica-tions, and access to medical conference content. Online billing was a priority for more than 80 percent of physicians on the panel.

Salu's research helps to characterize the internet's controversial role in doctor-patient relations. On one hand, the internet has flooded doctors' offices with patients clutching potentially dubious medical information. On the other hand, a growing number of Salu's member physicians use the internet to communicate with patients. Fifty-two percent of NeuroHub respondents say the internet reduces phone calls, and 40 percent report that the internet helps to effectively document patient communications.

The panel also ranked pharma company sales reps for the quality of their service, information, and professionalism. Dermdex respondents ranked Galderma, 3M, Ferndale, and Merck among the top five. Neurologists ranked GSK, Novartis, Elan, Ortho-McNeil, and Pfizer among the top five in that specialty.

Salu plans to expand the panel to include more specialists and to determine physician satisfaction with pharma-sponsored programs. The company's CRM system also tracks pharma sales and marketing initiatives, on- and offline.