Author: Kelly Pinola, Senior Analyst


Today’s physicians need all the help they can get in providing patient care, struggling as they are with crushing patient volumes, a multiplicity of new technologies and the challenge of navigating increasingly complex administrative systems.

This should represent an opportunity for pharma to step up as a valued partner to physicians and bolster their relationship with this critical customer set. However, many physicians look to their pharma partners with suspicion, dismissing pharma content as nothing more than advertising and finding the quality of digital resources pharmas provide to be poor.


Where pharma is missing the mark with physicians online:

  •  Poor quality digital resources:

  • Low trust: 63% of pulmonologists agree it’s crucial that pharma provides education resources rooted in science to gain their trust – yet only 20% say they find pharma websites credible.


  • Navigational woes: The majority physicians we conducted deep-dive interviews with about their experiences with HCP portals* felt that the way the information was provided on pharma websites was poorly organized and confusing.



  • “Hidden” patient support: 50% of oncologists say they are more likely to prescribe a product if the company has superior patient support and beyond the pill services, yet only 30% of oncologists agree it’s easy to access valuable beyond the pill services from pharma companies.


  • Lackluster multimedia: 61% of gastroenterologists agree that professional video influences their clinical decisions - and yet, 48% don’t think any pharma company is doing a good job at providing videos for HCPs.


  • Ad overload: 62% of rheumatologists think the info that pharma provides on HCP publisher websites (e.g., Medscape, MedPage Today) are always just ads for their products – but data shows there is considerable unmet demand for non-promotional resources that can increase brand satisfaction (i.e., patient support, clinical education, etc. -- demand varies by specialist type).


Source: Manhattan Research - Taking the Pulse® U.S. 2017, ePharma Physician® 2017

*Navigational woes stat is from 15 in-depth interviews with physicians about their experiences and expectations around pharma portals and digital assets


How can pharma fix their faulty HCP portals and customer experience?

Pharma can help address physician distrust and frustration with its digital offerings by understanding their needs and challenges – and then providing content and services that go beyond promotion to provide value, especially on dedicated HCP customer service portals. Brands should then ensure that this content is discoverable in the right channels and is easily accessible for busy, fast-moving physicians who don’t have time to spare fumbling around a poorly-organized website.


This is no easy feat for marketers, who must keep on top of the evolving needs and channel behavior of physicians while grappling with proliferating vendors and investment options on limited brand digital budgets.


To help clients plan their roadmap for improving the customer experience, DRG Digital Senior Analyst Kelly Pinola has published a report for clients, titled “8 crucial steps to improve HCP portal experiences.”


Key questions answered include:

  • What are the current perceptions of pharma HCP portal websites?
  • How can pharma companies organize their HCP portals to better optimize the experience?
  • How should pharma handle product information and advertising in HCP portal websites?
  • How can pharma increase the credibility of their portal websites?


This report draws from Manhattan Research studies of the digital behavior and preferences of thousands of physicians, analyses of best practices inside and outside of the industry, and deep-dive interviews with 15 physicians about their experiences and expectations around pharma portals and digital content.


Contact us for sample report slides and to talk to an analyst about the implications for your planning:

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