iPad or detail-Pad – are pharmaceuticals using the real tech-Pad?

Harshit Jain

Doctors Republic

A December 2010 Wall Street Journal article stated Abbott Laboratories, Medtronic Inc., and Boston Scientific Corp. were among those in our industry making the move to iPad. The article also said medical device giant Medtronic purchased 4,500 iPads for its sales and marketing teams and could buy as many as 6,000 iPads.

Now, a majority of the companies are either thinking about it or have started to use it in some way or the other.

No doubt, the devices’ ease of use, connectivity, elegant display, lightweight mobility, eco-friendliness (less paper), and quick startup make it an enticing tool.

Medical institutions and physicians who are known for being early adopters of technology appreciate the iPad and see its potential in the field. Rapid changes in mobile and tablet technology, including the trend by HCPs and the industry to use multiple devices does positively impact workflow and business operations. But the real questions are:

• How do physicians react to the iPad? Will these reactions last as the shine wears off?

• What potential benefits does pharma foresee and how are they using it?

• Do you think its all hype, or is the iPad here to stay?

The iPad helps us communicate with clinicians, it helps our stories come to life. The sales representative can pull up information quickly and use graphics to tell a story in a very memorable way.


“A strategically developed e-detail aid can become a virtual briefcase for your sales representatives…”


Interactive graphs, mode of action videos, eye-catching animations and references on demand are just a few ways in which electronic detailing can allow you to increase the impact of your marketing messages and maximize each sales opportunity.

A strategically developed e-detail aid can become a virtual briefcase for your sales representatives – replacing printed details, clinical paper re-prints and reams of other marketing collateral to ensure that, regardless of the situation, all brand materials can be accessed with the swipe of a finger!

It takes a laptop three minutes to go from ‘standby mode’ to ‘start mode’ but an I-detailer takes less than five seconds and this is very important because the doctor has very little time to spare. He too has observed that when all the information is animated it makes a greater visual impact in the customer’s mind so an I-detailer could stimulate a better scientific discussion than a paper detailing.

In the fight for the doctor’s share of mind, pharma companies try to outperform their peers by going an extra mile.

A Global Survey amongst both Generalist and Specialist HCPs showed:

• Of those physicians, that had received an iPad detail, 68% reported being extremely satisfied or very satisfied with the format.

• A few of the verbatim reasons cited for liking the iPad detail method included easy to read and follow, easy to see and sign, and easy to understand and remember.

• A total of eight out of ten rated digital detailing (iPad, iPhone, iTouch, Tablet, etc…) as the same or better than previous methods such as paper-based visual aids.

• Some complaints against digital detailing included references to glitches and computer / equipment issues.

• Digital detailing information delivered in person by a representative via digital device such as a smartphone, iPad, or tablet was still the preference.

But this preference was higher by a wide margin among younger physicians.

Is iPad usage really exploited or is it being used more like a sleek, compact video detail aid?


“It takes a laptop three minutes to go from ‘standby mode’ to ‘start mode’ but an I-detailer takes less than five seconds…”


How can the iPad become a real DETAIL–Pad?

What is one single difference, if I may ask between Ipad and Video Detailer, apart from convenience? The 3G’s…

1G – Gauge the instant feedback from the HCPs and publish it to the entire Healthcare Practitioner Universe. Doctor’s feedback can be uploaded instantly, and shared with other Doctors on a real time basis making use of technology and helping physicians take quick decisions. An ideal combination of E+ I Detail.

2G – Guaranteed response time – email requests for research papers, other scientific information could be managed quickly with guaranteed response time. The information requested by the Doctor can be emailed instantly.

3G – Good reporting practices – better, more efficient reporting and response tracking by CRM along with instant sales ordering tools.

Apart from the 3G’s, other areaswhere iPads are currently being utilized, are:

• More visually stimulating communication material for better recall with possibilities to include patient videos, live demos etc…

• Access to entire brand communication material by the sales representative.

• Ongoing training to boost professional, medical, communicative skills for the sales representative.

Talks are on for the launch of a 4G in India, later this year and that would add another G to our detail pad as well – Genuine prescriber base.

This is just the beginning of opening up of technology for the “Considered Not So Tech Savvy Doctors”.

So will the tried-and-tested old faithful visual aid be consigned to the archives of pharma detailing? Not likely.

It still is the one detail that gives the biggest bang for the buck, does not need to boot up, nor recharge and has the maximum chance of remaining on the doctor’s table longest, provided of course, the content is worth the attention.


About the author:

Dr. Harshit Jain is the Chief Operating Officer with Doctors Republic and Nutritionists Republic, which are exclusive closed communities for Healthcare Professionals. He is in the process of creating MED MEDIA, which he considers is an outcome of evolution for Healthcare Professionals from Social Media and Professional Media and hope to revolutionize the entire Healthcare Practitioner Landscape vis a vis Healthcare, Medical Device and Pharmaceutical Organizations.

Before this position, he was Senior Vice President – Strategy at via media and Communications, a comprehensive Healthcare Communications organization based in India. He advised the brand management for over 35 brands for various multinational pharmaceutical, consumer healthcare and Medical Device clients. Dr. Jain is former VP of Altruista Health, a health services and Technology Company based in Reston, Virginia. His experience and expertise extends across a wide range of areas including brand management, establishment of SBUs, healthcare communication, health insurance, disease management, direct clinical care, and health program/benefits design.

Dr. Jain completed his medical training from University College of Medical Sciences and also has a Masters in Business Administration from the Indian Institute of Management.

How do physicians react to the iPad?