SAS Forum Milan 2017: Pharma: analytics for patients, HCPs and industry

Positioning pharmaceutical products correctly taking into account conversations in online communities is a continuous and demanding job.

Sudler International has started a digital transformation process that requires the rethinking of internal and organizational processes.Healthcare and Pharma are sectors that involve products and services mainly addressed to a public audience, composed of doctors, who need accurate and verifiable information.Communicating with them correctly has always been a delicate and global challenge, today made even more complex by the appearance, in the conversations on the network, of consumers, experts and researchers who are becoming true points of reference and influencers of the market.

The Sudler International agency (a WPP Group company, a leader in social and health communications with an annual turnover of around 20 million Euros), with a precision focus on consulting to pharmaceutical companies, has developed a proprietary Data Analysis model capable of integrating heterogeneous data from multiple sources (internal and external).

How does the approach to communication change in the pharmaceutical world?

Mioli. Drugs often reach consumers a few years after their synthesis and need careful preparation of the market: a market based on medical-patient duality, which today also includes new players in the network (the public, associations and caregivers) who are increasingly active and participatory.

How do analytics support you in digital transformation?

Mioli. They help us to capture the value that is emerging online from the interactions between consumers, specialists and associations, which increasingly influence the product journey. We must also take into account the opinion leaders: for certain pathologies the points of reference within the community are in the few tens of people all over the world. Then there are the scientific sources: health databases, market research and studies carried out at an international level and unstructured information that requires advanced data analysis solutions to extract quality data and be able to discuss them.

The goal for the near future is to extend the analysis models to wider contexts, starting with the IoT. With this in mind, the cloud offers unthinkable scalability and openness for traditional on-premise systems.

Why a solution in the cloud?

Mistrorigo. The need to integrate various types of data implies the adoption of flexible solutions, and more besides. The goal for the near future is to extend the analysis models beyond social media and structured databases, starting from the enormous amount of information that will come from the IoT and wearables. With this perspective, the cloud offers the scalability and openness we need. Furthermore, despite being open, we are dealing with a proven, secure solution that does not require the development of specific skills in order to be used.

How do you understand if a medicine has reached the public correctly?

Mioli. There are many variables that can influence their success, such as the introduction of a new therapy. Through data analysis we are able to catch even weak signals, which come from research, from the involvement of patients affected by certain diseases or from their online conversations. Having a clear view of the overall scenario, it is possible to perform changes of course in good time.

A transformation that involves new processes, new interlocutors and new skills?

Mioli. We need internal and partnership restructuring: our interlocutors have increased in number and we must learn to involve them and communicate correctly with each one of them. In the management of unexpected elements that emerge from the correlations between the data, without a data-driven model it would be impossible to promptly make changes to the communication plan. But we must also equip ourselves with a new way of working which, through the human component, enhances the insights and weak signals emerging from their analysis by identifying new and effective approaches to communication.

Watch the interview with Maurizio Mioli, "Sudler and SAS come together to find answers to complex problems"