Sep 20, 2010

Professional Portals: What Behind the Curtain?

Healthcare professional portals are gaining prominence and sophistication among pharmaceutical companies. Some examples are
When designing a healthcare professional portal Pfizer Pro, Merck Services, and Bayer Diabetes' Simple Wins Pro. Increasingly, these portals represent a portfolio of products from the same manufacturer, in addition to other practice management services being provided.

One decision to make when designing and implementing such a portal, is what content to display open to all visitors, and what information is "behind the curtain," requiring the HCP to register, or login.

While there is no hard and fast rule, it depends on the business objectives. Usually a primary goal of professional protals is to expand reach beyond the sales force, and to get product information "details" out to a broader range of professionals, such as remote physicians and "no see" doctors. For this reason, basic product information is usually in front of the curtain.

What goes behind are special value added services that a healthcare professional will find especially worthwhile as a "value exchange" for logging in. These may include electronic samples, information about speaker programs or grants, training programs, or requesting a sales representative visit.

Some items could go either in front or behind the curtain. Patient eductaion materials and key opinion leader videos can help provide valuable information about product benefits. which all may want to see. But they can also be a draw to encourage professionals to sign in and join the communications database.

In summary, plan your professional web portal carefully. The more valuable features behind the curtain, the more incentive to log in. However, that may take away from visit rates, search engine placement, and reach expansion. Even if those visitors are anaonymous, at least they are getting your product messaging.