Medical representatives play a crucial role in Pharmaceutical sales growth, by interacting with physicians and promoting the company’s products. However, these interactions can pose compliance risks, if the medical reps do not abide by the “Code of Interactions”.
What does this code of interactions policy include?
All relationships with health care providers are highly regulated including providing meals, arranging for travel and entertainment, offering gifts, brand reminders and medical utilities, organizing camps and workshops, offering charitable contributions, samples and supporting scientific research.
For all these areas, this policy defines some permitted and non-permitted activities. Medical reps must have a clear understanding and be able to differentiate between these activities.
Why is training a challenge?
This sort of training dealing with rules, dos and don’ts will become a normal presentation if it is imparted through classroom sessions. As discussed, the policy covers many areas, so a long training session can result in learner fatigue.
Then there are chances of the reps forgetting most of what they learnt in the classroom, when they go onto the field. According to Training Industry, approximately 50% of the learning content is not retained within five weeks, and within 90 days, 84% of what was initially learned is lost.
Despite this awareness, challenges remain! So what do you think can be done to address these challenges? Well here are my thoughts.
Design an eLearning course:
A Towards Maturity Benchmark Survey stated that about 98% of organizations prefer technology-based compliance training to educate their employees. This is because e-learning is self-paced, i.e., the busy medical reps can take the course anytime and anywhere when they need it. Also, once the course is developed, the medical rep can take it any number of times until he gets the passing score.
Make the course engaging:
Sales reps are not expected to become experts in laws and regulations, but should understand what is permitted and not permitted as per the policy. So you can attempt to make learning easy and engaging. You can use an Avatar, a senior sales manager to take the learners through the Dos and Don’ts. They infuse an element of fun and interest among the learners and promote better reinforcement.
Icons are self-explanatory and convey the point in an eye-catching manner. They also speed up information processing. Colorful and visually appealing icons can be used to illustrate the dos and don’ts.
Allow them to apply learning:
Adults learn maximum by practicing, so the training program should provide enough opportunities to practice. You can gather some real life situations and weave them into scenarios for practicing decision making.
For example: To train the medical rep on the meal plan limits and necessary documentation, you can introduce a situation wherein the sales rep should meet the physician and offer a meal. And then pose questions on how he can proceed.
Refresh learning through micro-learning modules:
Even after training completion, providing periodic refresher training would be a good idea. The dos and don’ts of each activity can be developed as individual micro learning modules, each no longer than 5 minutes. The learners must be allowed to access the individual modules whenever they find time or when they need it the most. You can take the advantage of rapid authoring tools to push these training modules via mobile devices.
For example, a medical representative can access the list of permitted and non-permitted activities of engaging a physician for a health camp. He can quickly access the module through his tablet while travelling. This micro learning module enhances the ability of the medical rep to discuss about the health camp and prepare the necessary documentation.
Ensuring that the team is trained on the most appropriate practices is critical to a company’s growth and reputation. Effective Code of Interactions training will ensure your medical reps work within regulatory parameters. Do share your views.