Healthcare Industry Evolution to Continue Post-COVID
Manzur-Ul Alam – Director, Commerce & Healthcare
Healthcare and life science companies must continue to evolve the digital ways in which they interact with their customers and sell their products in the wake of COVID-19.
‘The relationships that sales people have built pre-COVID will be invaluable, but they’ll have to really sharpen their product knowledge as well as up-skill in the digital marketing space to be competitive,’ says Manzur-Ul Alam, the Director of Commerce and Healthcare at international recruitment firm, Tardis Group.
‘As healthcare professionals (HCPs) and patients have experienced the benefits of telemedicine and teleconsultation, we expect this to continue.
‘They’re also seeing the importance of having a high-quality and advanced digital presence to be successful.’
‘There’ll be less face-to-face selling and more online consultation, especially for existing products.’
Manzur says greater investment by businesses into enhancing their digital presence will lead to an influx of information on the Internet and social media channels, making it difficult and time-consuming for customers to browse through and gather facts.
‘Any new product launch will need to be supported by digital presence, hence the sales force including medical science liaisons (MSLs) need to be tech savvy to be heard above all the online noise,’ he said.
‘Steady demand has held up for regular medicines including vaccines, however the nutritional and preventative supplements, as well as the drugs and devices required for elective surgeries, have taken a hit – the full impact will be reflected in the next quarter’s results,’ he said.
Manzur predicts that most of the changes that were made to cope with COVID-19 will likely stay in place for the rest of 2020 and some permanently.
‘Employers were forced to invest and upgrade their IT set-up not only to support their employees to work from home but also to continue their business online during this crisis,’ he said.
‘This experience may influence employers to introduce hot desks in future, promote online sales and allow employees to work remotely or on flexible hours in order to save costs on office space, transportation, insurance, energy bill, client entertainment and so on.
‘Likewise, employees will have adjusted and may not want to revert their arrangements post-COVID. Not to mention that there are tax benefits and you can achieve better work-life balance by setting up an office and working from home.’
While some job seekers are still in the grip of COVID restrictions and will be desperate to go back to work, Manzur says many will have adjusted to starting and finishing work early while staying home without any time wasted on a daily commute.
‘Most significantly, it’s working from home,’ Manzur said. ‘This used to be a perk, but moving forward, it’ll be more of the norm.’
‘So these arrangements, which we’ve had to adjust to, will become the expectation of many job seekers, they may not prefer to go back to working in the way they used to do, and, the chances are, they will have proven that it can work efficiently.’
Manzur believes more job losses will likely hit the sector post-COVID and we may see an increase in temporary or short-term contracts for the remainder of 2020.
On a brighter note, Manzur predicts there’ll be more Government funding and private investment in healthcare Research and Development and in the allied healthcare sector in order to be prepared for any future pandemic episode. The Health-Tech sector is also expected to boom, increasing demand for tech-savvy healthcare professionals around the world.