Doc and device

The number of therapeutic options in cancer care is growing, and with it the complexity of treatment. Rather than choosing a single small molecule therapeutic, or looking at combinations of well-known drugs, doctors are faced with various decisions and choices. These can include precision medicines and personalized treatments with combinations of small molecules and biologics, which may also include immunotherapies and even cell-based therapies. Some may come with complex changes to clinical pathways, or unfamiliar delivery systems and new side effect patterns.

To better understand what information physicians require to help them navigate this explosion in choice and opportunity, during 2016, the QuintilesIMS team surveyed 98 oncologists over the top five EU countries.

In the second of two blogs, we examine the results and how insights gathered can help inform your communication strategy, by addressing physicians’ needs around clinical trial data and understanding the impact of new treatments.

What the physicians need

For the physician, the focus is on "what do I need to know" or "what will bring me the most value".

  • Over half of the physicians surveyed said that when introducing a new drug into their clinic, their biggest need was understanding the clinical benefits and potential patient outcomes.
  • Around 25% of the oncologists wanted help in assessing the drug's place in the clinical pathway and in the treatment guidelines.
  • A fifth wanted more information on the mode of action and side effects.
  • Almost 50% of the oncologists said that the most important medical education or promotional material was clinical trial data.
  • More than a quarter wanted information about newly approved drugs.
  • Only around 10% said that education, training and congresses were the most valuable options, suggesting that while these may be a 'nice to have', they are not the most essential part of regular interactions between biopharma and healthcare professionals.

Overall, the survey results indicate that access to clinical data is paramount for physicians, along with an understanding of how the drug will fit into clinical practice.

Working together

By working together, clinicians and biopharma companies can make a real difference, by uncovering the gaps in information needs, patient pathways and clinic infrastructures, particularly as some drugs can be very disruptive to a physician's practice.

The first step is to create and share information ahead of launch that is tailored to physicians' specific educational requirements. This should include realistic information on unmet needs, outcomes and benefits, backed up by clinical trial and real-world data.

The next step is to help the physicians understand where the drugs fit into existing patient care pathways. You will want to consider what could help physicians implement new treatments and protocols, and remember that a drug that requires major changes in care pathways and infrastructure will need to display significant benefits for the patients. This creates opportunities for biopharma companies to provide support by helping with pathway mapping and service redesign.

Biopharma companies must look at and understand the needs of physicians and other healthcare professionals, and then work out not only how to meet these needs, but who should deliver the solutions. Integrated multi-channel engagement can help you provide a consistent message via a number of different routes, connecting with time-poor HCPs in the way that is most useful and productive for them. 

Topics in this blog post: Biopharma, Oncology, Patient Outcomes, Healthcare