Pharmaceutical approvals in the field

How a niggle becomes a problem…

A national wholesale pharmaceutical distributor's sales team present and leave samples with physicians, which require robust checking procedures to minimise risk in terms of the loss and possibility of falling into the wrong hands. The current postal sign off and approval procedure is protracted and can result in administrative errors adding further bottlenecks.

The impact of this on the sales and marketing divisions is that these create delays which compound the sales forecasts, and caste suspicion that a 10% improvement alone in this area could result in a 25% increase on the order book. Furthermore customer service are finding that they are spending around 15-20% of their time fielding calls from irate physician's orders that they are unaware of, who have been promised deliveries on certain days that are continuously missed.

Managing bottlenecks improves operations...

Senior managers realising the need for swift improvements within a controlled environment, explored the idea of compliance based tools that can run effectively across all environments. The stakeholders have placed an emphasise on the need for a robust and secure solution to transmit critical and sensitive medical related content. A critical remit is the ability for the collated medical information to be cross referenced with industry and government sourced data sets in real-time to provide the checklists for approval of specific drugs.

A need also exist to have complete integration with back-office systems to enable operational staff to stay ahead of sales enquiries, orders and for all parties involved in the fulfilment process. It needs to be able to green flag and know that physician orders had been approved before arranging despatches.

An additional layer of latency needed was needed to be factored into the system to enable smart phones that could possibly fail out in the field to be able to send back data at a later time once the sales rep made a connection via wifi.

And the transformation...

Presented with the opportunity to showcase new mobile devices and tools there was a buy in from the sales team who are keen to reduce the time wasted in administrative tasks that always seem to result in errors.

Senior managers now have full control of the form designs and are able to customise templates to reflect the different types of products sales and information required to be captured. The operations and compliance teams can also configure the system to validate technical and regulatory aspects that are prevalent to the sales enquiries and orders.

A failsafe mechanism for information that cannot be processed in realtime allows information to still be captured, a date and time stamp appended with the signature as proof, and stored securely on each device. At a later time when a wifi connection is made the data is transmitted to the CRM system. This triggers a series of events including notifications to managers, and the physicians confirming the upload of the information with the e-delivery receipt to re-enforce proof of the captured information.

The CRM enables managers to see the immediate performance of teams as well as provide a clearer insight into products and feedback from physicians. It has also improved the working process for the call centre team who can see the whole end to end process and dialogue between physicians and the distribution's teams. The result is a drastic reduction in the time taken to process sales order and dispatch samples and subsequent orders to physicians and their clients.

What's more there has also been a noticeable improvement in the working relation between physicians and the distributor.