In-person visits with healthcare professionals (HCPs) have alwa#ys been the lifeblood of pharmaceutical sales. So when the pandemic brought in-person office visits to a grinding halt in March of 2020, pharma sales reps were suddenly without their primary sales tactic. This had sales and marketing executives scrambling to find a fix. Fortunately, innovative technology companies like New Jersey-based P360 had the right medicine to help fill the void.
“It was already becoming difficult for pharmaceutical companies to maintain compliant relationships with key stakeholders, but the pandemic made things much harder,” said P360 CEO, Anupam Nandwana. “However, where there are challenges, there are also opportunities. And the pandemic gave pharma companies the opportunity to reevaluate how they communicate with prescribers. Advances in mobile, cloud, artificial intelligence and IoT have opened pharma to new channels for communicating and engaging with healthcare professionals.”
P360 takes a holistic approach to solving some of the pharmaceutical industry’s most complex problems. By leveraging technologies that most people already use in their daily lives, the company is able to provide convenient access to its systems while delivering a user experience that is both intuitive and frictionless. For pharma, this is important because physicians and their staff have little time to deal with new technologies that aren’t easily integrated into their day-to-day workflows.
During the early months of the pandemic, P360 introduced its Swittons line of IoT-enabled smart devices. Swittons devices were designed to help sales reps engage with physicians in a less abrasive, more physician-driven manner. They were also designed to help pharma reps reach remote medical professionals or those that weren’t willing to take office visits, helping to solve what is known as the “whitespace” issue. And for teams that have been downsized, Swittons helps add more coverage.
As interest in Swittons has grown, so have its use cases. In addition to sales organizations, labs are using the devices to automate processes, as are supply chains, manufacturers and research facilities. They are even being evaluated for use in decentralized clinical trials. And recently, P360 introduced a new Swittons model that offers advanced hardware and remote customization capability, as well as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) functionality as an option.
“IoT is one of the most versatile technologies there is, and it is quickly becoming the industry standard for connecting the physical world to the digital world,” added Nandwana. “It has been exciting to see how quickly the pharmaceutical industry has embraced the use of these devices, and the volume of use cases for them bodes well for the future of IoT. Bridging the gap between the physical and the digital to achieve operational efficiency is at the heart of what Swittons devices do.”
Besides being a powerful resource for pharmaceutical companies, Swittons also revolutionizes the engagement experience for physicians. Actions like ordering samples or requesting drug consultations have never been easier and more intuitive. Previously, these requests were somewhat complicated because multiple devices and systems were involved – some digital and some paper. With Swittons, all that a prescriber needs to do is push a button and the rest is taken care of automatically.
In an age where instant communication is needed more than ever, Swittons provides instant gratification. However, Swittons isn’t the only product P360 has in its portfolio to help move pharma sales forward. Another product they recently launched is the ZING Engagement Suite, simply known as ZING.
P360 launched ZING to bring a new channel of engagement to pharmaceutical companies so they can communicate with HCPs in an easy, compliant manner. ZING does this by: including asset and message templates that can be preapproved by compliance, providing detailed records and traceability of conversation, and integration with existing commercial infrastructure. The platform is also powered by AI models that provide recommendations and monitoring. This makes ZING highly effective and convenient, giving marketers, sales professionals and medical advisors a perfect way to engage with customers.
“Healthcare professionals are spending more and more time doing work-related functions on their mobile devices,” added Nandwana. “By providing an easy, compliant way for reps to reach healthcare professionals on their devices, ZING takes the sting out of physician engagement by integrating into the workflow of healthcare professionals. It is challenging to reach healthcare professionals via email channels, and they are frustrated with the variety of apps and portals that most systems require them to download. We have worked hard to take that friction out of the equation, and because of this we have experienced great success in working with some of the top pharma brands.”
One of the key aspects that make ZING’s capabilities unique is that the platform doesn’t require healthcare professionals to do anything different than what they are already doing in their daily lives. It is a ubiquitous channel of communication for every smartphone user, and recipients get their information on demand and when needed it. In addition, all messages sent by company reps and other professionals are preapproved by the compliance department, so there is no need to worry about regulatory blowback.
During a recent Webinar session with P360 CEO Anupam Nandwana, double board-certified physician and panelist Dr. Mandira Mehra confirmed that communication with pharma reps has become inefficient from a doctor’s standpoint. Although an integral part of a physician’s work, she noted that the process of accessing or contacting pharma reps can be very frustrating.
“Physicians want engagement at their own pace, at their own time, and they want to initiate it,” said Dr. Mehra. “I still have a stack of business cards with the information of 20-30 different pharmaceutical and medical device reps. I cannot think of any other industry that would do that – if I order food or call a cab, everything is streamlined and really done through the phone.”
In recognition of its continued innovation within pharmaceutical commercial operations, P360 was recently named in Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Life Science Commercial Operations, 2021. P360 was listed in the Life Science Sales Performance Management (LSSPM) category. As per the report, “LSSPM is a suite of operational and analytical functions that automate and unite sales planning and operational sales processes.”
As pharmaceutical companies continue to modularize their content, text messages have become the best channel for content delivery. Using AI models and integrated chatbots, P360 creates greater efficiencies and expands what can be done. Healthcare professionals can now do everything from ordering medical products and therapeutic to receiving medical information at the click of a few buttons.
Nandwana foresees both pieces of tech becoming industry standard. He added, “Both Swittons and ZING are designed to help pharmaceutical commercial organizations save time and money while facilitating meaningful interactions that are both productive and compliant. Their uses are only limited by the imagination.”
When it comes to the pharmaceutical industry, making the most of every interaction is essential. And even as the pandemic slows down, the way businesses operate will not. As such, digital technologies that improve communication and create efficiencies will always be in demand, so there is no limit to where Swittons and ZING might go.