One major challenge many thought doctors would have in adopting e-Detailing was the lack of personal touch like in face-to-face interactions. But with more and more Indian doctors not just adopting it but actually showing a preference for e-Detailing over personal interactions with the MR, that doesn’t seem to be a problem anymore.
There are obviously some very strong advantages that doctors see in e-Detailing. Before getting into that, it would be good to look at the broader types of e-Detailing.
Types of e-Detailing
e-Detailing is in its early days of evolution. So, it stands to reason that you would see quite a few innovations in the coming years diversifying the types of e-Detailing. As for now, e-Detailing falls in a few categories:
Virtual live e-Detailing
The doctor is provided with a PDA that’s pre-loaded with the required software and a webcam. Usually, the doctor would have scheduled interactions with a pharmaceutical company’s sales representative on specific dates and times.
In other words, you get to control the timing and the duration of the sessions.
During session, the doctor would interact with the sales representative in real time. This type of interaction is ideal if you would like further inputs from the sales rep after you have learned certain background information about a drug.
Using a portal for doctors
This type of e-detailing is accessed by a group of doctors over an online portal. In a sense, it’s the digital equivalent of a traditional detailing. The use of such e-Detailing is not all that prevalent since it may not be easy for a number of physicians to find a time of convenience in the same time frame.
This is the most common mode of e-Detailing in which the doctor can view a series of interactive screens on his or her PDA. This could be done offline or maybe through an Internet or Intranet site. However, no live interaction happens here. But the doctor is usually given the option to contact an MR via e-mail or telephone.
This model is already proven to deliver well-structured and relevant messages to doctors. If certain reports are to be trusted, a scripted e-Detailing session is 5 to 10 times longer than the usual face-to-face MR visits. The fact that the model is available around the clock throughout the week makes it even more convenient for the doctor.
Major advantages of e-Detailing for doctors
There’s no doubt that e-Detailing makes content far more accessible. And that’s arguably its biggest advantage as far as doctors are concerned. Even if you are at a remote place, you could access live interaction with web meetings. But perhaps the more important point is that you can access the information regarding a new drug at any time of your choosing.
One major advantage of e-detailing is that the information is more integrated- in that you get to access information in different formats. For example, there are instances when a piece of information is better accessed through the medium of video than in the written format. This could be useful when the information is particularly complex. This makes e-Detailing a better way to learn about new drugs than via traditional face-to-face interaction with MRs- at least, in many cases.
This aspect depends a lot on how well-designed the e-Detailing is. The point here is that with e-Detailing you can delve deeper into particular facets of a drug. You can think of it as clicking open a link on a webpage, then when you come across something that merits more learning, clicking on another link and so on and so forth. Such systematic delving may not always be feasible in the case of person-to-person interactions.
More information in shorter times
The amount of information that you access via e-detailing may be dependent entirely upon you- as is the case when there are no web-meetings involved and you are accessing pre-conceived information on a PDA. This means that you have the option of getting more relevant information in a short time.
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