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Why Identity is Imperative for Pharma Companies


Pharma must develop digital identity strategies for creating seamless, safe and compliant customer journeys, writes Jamie Beckland.

Pharmaceutical companies are working hard to keep pace with the disruptions brought about by digital technology and a shifting health care landscape. To overcome these challenges, companies must develop digital identity strategies for creating seamless, safe and compliant customer journeys.

As a response, many companies are attempting to build in-house solutions to maintain compliance and manage customer identities. However, this route comes with its own inherent risks, in addition to being a resource drain. A customer identity and access management (CIAM) platform specifically designed for the pharmaceutical industry provides companies with the tools they need to successfully craft and implement a digital identity strategy.

With a digital identity strategy centered around a robust CIAM platform, pharma companies can better manage customer journeys and craft more personalized marketing campaigns.

The current pharmaceutical climate

The rise of low-see and no-see doctors coupled with the growth of digital communication channels are two main factors driving this industry shift. However, by embracing and implementing robust digital communication and compliance platforms, pharma companies can find more effective ways to engage these low-see and no-see doctors.

Busier schedules and stricter ethical rules have created more barriers for drug reps trying to connect with health care providers (HCPs), driving up the number of low-see and no-see doctors. Recent research from ZS Associates revealed that only 44 percent of physicians were accessible to reps in 2016. This number has followed a steady downward trajectory since reaching a high of 80 percent just eight years ago. More in-demand specialists were even tougher to snag, with only 17 percent of oncologists available to drug reps.

Meanwhile, the general population is becoming older and certain ailments are now more prevalent, both of which are contributing to the expansion of the healthcare sector. For instance, the number of people with diabetes ballooned to 422 million in 2014 after reaching 108 million in 1980, reported Strategy+Business. Although it's currently mired in uncertainty, the Affordable Care Act has created another avenue for individuals with health insurance to access medicine. These factors will drive more people to seek out medical assistance and obtain pharmaceuticals, putting even more strain on physicians’ already overburdened schedules.

Greater demand for medicine will create more growth opportunities for pharma companies targeting these low-see and no-see doctors. However, it will also increase competition as more businesses target those opportunities. Pharma companies will need to successfully segment their target customers by delivering personalized marketing through the use of a streamlined registration and data collection system. This will also make secure third-party authentication for health care providers a must.

In addition to addressing these customer-centric issues, new economic trends are impacting the sector as a whole, including:

●      Global pricing pressures increasing for medicine around the world

●      Doctors, health care organizations and insurers facing new dynamics in light of more corporate mergers and acquisitions

●      Regulatory compliance becoming stricter

Customer identity management will be a key component to any solution looking to capitalize on the pharmaceutical industry’s coming opportunities.

What does identity mean for pharma companies?

Against this backdrop, customers - be they consumers, physicians or HCPs - have come to expect personalized messaging available across a variety of digital mediums. The rise of mobile technology and social media has made customers more comfortable with getting personal in the way they interact with companies, including pharma. This means sending out mass emails to prospects with generic messages simply won’t cut it anymore.

Pharma companies must now manage customer identities across a wide swath of medicine brand properties, multiple engagement channels and regulatory compliance facets. Navigating any one of these routes can be difficult, but trying to handle all three at once can be nearly impossible without the right tools to implement a comprehensive identity strategy.

A CIAM platform provides pharma companies with the technology, data and means to create and leverage a digital customer identity strategy. Data analytics provide more granular insights into customer preferences, which allow for market segmentation and personalized messaging. A CIAM platform also ties together registration with customer journey tracking, all of which is necessary for identifying users across devices and using a single sign-on to seamlessly navigate a brand’s global product offering.

In addition to managing these omnichannel identity factors, pharma companies need to maintain a secure exchange of verified, third-party credential information. This ensures only authorized HCPs can access restricted assets. A CIAM platform lets pharma companies acquire and recognize authorized physicians, HCPs and consumers across all web and mobile properties, boosting security and providing peace of mind.

Develop a digital customer strategy

Implementing a robust CIAM platform serves as a crucial linchpin for a successful digital strategy. Pharma companies need to have the capabilities to provide easy sign-in and access to content, such as drug facts and ingredients for customers, on every type of device at any time of the day.

With physicians, providers, payers and consumers all entering and traveling along distinct customer journeys with different sequences of touchpoints, pharma companies must have the ability to segment and engage these individuals. In addition, there needs to be a way to track and analyze these journeys to personalize them for greater engagement.

For instance, single sign-on lets pharma companies have their customers log in across any of their websites and subdomains. Even though customers are accessing data across multiple web and mobile properties, the CIAM platform still ensures the right people can see the right content.

A CIAM platform allows pharma companies to manage customer identity across four main pillars:


This single platform provides a universal ID for customer registration and login across digital devices, making a more streamlined user experience. Social login lets customers use familiar channels to access their information. And this, along with customizable registration forms, lets pharma companies gather the information they need to build specially tailored marketing campaigns that reach the ever elusive low-see and no-see physicians.


The exchange of verified, third-party credential information must be secure, and pharma companies need to manage both HCP and customer identities in compliance with strict regulations. A CIAM platform manages these security and privacy compliance issues.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers source materials and sell medicine to customers around the world. This global scale means pharma companies deal with different regulations across borders, and sometimes within a single country. With varying regulations to manage, it's imperative that there is a system in place for ensuring strict compliance and global governance.

However, 49 percent of drug companies reported a lower level of comprehension with interdisciplinary regulatory requirements, according to a 2014 study reported DTC Perspectives. With nearly half of respondents lacking a nuanced understanding of regulatory requirements, it can lead to costly mistakes. A CIAM platform allows pharma companies the ability to balance global governance and compliance with regional regulations and autonomy.


Customized registration forms, social login and information from append services provide the first- and third-party data necessary for greater customer insight. The platform stores and manages this data, and the customer journey analytics develop the insight to implement a digital customer strategy. This lets pharma companies craft more personalized marketing campaigns and target specific segments with fine-tuned messaging.

Pharmaceutical companies can leverage omnichannel access and robust data collection to create more engaging customer journeys that ensure these individuals remain satisfied and continue to build relationships with the company. A CIAM platform provides the solution necessary for pharma operations to create a digital strategy that manages both health care providers and consumer identities while maintaining regulatory compliance and ensuring the highest level of safety.

Jamie Beckland is VP Product, Janrain.

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