Today’s reality: how to make social distancing work in medcomms
Apr 2, 2020
At Lucid, we don’t just want to cope with COVID-19.
The current situation certainly presents an unprecedented challenge to delivering medical education. The daily update of cancellations and postponements has become a formality – a strange quotidian occurrence that just a fortnight ago would have been an extreme rarity.
However, this is no time for us to grind to a halt. Client, HCP and patient needs remain, and while we may temporarily be prevented from delivering valuable content through live channels, digital platforms provide an alternative avenue to maintain momentum.
When a door shuts, open a window.
The fact is, we’ve already seen rapid growth in the use of virtual spaces over the past decade. The scenario this pandemic presents will force that trend to take a sharp upward turn. Like a rubber band that is stretched beyond its elastic limit, it is likely we will see the entire industry change forever on the back of this experience.
Online platforms are simply the tools for creation
“Focus on the psychology, not the technology.” JONAH BERGER
It can be easy to assume a mentality that online technologies compromise our ability to deliver engaging experiences and force us to sacrifice interactivity for convenience. However, the same behavioural principles apply whether you conduct activities in person or virtually.
At Lucid, we pride ourselves on our ability to take a step back and see that any virtual engagement is just a small portion of the overall audience journey. There are many other points along this continuum that require thought and consideration to realise our vision of an optimised interaction.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” ALBERT EINSTEIN
At Lucid, it is our imagination and understanding of behaviour change – and the science that underpins it – that allows us to get the most out of virtual meetings.
To borrow lessons from storytelling, if we consider the start of a virtual activity to be the first page of a book, then you should know that you are already in the middle of a plot that has been happening for some time, and one that will continue long after you close the browser window.
Your attendees are your characters with their own subplots. Ask yourself:
- How have you informed and delivered a meaningful experience in the run-up to the event?
- How have you gathered useful insights from them prior to the event to feed into the agenda and give them ownership?
- What does their happily-ever-after journey look like once the action has finished, and the epilogue has been written?
Online platforms. Think of the entire journey
It would seem myopic to focus on whether the platform has a chat functionality for moderating Q&A. Think of the entire journey: it might all be conducted virtually, but it can reflect a humanity that makes the remote experience as engaging and enjoyable as live events.
At Lucid Group, our mission is clear — to transform lives through medical communications that change behaviour and improve patient health outcomes. Therefore, it’s our duty to provide viable solutions to our clients on how they can best navigate this new reality. With the right perspective, there’s the potential to identify it as an opportunity to test the platforms that will inevitably shape the future of medical education – a future that will be predominantly remote.
For pivoting quickly
There are a multitude of established platforms with varying levels of functionality and sophistication our clients can leverage with minimal fuss. Below is a short compendium of examples with which we have had positive experiences:
For longer lead times
For those who see this as a time to reflect, regroup and invest, at Lucid we have developed our own customisable models which allow clients greater flexibility, usability and audience experience:
The Bluedog Virtual Engagement Platform
This platform exists to sustain engagement with experts across multiple touchpoints, with minimal in-person interaction. This has been particularly useful for programmes where multiple formats and topics for discussion were required across a lengthy period of time. For instance, continued dialogue with steering committee members has been well-served across the various functions available in the platform.
FEATURES FOR VIRTUAL ENGAGEMENT
- Meeting facilitation via client-preferred video conferencing technology
- Document library
- Discussion forum
- Interactive polls
- Events calendar
- Client-hosted, avoiding third-party hosting environments
- Co-created content
AVISO – Virtual Advisory Board
AVISO has now been used successfully across multiple clients. It can be deployed at relatively short notice and is a cost-effective (carbon footprint-reducing) alternative to traditional face-to-face advisory boards.
FEATURES FOR VIRTUAL ENGAGEMENT
- Discussion forum
- Integrated metrics
- Admin suite including moderation
- Unlimited discussion threads
- Private discussion threads
- Resource centre
- Conversation tagging with email notifications
- Mobile and tablet compatible
Beyond facilitating virtual collaborative activities, REKORD is another useful tool we have developed for quickly and remotely capturing talking-head video content. The recording is completed solely by the KOL at a time and location of their choosing.
- Clean and easy-to-use interface
- No additional software required, just a supported web browser and a functioning webcam and microphone
- Recorded content is automatically sent to us. No need for third-party file-sharing sites
- Built-in guides to help obtain the best shot framing
All in all, whether utilising third-party or our own customisable platforms, we have consistently delivered excellence for our clients. Since 2018 we have delivered over 1,200 different med-comms initiatives, including more than:
- 40 bespoke online platforms
- 65 symposia
- 280 educational meetings (where virtual elements are always intertwined as part of the learning journey)
- 100 advisory boards — with at least 10% of these being run entirely remotely, enabling us to transform many of the planned ad boards in the coming months over to a virtual platform with ease
Patients have never needed us more than they do now. So, if you need help optimising your med comms to help improve outcomes in today’s reality, we’re here. Always.
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