The Pharma-HCP-Publisher ecosystem is one where each stakeholder shares a complex, interdependent relationship with the other. Over the last decade, each party has spent a lot of effort listening to each other to identify mutually beneficial opportunities for a healthy collaboration.
Under the old perceptions, the rock is the publisher: perceived as slow, who charge a lot and is stuck in its ways. The hard-place is Pharma – Biased, commercially focused, poor at disclosing results and the middle: the HCP – Overworked, struggles to translate research data and outputs into practical understanding.
We know that these accusations have been thrown at all three of our story’s main characters, and historically there is probably a lot of truth in them – however, the dynamic is transforming – with the flipside being:
The Rock as the Publisher is a validator, a stamp of high quality, trusted and helpful at sharing information. The hard-place of Pharma becomes the innovator, pushing boundaries in R&D to help save us from illness with the HCP in the middle being engaged, eager to continue learning, patient focused & practical.
In reality, all three of our characters have one thing in common – the drive to improve healthcare and patient outcome. Over the last decade, Pharma and the Publisher have recognized the need to transform themselves so as to better serve the HCP and, ultimately, patients.
We are all aware of the increasing pressures put on HCPs. Often working an 80-hour week, HCPs are overworked and time-limited. Whilst coping with their hectic working days, they are required to keep informed in their ‘spare time’ with the latest findings, recommendations and education to keep up-to-date with their specialty field and to translate this into how this applies to their daily practice.
In addition, Pharma has more research information that needs to be shared – R&D spend is expected to continue to grow steadily and, linked to this, more trials, drug launches and accompanying education bring more publications and more for the HCP to wrap their heads around. HCPs need help with getting access to latest research findings as efficiently as possible, quickly identifying quality information of priority to them, and with consuming this information as quickly as possible.
In short, both Pharma and publishers need to work together more efficiently for the success of all three parties. How is this being addressed?
Today, the needs of HCPs are finally, considered as truly putting HCPs at the centre of the Pharma – HCP – Publisher relationship. There is a recognition for the need to ensure that the right HCPs get all necessary information in a timely, consumable way, while maintaining peer reviewed, quality standards.
Facing an era of time-limited HCPs and an internet whose content sometimes resembles the wild west, Publishers have taken on the responsibility of validators and content gatekeepers. They ensure that content published through their trusted channels is of high quality, relevant and easily accessible to HCPs.
Meanwhile, recognizing the need for HCPs to access timely, practical and validated content as quickly as possible, Publishers are also continually innovating with ways to publish faster, personalize and target their content via the most suitable channels and formats.
No longer is it the case that authors and publishers are limited to a single article format and layout. Now in addition to the traditional article, publishers have engaging and easy to consume formats such as video summaries, infographics that highlight key points and author summaries that explain the practical implications. Formats known to be easier to digest than wordy text formats have led to higher engagement with key research and educational content, and ultimately, more impact on patients’ lives.
Pharma is now recognized as an innovator, pushing boundaries in R&D. There is a recognition for the need to be more transparent in disclosing research results and to be more efficient in submitting results to publishers. There is also an understanding of the need to work closer with publishers to help HCPs to access key information in a way that informs them on how they can improve daily practice and patient outcomes.
Fortunately, the transformation of the publisher, pharma, HCP dynamic is really ramping up. All major journals now accept (or should accept soon) engaging, consumable formats such as videos, podcasts, CME, summaries and infographics, supplementing the traditional article with reader-friendly formats while maintaining a high level of content quality. This is one of the many revolutions in the publishing industry.
Of course, this is only the beginning. Publishers need to remain attentive to their readers’ needs by continually innovating, leveraging or bringing to market the most engaging content formats available.
Pharma and the Publisher should also continue a healthy dialogue with HCPs to understand how they can continually improve their relationship with HCPs. As HCPs find themselves able to access key information more quickly and to digest the information more effectively, patients will, inevitably, have an increasing chance to recover, live longer, and benefit from this great dynamic.
Wiley is leading the new wave of publishing in partnership with Pharma – if you work in pharma then get in touch to understand how we can help you, the HCP and the patient.