A low-code rapid mobile application development platform (RMAD) can help business heads in pharma companies to quickly build small mobile apps and improve productivity of medical representatives. Jinen Dedhia, Co-Founder & MD, DronaHQ gives an insight about these fast solutions
A medical representative (MR) plays a unique role. Unlike field executives in other industries, an MR’s target audience is not drug buyers but the doctors who prescribe these. His job covers a gamut of activities including maintaining relationships with doctors and hospitals, identifying new business opportunities, collecting relevant ground-level facts (research), and representing the company at trade shows—besides maintaining an accurate record of visits, meetings, and discussion points. A medical rep, in short, is the pivot around which the entire pharma business revolves.
Automation for MRs: The story so far
Given the critical importance of MRs, their productivity is the primary concern of all pharma companies. The automation efforts in this sector traditionally involved installation of large sales automation applications—branded or custom-made. On top of these, pharma companies invested in business intelligence and dashboards for pattern analysis and reporting.
These enterprise applications, while improved productivity to a great extent, required MRs to ‘return-to-base’ for feedback, call-logs, and documentation after every few days. In short, it consumed one extra half-day (or full day) of an MR just for data entry and office meetings.
Enterprise mobility: A few ground realities
Pharma companies have been looking at building mobile apps to further improve the MR function. The development and deployment of apps, however, are seldom free of difficulties. The common challenges encountered include lacklustre user adoption, long development times, rollout delays, and steep costs involved in the internal marketing of apps—besides the app development expenses.
The companies also have to find specialised app development resources—internal or external—to do this job. Untimely exits of team members augment the problems faced by pharma CIOs in this scenario.
A fresh, new perspective
Over the past eighteen months, a new breed of enterprise mobility tools has emerged in the market. Gartner terms these as low-code rapid application development platforms (RMAD). Combined with a mobile container app approach, these tools can comprehensively address all the issues that pharmaceutical organisations face with respect to MR productivity.
Typically, a low-code rapid mobile application development platform (RMAD) facilitates building small apps that automate individual tasks. Its low-code nature ensures that organisations can use their existing resources with basic HTML knowledge to build these apps (or micro-apps). The RMAD tools with a MicroService architecture for backend as well as front-end can help build mobile apps at speed with minimal DevOps hassles.
Low-code RMAD: A productivity panacea
There are several MR team management and productivity challenges that a pharmaceutical organisation faces. A low-code RMAD tool can resolve these issues satisfactorily. Let’s explore these advantages one by one.
These apps can leverage the native features of smartphones and tablets. For example, the best performing MR can quickly take his own photo and publish it through the app for the entire organisation to view. Similarly, the achieved targets can be captured, highlighted and incentives delivered on-the-fly.
A small app can help an MR to use these wait-times to click photos of potential display slots (for educational material) and share it with the back-office teams instantaneously. The app can use the native features such as geo-tagging/ maps to identify the exact location of the clinic (or hospital) at which the photo is clicked. Moreover, if a medical practitioner permits, he can record and instantly share with his supervisor a few minutes of audio capturing the specific queries raised by the practitioner. This way, the organisation can save precious time of the MR while collecting deep market insights, simultaneously.
For that extra mile
Lastly, while a low-code platform can help in quickly building micro-apps, it can work wonders when deployed along with a container app tool. A container app can help a pharmaceutical company to comprehensively address the user adoption challenge that organisations face.
A container app is the only app that a medical representative has to download and install. It houses all the apps inside the container and every new app introduced gets automatically added to an MR’s container. Thus, an MR does not have to find, download, or install every app that the organisation introduces.
By combining these cutting-edge technologies, pharma CIOs can speed-boost their enterprise mobility programmes and accomplish tremendous productivity gains for medical representatives in a very short time.