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Heathcare experts shun online meetings: survey
  • By Kim Yun-mi
  • Published 2020.05.29 16:55
  • Updated 2020.06.01 15:13
  • comments 0

The spread of the new coronavirus infections generated a rising trend of non-face-to-face conferences and marketing activities. Still, a significant number of healthcare professionals did not prefer online meetings, a survey showed.

The Korean Society of Pharmaceutical Medicine (KSPM), which conducted the survey, said in-person conferences are likely to return once Covid-19 subsides.

KSPM on Tuesday held a webinar on how Covid-19 changed the way pharmaceutical companies work. Participants also discussed changes in the working environment of employees in medical affairs, shared how people were communicating through mobile devices, and examined the possibility of legal issues incurred by the changes.

At the webinar, KSPM also released the result of the survey on 203 people in medical and academic affairs at pharmaceutical firms between April 23 and May 16.

A majority of 67 percent said their activities for healthcare professionals, including doctors, were reduced. Thirty-five percent said their workload instead increased, and 34 percent, unchanged.

More specifically, their participation in face-to-face activities or meetings for advice decreased significantly. Still, internal company training, support for other divisions, manufacturing digital contents, and online channel operations increased, they said.

“If they build experiences on the convenience and usefulness of online meetings, non-face-to-face activities are likely to continue even if Covid-19 abates,” KSPM said. “But, the survey showed that 69 percent of healthcare experts did not prefer online meetings.”

The poll also looked at how pharmaceutical industry officials changed how they work when working-from-home has become popular. Seventy percent of the respondents said, “Work efficiency at home was no different from working at the office, or rather improved.” Almost all respondents cited “saving commuting time” as the biggest advantage of working from home.

However, working from home was inconvenient when they had to take care of children and when they needed to discuss a problem with other workers quickly, they said.

Kang Han-cheol, an attorney at Kim & Chang, gave a presentation on compliance in healthcare professionals’ remote interaction at the webinar.

“Although it is not illegal to transmit medicinal information online, it is important to pay attention to the risk of exposing prescription drugs to the general public and the possibility of a drug advertisement through electronic means of delivery,” he said.

Even if a pharmaceutical company employee delivers a message to provide neutral medical information through a medical and academic division, the act could be interpreted as the company’s first contacting to create a profit, and pharmaceutical firms should be very careful about this issue, Kang emphasized.


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