Interview with John Wahba, Medical Head of the Global Digital Hub at GSK
John Wahba, Medical Head of the Global Digital Hub at GSK, is scheduled to speak at the NEXT Pharma Summit in Dubrovnik, 16-17 May 2023, in a session entitled OMG (Omnichannel Medical Goals) – Mastering our Medical Capabilities and Insights.
SciencePOD had the opportunity to speak with John ahead of his session about the challenges in engaging healthcare professionals (HCPs) in personalized, informative and useful ways and the best ways to overcome these hurdles.
What are the unique challenges of communicating with HCPs about medical innovation during clinical trials?
Everyone is different, and we all learn in different ways. One of the challenges is to make sure that HCPs understand our content and that we meet their educational needs. We need to rely on data and analytics to understand a HCP’s channel preference and preferred ways to absorb information.
Typically, we need to keep in mind each HCP’s understanding of the data. For instance, sometimes we need to provide very detailed information because of inexperience with the subject area. Alternately, sometimes we work with experts and all they need are the key updates. Essentially, it is best if the information we provide is personalised.
Clinical data can be very complex, so it is important that related content is clear and concise where possible. Channel preference, preferred ways of learning and experience with the subject area will all inform the approach. Local regulatory and compliance jurisdictions are also important considerations to factor in.
For example, there are specific situations in which it is possible to proactively communicate or share pre-licence clinical trial data with HCPs such as in the context of a legitimate exchange of scientific and medical information, or reactively in response to a request, where the information provided should be personalised.
Could you share some of your preferred tactics for successful digital automated campaigns aimed at HCPs to stimulate a high level of customer engagement?
It is important that we listen to HCPs, understand their needs and be aware of the wider conversation or landscape. To achieve this, we look at a wide array of data from sources such as patient engagement activities, MSL notes, medical information queries, congress engagements, and social media. We can then analyse these to generate insights that can inform the content that will best reach and engage HCPs. Therefore, it is important to not just assume that we know what HCPs want, but to put in the work to find out what they want.
For me, the key thing is to start co-creating with HCPs. Partnering with key opinion leaders and HCPs that are active on digital platforms can ensure that content is relevant, engaging and useful. HCPs are frequently active on social media, and are discussing products, medicines and data. I think that it’s important that we embrace this, and investigate compliant ways to engage HCPs on social media.
Moreover, feedback is key and we need to look beyond vanity metrics such as likes and open rates. It’s important to measure depth rather than only the breadth of the engagement with the content and understand the impact this content is having on the HCP. Was it useful? What impact is it having?
We have witnessed the rise of AI solutions for content creation. What are the pros and cons of using automated content creation tools related to the latest trial progress to create touchpoints for customer activation around medical congresses?
Having access to things like AI, NLP and other automated solutions creates a lot of efficiency by digesting large amounts of content quickly. These solutions also allow for consistency in content creation.
Ultimately, if you have an automated system and it is consistent, efficient and reliable, then you can scale the approach up and produce content at scale quickly. This is particularly useful for big, fast-moving events such as congresses, where you need to communicate information quickly and efficiently.
In terms of the cons, data quality is a big issue. It’s a case of rubbish in, rubbish out. If you are confident that you have good quality data about your audience, then you can feed these data into your AI or NLP and leverage this to personalise the outputs for better engagement. However, if your data is not clean or is messy, then this approach will not work well.
Another factor to consider is that with automation there can be an element of loss of personalisation (again, if the data you hold about your HCPs or stakeholders is not of good enough quality or substance). If you lose that element of personalisation from your content, then your content will not be as effective.
What lessons have your learned about effective ways of stimulating industry engagement based on your recent omnichannel campaigns?
For me, clean data are key and having a data-driven strategy is critical, with closed-loop insights to ensure you can constantly learn and adapt. It is not a set and forget approach. Another issue is quality over quantity. This could involve making sure that your user journeys make sense, for instance. Where possible and appropriate, it is useful to integrate commercial and medical user journeys to ensure one seamless and integrated experience so that HCPs are not bombarded from both sides.
Ensuring that you tailor your content for each HCP’s needs and interests is crucial. It is also important to measure the impact of your interventions. We are sometimes guilty of putting content out there, and assuming that it is well pitched, but you can’t know this unless you check with HCPs. It is important to go beyond relying on vanity metrics, such as likes and shares, and accurately appraise whether HCPs have found the content useful, and potentially what would they change.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our community?
Everyone is talking about omnichannel engagement and having one integrated customer experience between medical and commercial, but currently there is a lot of talking and not a lot of action in this space. A lot of progress has been made with medical affairs when it comes to omnichannel but we are still slightly behind. So, it’s important to get on with it, be agile, try, learn and move on. Start small and then build, you don’t need to start with 10 channels, start with one or two simple user journeys and start building on this foundation. You can then evolve your engagement framework to be more complex. This could involve introducing some cross-functionality, such as between medical and commercial applications, for instance.