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Following the introduction this week MyVeeva for Doctors, Veeva’s Paul Shawah discusses the background to the product and the role biopharma companies will play in its ongoing development.
This week, Veeva Systems announced the introduction MyVeeva for Doctors, a mobile application to “make it easy for HCPs to connect with life sciences,” giving healthcare professionals (HCPs) the key contacts, information, and services that they need from across all companies and brands in one place. Boehringer Ingelheim, GSK, Pfizer, Sanofi, and the rare disease-focused biopharma Sobi are the product’s first “early adopters.”
MyVeeva for Doctors’ search capabilities allow doctors to connect directly with reps, MSLs, and reimbursement specialists through compliant real-time messaging or online meetings, and lets life sciences companies present their messages and information more easily by linking brand, corporate, and other websites and resources.
Pharm Exec sat down with Veeva’s Paul Shawah, Senior Vice President, Commercial Cloud Strategy, to discuss the background to the product and explore the role biopharma companies can play in its ongoing development.
PharmExec: Can you explain MyVeeva for Doctors’ relationship with its “early adopter” companies?
Paul Shawah: In this context, an early adopter is a company that helps us to evolve and refine the product. We work with them very closely on the design, capabilities, features, functions, and on getting the product ready for broad industry adoption. We work closely with them to get feedback directly from HCPs, who are the end users, and also from the companies’ field teams, medical reps, and sales reps to understand what the wider user experience it is like. For example, is the product delivering the right sort of value? Is it enhancing a relationship? So, that's the role that those five companies are playing as early adopters. They can also be called launch partners.
Will you be inviting more companies into this partnering process?
Yes, absolutely. There needs to be a change in the industry, and they need to be part of the solution. The problem has to be solved by the industry coming together. The more pharma companies that become part of this, the more valuable it is for them over time. They will get the benefit of helping to shape the early thinking around the product and further develop its capabilities.
You say there’s a problem that needs to be solved. What is that problem, exactly?
Today life sciences companies target doctors with a promotional outreach, either via human contact or through a digital channel. On the digital side, they create all these ways for doctors to reach them, a website, for example, and then hope that the doctor accesses that website, or is driven to it by an email or a message. The problem is that every pharma company thinks the same exact way. And from the doctor's perspective, it's messy. Doctors don't want to go to 30 different websites, or have 30 different mobile apps. They’re not going to download an app for every brand they need to learn about. This is the problem we're solving. We're taking everything that those life sciences companies are doing and putting them into one app, one website. So the doctor who downloads MyVeeva for Doctors can access GSK and Sanofi and Pfizer and Sobi and BI. And over time, hopefully they’ll be able to access the entire industry and connect with all companies.
It’s like LinkedIn. You may work with somebody for 10 years and connect with them on LinkedIn, or you may have met them once and connect with them on LinkedIn. But because you're connected, you're able to do things together that you wouldn't do if you weren't connected. We're creating those relationships and allowing digital to be much more effective. If you were looking for somebody to hire, for example, you can go to LinkedIn and search for people that meet your criteria. With MyVeeva for Doctors, you can search for a rep or an MSL, connect with them and chat and request service and information from them. It’s more of a conversational thing, a two-way dialogue.
What might be the impact of this technology on the sales rep?
I do see the nature of the doctor–rep relationship changing in how they interact. In the life sciences world, face-to-face has been dominant and the belief was that if you take face-to-face out of the mix, the relationship goes down. But I think you can do less face-to-face and actually have the relationship improve. It will change the rep dynamic, but the rep will not away. The rep is a critical part of the relationship.
How has COVID affected the development and launch of the product?
It has certainly been a big factor, but this was a concept we were working on for some time before COVID. More patients and doctors are open to doing things like virtual calls now. People are more willing to the change the way they do things. So, that’s an opportunity for us and it is one of the reasons we have moved so fast on this. We announced MyVeeva for Doctors in June and just four months later, we have a product that is live. There is a big opportunity to move very quickly on this and demonstrate success. But even after COVID, we’re not likely to go back to the traditional promotional model.
What is the timeline for rolling out and evolving MyVeeva for Doctors in the US and beyond?
By the end of this year, we'll have more learnings and we will be in a position build new capabilities for a second wave of companies to join the process. The product is available in the U.S. the U.K., Ireland, Brazil, Colombia, and Australia. We'll have some of those launch partners live in the first quarter of 2021.