Among the critical shortages in healthcare today, a physician's time seems to be damn near the top of the list. Record keeping,
staying current on therapies and practice, deciphering reimbursement, and managing an increasingly complicated practice take
more time than ever—and take more time away from direct patient care. So it's no surprise that the time a physician spends
with a pharmaceutical rep falls near the bottom of their list, or falls off altogether.
Now add 32 million new patients from health care reform into this system of time-strapped physicians. It's one thing to offer
insurance coverage to this volume of patients, while it's clearly another to treat them. And, as we have come to understand,
many of today's patients are what we're calling "clipboard patients," coming into the exam room with pages of information
they've collected from the Internet, friends, and newspapers. And the questions that come with all that information demand
even more physician time.
Less time, more patients: fewer positive outcomes
The conversations that now are taking place in a physician's exam room are critical to the efficacy of and adherence to your
brand. Studies from the Annals of Family Medicine and the health consulting firm Altarum Institute tell us that the guidance a patient receives as they are prescribed a new
medication directly impacts whether that patient chooses to stay on and benefit from that medication.
So here's where you and your rep come in. Having worked hard to get that prescription written in the first place, your rep
doesn't want all his or her efforts to vanish when the moment of truth comes in a rushed exam room conversation. A script
for your drug may get written, but the purchase of your brand is far from complete. If the physician fails to educate, encourage,
and answer questions, the patient may leave confused and unsure of what to expect from the therapy he's just been prescribed.
Help your reps, help their doctors, help their patients
So rather than just continuing to focus on your rep delivering details of the drug's pivotal trials to nonwriters, take a
closer look at the physicians who are writing your drug and focus a portion of your efforts and budget on the critical physician-patient
Help your rep support the exam room conversation with programs and materials that make the physicians' time with their patients
more effective and their patients more comfortable using your drug. This is not to say that your brand's data is less important.
Of course, its critical with nonprescribers. But once the doctor has decided to write your prescription, the follow-through
that comes with supporting the physician-patient conversation protects the initial investment of sales time and enhances the
rep-physician relationship. Now they aren't just selling, they're supporting. And they're filling an unmet but rarely discussed
need: better use of the physician's time and better support of the patient's understanding. Now your rep is a problem solver,
not just a salesperson. In that role, they're more likely to earn more of the physician's valuable time.