Is your HCP a digital native or a digital immigrant?

October again. Last week was the second virtual Medical Information and Communications Conference. The content was wonderful, it was great seeing everyone, we had many attendees and an energetic exchange. However, I admit, I cannot wait to see everyone in person again. Virtual meetings are great for content sharing but the magic happens when you meet in person, in between sessions.

When you can discuss what you heard, what you learned and share your experiences. The human element is so important to the creative process Hopefully, next year, we will meet again face to face.

Today’s topics are inspired by last week’s DIA Medical Information and Communications Conference:

– Is your customer a digital immigrant or a digital native? Why I think that is the wrong question
– Working during the pandemic and afterwards, some thoughts on what we want to keep from this time from our DIA session
– Project leadership, the risk of taking accountability when it’s not yours

Is your HCP customer a Digital Native? Or a Digital Immigrant? My hypothesis is that it doesn’t matter as much as we might think

During last week’s DIA meeting I took part in a Hackathon, which has become an annual event, and which is always wonderful. It was great fun. I enjoyed it immensely. We discussed two hypothetical HCP customers. Polly, a digital native pharmacist and Janet, a digital immigrant. The assumption we discussed was that digital immigrant Janet prefers non-digital solutions. Direct human to human contact. Whereas digital immigrant Polly prefers an online solution.

Based on being a customer, and frequently losing hours searching websites, or interacting with chatbots, or chat agents, only to be triaged to a phone line, where I have to repeat my question, I have this hypothesis: most HCP customers want an immediate tailored response to a question. If the fastest way to do that is by using digital means. They will use that. If the phone is faster. They will use the phone. If we want to influence their behaviour one way or the other, we need to provide them with stellar service provision in the channel we are nudging them towards. I have many ideas on improving both channels. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced the question should not be “what type of customer am I serving” but “what do our customers want above all else, regardless of channel?” And the second question is “Can we give it to them?”

Working during the pandemic and beyond. What we learned, what we want to keep, and what we want to let go of. Insights from the session at the DIA meeting

In this session, my co-chair Peter Brodbin, Director Medical Information Effectiveness at Pfizer, and I discussed a wide range of topics with our panelists Lori Mouser, Global Head, Medical Customer Engagement and Damian Page, Head Data Healthcare Ecosystems both at Roche.

We covered: information politics. Trust. Mental health. The importance of correct information. Empowered patients. Virtual working. Conferences. Customer engagement.

We also discussed what we want to keep from the pandemic experience and what we want to let go of. Lori highlighted how thanks to virtual working we learned that we could bring in talent from around the world effectively and simply. Damian appreciated how the networked way of working within companies and across teams was accelerated during the pandemic. Peter wants to focus on maintaining the momentum of customer engagement. And wants to explore how we maintain our focus on the quality of our interactions asking ourselves which type of engagement, F2F or virtual, is the right type. Instead of defaulting to F2F. In the interest of efficiency and the environment.

And finally, what I don’t want to let go of? The realization that things that we say are impossible are in fact often possible. The hope that we stop saying, this can’t be done, but instead ask ourselves “would it make sense to do this?” . And if the answer is yes, then finding a way. We have seen, that saying that we need to analyse a situation for 14 years before we try something new, is, in the face of how fast we transitioned to virtual working, for example, wrong.

I hope we remember that we can do things faster and more efficiently. That teams can be trusted to work at home virtually. That they are productive, even when they don’t have a manager monitoring them. That we remember that we can move at unprecedented speeds. That diagnostic tests and vaccines were developed amazingly fast. That caution is good but that taking risks is sometimes worth it too. But also, that we remember to be grateful for the things we usually take for granted. Friends, family, financial stability. This last one, is one that many outside our industry could not count on.

Project leadership – the risk of taking responsibility when it’s not yours

Recently a project leader said, “what kind of project leader am I, if I cannot deliver to the timelines?” This reminded me of how easy it is to take responsibility for an entire project when in fact you only control certain aspects. The truth of the matter is that projects change, resources change. Other priorities come up. One person is not responsible for delivering an entire project by themselves. Sometimes, when work and life challenge us, it is tempting to take responsibility for everything that is going wrong.

That is when we need to take a step back, assess what we can control, what we can change, and identify who else needs to be involved in delivering a solution. Assigning blame is less important than finding solutions. Absent taking a moment to pause and reflect, the risk of driving teams too hard is real, the risk of burning out is real. And the hope to find a good path forward, is almost impossible.

If you are facing a complex challenge and would like a sounding board or you’d like some help to implement globally, contact me for a chat.

Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash