Cegedim launches social site for docs

Cegedim Relationship Management is casting its lot in the online doctor social community category in the United States with its own offering, Docnet. The company made the announcement in November at its annual customer collaboration and charity event. Docnet is already available in four European markets (Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, and Turkey) and will become available in the United States by the beginning of February 2014.

As Docnet is going up against long-established competition such as Sermo and relative newcomers including Doximity, Cegedim did careful research to determine what physicians would want and need from such a community, and whether physicians would be receptive to communicating with life sciences companies there. The results of a 2013 Cegedim survey of about 500 healthcare professionals in the United States suggest that online communities play a pivotal role both for physicians and life sciences companies, as 89 percent of respondents stated being members of online communities, with 64 percent accessing them at least once a week. The survey also revealed the majority of healthcare professionals favor using a professional social network, which will allow them to consult on the latest medical, clinical, and drug information; to network and participate in discussions with their colleagues; to serve their patients; and to consume value-added information and services sponsored by pharma and medical device companies – all in a “one stop shop” manner.

Physicians will not only be able to communicate and consult with their peers, but depending on which pharma companies establish areas in the Docnet portal, physicians will be able to order samples, generate co-pay and discount cards for patients, and consult with medical science liaisons.

According to Angela Miccoli, president of North America for Cegedim Relationship Management, the “unique positioning” of Docnet will be its compliance standards in data security and data authentication. The community will rely on the standard defined by SAFE Bio-Pharma, Cegedim’s partner, enabling Level 2 authentication as set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency accepts ePrescriptions for controlled substances signed with SAFE-BioPharma digital signatures.

“The great value is that these standards are recognized and approved by the FDA for the United States and by the European Medicines Agency in Europe,” Miccoli says. “This is an online community for validated healthcare professionals only because patient treatment will be discussed, samples will be ordered, and dialogs with medical affairs will be enabled. So it is critically important that all members of this community are authenticated and validated as a physician or licensed healthcare professional.”

In addition to the other services life sciences companies can offer through Docnet, physicians will be able to validate their promotional spend information, which is being tracked by life sciences companies under the Sunshine Act. Before a company makes that information public (and companies are required to do so starting in March 2014), it can contact an individual physician to review the information, answer questions, and manage any disputes. Many life sciences companies already use Cegedim’s aggregate spend and data solution to track promotional spending on physicians and other healthcare professionals.

“The pre-disclosure of promotional spend is very important to our customers, who specifically requested the function be added as a service to the community in order to provide increased benefit to physicians,” Miccoli says.
SAFE Bio-Pharma was started in 2003 by a voluntary task force of IT professionals in the pharmaceutical industry. “The group has worked with FDA and the CIO Council to establish standards for digital identity trust as well as for electronic signature identification,” Miccoli says. “There are no other physician online communities that adhere to these standards.”

Most important, even with the enhanced level of security and authentication, the site will still be easy for physicians to use.

“Physicians are normal consumers, just like you, me, or anybody else out there,” Miccoli says. “So when joining a community, they need to make sure it is highly professional and secure. We are confident Docnet will quickly grow and thrive, as it will be simple to join the community in an efficient and secure manner.”

Based on Docnet’s reception in its launch markets, Cegedim is confident that the portal will gain good traction in the United States. Already, 50 percent of physicians in the Nordic markets have signed up for the community.
“We’re very excited,” Miccoli says. “For the United States, my dedicated team conducted very extensive market research, not only to understand what was already available in the market – but to ensure Docnet delivers unique value to HCPs and our life sciences customers. We wanted to deeply understand HCP needs and what they really favor in terms of peer to peer and life sciences company engagement. The security of the sign-in process, as well as a one-stop-shop environment where physicians can connect with peers, advance professionally and engage with life sciences, were key drivers for us.”

Miccoli says Docnet will be promoted to physicians through several channels – not only print ads through physician journals, but through e-mails to physicians in Cegedim’s SK&A OneKey database. OneKey has 7 million validated profiles of healthcare professionals, over 1 million verified and compliant emails, NPI, DEA and state licensure data, and about 100 profiling and practice dimensions. Cegedim says OneKey serves as the initial adoption driver, pre-populating physician and healthcare professional profiles, establishing important HCP relationships and affiliations, and instantly seeding Docnet with unique value for HCPs and life sciences companies.

Cegedim is also getting some promotional help through the Boomer Esiason Foundation. Cegedim has partnered with the former NFL quarterback’s charity to raise money for cystic fibrosis research, and the foundation was the featured charity at the company’s life science forum during November. Esiason has agreed to do a promotional video aimed at physicians about Docnet.

Posted: December 2013


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