Physician's Weekly revamps its offering, adding digital tablets and more content

Physician lounges are getting an information makeover as Physician's Weekly adds tablet computers to its wallboard news delivery.

Beginning April 1, the publication will add 10-inch tablets in wall-hung charging stations next to its traditional poster. The plan is to eventually spread out to its full network of 10,000 locations made up of 2,000 hospitals and 8,000 small group practices.

The tablets add interactivity to its inside-marketing institutional offering, and with the ability for doctors to pick up and click on articles or ads, can also be tracked. CEO Ezra Ernst said the tablet content will include Physician's Weekly's current original articles, but add new aggregated and partner content, including journal abstracts from the National Library of Medicine and from its physician-popular PubMed citations.

Other medical news sources and CME offerings will also make an appearance. And PW will have areas for pharma companies to put up promotional videos and other communications--for instance, animations illustrating new mechanisms of action, videos featuring KOLs discussing a new drug or study, and more.

"Pharma has so many digital assets that they develop for individual campaigns. The tablet is really a place to get more traffic to those assets," he said, adding that, with the exception of CME, the tablet content will have traditional mobile advertising banners and display ads surrounding it.

Ernst, who has been at Physician's Weekly for 7 months and previously worked at Treato, Medscape/WebMD ($WBMD) and UnitedHealth Group ($UNH), said PW surveyed 600 doctors and found that 93.5% had a very strong or strong interest in a digital tablet application. And--good news for advertisers--90% of those same physicians said they would be willing to allow metrics to be collected on their tablet behavior, such as what they're looking at and for how long.

Kantar estimates 200,000 physicians read Physician's Weekly annually, and as Ernst pointed out, the one-to-one potential for pharma to reach doctors is becoming ever more important as face-to-face meetings between sales reps and docs continues to decline.

The Google Android tablets use a Google+ model for its interface, Ernst said, with PW staffers curating content for specialty areas in different offices and lounges--even down to the individual doctor who will be able to click, save and forward articles on the tablet.

Coming in the next two months or so, Physician's Weekly will take what it learns from the tablet launch and push out its own smartphone app.

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