e-Detailing – Boon or Bane for the Doctors?


  • The traditional way of selling used by pharmaceutical sales reps is face-to-face means of communication. This is also the most expensive means of selling. But historically speaking, detailing has been the most important way for all pharmaceutical companies to brief their physicians about the drug. But unfortunately, in today’s day and age, the methods of detailing that were once used are no longer as effective as they used to be.
  • Switching from detailing to e-detailing:
  • Technology has changed everything. With technology being available to almost everybody, it has become an alternative means of communication with physicians and other prescribing influencers. Now, pharma companies have started experimenting with supplementing the sales rep’s detailing activities. They are not just supplementing, but are replacing some too. They are rather sending invitations to access websites and call centers for FAQ’s concerning the drug.
  • A lot of pharmaceutical companies have started their e-detailing invites. It is also seen to have a growing interest in physicians. e-Detailing helps build a strong relationship with physicians. Hence this should be implemented into the pharmaceutical company’s strategy and execution. They should be able to share physician’s information that is integrated across corporate channels.
  • A lot of companies are using technology such as mobile computing. Using this made it easier to create a better way to streamline clinical and commercial processes. It has also become easier to speed time-to-market, to empower sales forces, and to aid compliance procedures. Using this has proven mobile computing to be a necessary exercise. Mobile learning for sales reps has given remote access to training, collaboration and meetings without travelling. This reduces cost and often improves results.
  • Physician Segmentation
  • Understanding the different physician segments is very critical no matter what detailing you choose.
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  • e-Detailing and the various techniques:
  • e-Detailing is comparatively a new thing and is under construction as well as consideration by many pharmaceutical companies to maximize sales force time and cut costs and increase physician prescribing.
  • e-Detailing uses internet-based communications. It provides a value-added marketing channel. This services prescribers and complements a pharmaceutical company’s sales force activities. A company’s product information such as efficacy, side-effects, dosage, drug-to-drug interaction and indication can all be communicated to the physician over a number of e-Detailing platforms. For example, telephone detailing enables the physician to participate in an interaction through voice recognition. If one prefers real-time interaction, video conferencing is the best option for physicians and sales reps.
  • There are a lot of data-based websites that provide electronic details of drugs. While data-based websites provide details of the drugs, physician portals offer doctors a full complement of professional and personal services. They do this by offering an online facility of ordering drugs for product sampling. It also provides emails and medical education. This is also a platform for physicians to exchange clinical ideas and information with peers.
  • Different forms of e-Detailing:
  • 1. Virtual live e-Detailing:
  • This is that type of detailing where the PCs are preloaded with the necessary software, webcam and incentives for the physicians. To make sure all this works out well, models make sure physicians are obliged to contact sales reps of a pharma company a particular number of times in a month. The timing and duration is controlled by the Doctors.
  • While an e-Detailing session is in progress, the physician would be able to interact with the sales reps and with a Medical Science Liaison (MSL) via video and audio in real-time. This model of interaction provides a longer relationship with the physician and is much more cost-efficient. This is a much better option when compared to traditional methods of detailing.
  • 2. Using a portal for doctors:
  • These portals have ready-made communities of doctors and are used to deliver messages and product-specific messages. This is more similar to traditional detailing. These portals provide access to hard-to-reach physicians (specialists). The number of physicians who actively use portals is lesser than the official membership list. The reason there are physician portals is to show statistics that give insight into where physicians spend their time. This in-turn gives others insight into their web habits and interests.
  • 3. Scripted e-Detailing:
  • There are a series of screens usually through an internet or intranet site. Unlike the previous forms, here, live interaction is not possible. But, doctors can contact the sales reps by calling them or emailing them with their queries. This method ensures precise delivery and well-structured messages to physicians. This method is 5-10 times longer than the normal face-to-face call by medical sales reps but at a reduced cost. Since this facility is available 24/7, many physicians prefer this.
  • Top benefits of e-Detailing.
  • There are 3 main benefits of e-Detailing.
  1. Detailing done via sales reps make up most of the share of sales and marketing. This is around 45% in total. By using e-Detailing, pharmaceutical companies can cut down on costs. Since e-Detailing is an online sales session, things can be performed easily and at a lesser cost when compared to physical sales reps visit.
  2. There is an increase in contact time, per virtual which saves marketing expenses. Companies can start using e-Detailing to have a better control over detailing content. The same content developed for the use of the web can be used to train new sales reps.
  3. Pharma companies can capture a lot of information from practicing physicians using e-Detailing. Firms can use this information to target potential prescribers for field reps.
  • e-Detailing adds value to physicians:
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  • By providing a network of doctors, e-Detailing gives access to information at any time convenient to physicians. They can browse through products between appointments or at their own leisure. By doing so, a pharma company can actually increase time spent on each product at a fraction of the cost.
  • e-Detailing gives doctors the flexibility on control when it comes to time, privacy and objectivity. The best thing about it is it doesn’t disrupt the daily routine of the doctor and physicians.
  • Often it is seen that busy doctors take out time from their busy schedules to meet sales reps from a company they trust and have a good relationship with.
  • Moving from paper detailing to digital tablet PC-based multimedia dealers is a huge leap for most pharma companies.
  • According to a recent survey done, doctors spend about 7.5 minutes browsing one product compared to the 2 minutes spent with sales reps. The information e-Detailing provides is vast. From health service guidelines, product benchmarks to prescribing comparisons, it has everything listed out. This not only makes it easier to gather information but also paves the way for reps to take a full selling visit. Full selling visit means, time spent addressing possible competitors, product or prescribing issues, and other things too.
  • From the physician’s perspectives, the benefits are:
  1. Timely and updated information about products that concerns them is easily available.
  2. The ordering of samples is much easier than before.
  3. They can participate in group discussions that interest them.
  4. It is more time efficient interacting with representatives.
  5. Flexibility and ease to view products at their own time.
  • Conclusion:
  • e-Detailing is much more cost efficient and is growing in today’s day and age. But for e-Detailing to succeed, organizations must start integrating sales activities and the information they gather- both electronically and on the field – into the company’s marketing systems in order to help the physicians. A deep integrated e-detailing module in Pharmaceutical CRM is best equipped to help increase face time with doctors.
  • About Veltrod:
    Veltrod offers on-demand, affordable mobile SFA solution to manage end to end activities and performance of medical representatives, efficiently with ease. For a demo, please drop an email to sales@veltrod.in

About Author

Zeina Sravya

Zeina Sravya

Zeina Sravya is a Marketing Technologist, a strategist & a visionary with experience in traditional & digital marketing. She is responsible for the development & execution of sales force effectiveness strategies, tools, processes for SFA for pharmaceutical companies. Lead key initiatives, critical projects & continuous improvement activities.

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