Video killed the in-person meeting star? Study finds video calls more effective in driving Rx

Should pharma reps keep wheeling their cases into doctors' offices? Maybe not. Video meetings are three times more effective than in-person interactions when it comes to driving new prescriptions.

That’s according to a new report from life science cloud software company Veeva Systems, which combed through data from 130 million quarterly field interactions across 80% of global biopharmas.  

It was an unexpected result: Video meetings, which have grown during the pandemic, work better than in-person meetings at getting new prescriptions filled. And digital leaders in the industry “are gaining an advantage using video calls up to three times a week,” the Veeva report said.

Why is video better? Partly because video meetings last longer. Veeva found that video calls tend to average 21 minutes, with reps using content in 85% of those meetings compared with 39% in person.

The COVID pandemic shifted almost all reps in from the field and into a virtual world in 2020 and in 2021. As lockdowns have largely ended and normality returns, however, there has not been a massive rush back to in-person meetings.

Veeva’s report found that nearly 30% of HCP interactions remain digital—a massive shift from an estimated 5% digital prior to the pandemic. The report found field sales teams engage with healthcare providers 73% in person, 18% through email, 5% over the phone, and 3% on video.

The report also found that provider preferences are changing: The growing use of chat or text is now statistically significant, reaching 1% as providers embrace newer “pull” models alongside traditional “push” tactics.

“With on-demand access to more reps, providers look to engage through their preferred channels when it's most convenient for them,” Veeva found.

The report concludes that the way pharma field teams engage with HCPs “is shifting once again” and argues that success “hinges on empowering field teams with data-driven insights to build the best omnichannel mix that engages HCPs when and where they need it most.”