What services should biopharma companies deliver to oncologists?
Based on our research, the services that are critical to the future of oncology can be grouped into four different imperatives for biopharma:
1. Enabling patient-specific discussions
In a patient-centric world, the “best treatment option for a specific patient” needs to take a personalized patient view rather than a product-centric view. In fact, according to our survey, this particular discussion received the highest score in the area of: “need a lot more going forward”.
of oncologists say individual patient case discussion will influence treatment decisions in the future.
of oncologists say product level discussions will influence treatment decisions in the future.
2. Building real-world data capabilities
Access to real world data (RWD), combined with expert discussion, is increasingly important. The oncologists we polled see this as “very critical”. In fact, RWD is seen as a top five priority service, trumped only by services such as “discussion of personalized treatment plans” and “scientific exchange”.
of oncologists want pharma representatives to be able to discuss RWD with them.
3. Expanding precision oncology support
The 120 oncologists we surveyed were evenly split between those from academic medical centers (AMC) or community practice (CP). There is a striking difference between the needs of AMC and CP oncologists. Biopharma companies must therefore build or acquire targeted skillsets to meet the expectations of both segments.
AMCs routinely apply precision oncology, versus CPs who can benefit from enabling the fundamentals, access to an expert network and simple, safe on-the-job guidance to apply precision oncology to their daily work.
AMCs require highly specialized teams, while CPs value more generalist field teams that can act as a gateway to specialists if needed.
4. Getting the basics right
It is important to continue things that have been successful in the past, such as discussing specific products or supporting patient access to new medicines.
Ground-breaking treatments are great, but if access is constrained by complexity, the treatments won’t create the experiences and outcomes oncologists and patients require.
How should the services be delivered?
Our research indicates that a hybrid of in-person and virtual delivery is preferred. Although COVID-19 has accelerated virtual care delivery, oncologists believe that face-to-face meetings will remain important.
Notably, there is a preference for in-person interaction when, for example, a discussion centers on the best treatment option for a specific patient, or genomic/biomarker results for a specific patient. Interestingly, physicians prefer group meetings for most services, and want those meetings actively brought (pushed) to them. The only exceptions are services where an individual or specific patient case is being discussed. In this case, physicians prefer one-on-one services and on-demand delivery.
Most services require only a general medical background. However, there are a handful of advanced services that require experienced oncologists or specialists.
Medical background is sufficient
Most services can be provided by industry representatives with a medical background—an understanding of oncology would be ideal but is not necessary for this category.
Experienced oncologist desired
For some advanced services, peer-to-peer discussions are increasingly requested: specifically, when discussing the best treatment option for a specific patient or seeking information on upcoming treatments, physicians want to interact with experienced oncologists (peer or expert level).
Additional specialization required
For some services, specialist input is required—this includes discussions on genomic sequencing, biomarkers, the genomic and/or biomarker results of a specific patient and molecular pathways related to a specific indication.
Act now to be future ready
Innovation and excellence in interfacing with oncologists will differentiate leaders from followers, and ultimately enable differentiated outcomes for patients and health care ecosystems. We offer three things biopharma companies should do to differentiate:
Co-create new peer network ecosystems
Build an expert future-needs oriented customer facing team
Leverage new technology to drive insights
For all the in-depth research findings including the role of technology, read the report.