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July 6, 2016

Novartis investing heavily in virtual conference platform

Novartis is expanding the use of digital technology in in order to change the way it engages with healthcare professionals (HCPs) for medical education activities. A key element in the Novartis strategy is the Vivinda TV virtual conference platform.

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Novartis launched it earlier this year to provide on-demand content from medical meetings. Its usefulness, writes PMLive, was demonstrated last month when it was put in action during the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting: content from the congress on cancer attracted over 4,600 ‘virtual delegates’ across 103 countries. According to Novartis that’s five times more than were engaged the previous year using traditional sponsorship methods.

Another user case was the European School for Advanced Studies in Ophthalmology (ESASO) congress. In this case almost 1,800 virtual delegates from 75 different countries used Vivinda, as compared to the 500-600 ophthalmologists normally able to attend in person.

Concerted drive towards virtual meetings

While pharmaceutical companies like GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer have used webinars to reach healthcare professionals for some time now, Novartis’ plans appear be a more concerted drive towards virtual meetings. The Swiss pharma company will take Vivinda TV’s ASCO sand ESASO user cases as a driver to do more of the same in the future, in order to enhance the quality, transparency and reach of its interactions.

“We are changing our relationship with the medical community and extending global access to high-quality information and education that will benefit doctors and patients worldwide for years to come,” says Shannon Thyme Klinger, chief ethics and compliance officer and head of litigation at Novartis.

While outlining its digital plans, Novartis acknowledged the limitations of traditional marketing activities such as sponsoring doctors to attend conferences, inviting clinicians to speak about products and providing promotional aids. Even when successful, conference attendance is by nature restricted to a small proportion of doctors worldwide. Novartis is keen to find better and more inclusive ways of reaching a broader cross-section of the medical community. It believes Vivinda TV is a powerful tool in accomplishing this goal. The company has increased its investment in digital technology to record levels and plans to use virtual meetings and web-based customer interaction platforms to engage more with HCPs.

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