Factors Influencing Adoption of E-detailing as a Communication Tool: Views of Physicians of India

Factors Influencing Adoption of E-detailing as a Communication Tool: Views of Physicians of India

Saikat Banerjee (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Salt Lake City, Kolkata, India) and Sampada Kumar Dash (Biocon Limited, Bangalore, India)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/ijehmc.2014070103
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Abstract

In India, the concept of Electronic detailing (E-detailing) as a marketing communication tool is getting momentum in recent times. However, to ensure wide acceptance and long term sustainability of this tool, pharma companies should well aware about the factors that influence adoption of E-detailing by Indian Physicians. Still, to the best of our knowledge, there is limited academic research in this area. In this backdrop, the objective of this study is to unearth factors that influence adoption of E-detailing by Physicians of India. Research outcome may help pharma companies to draw a strategic communication roadmap for effective use of E-detailing for product message communication to the Physicians. The study is based on primary data collected from the Delhi/ National Capital Region (NCR) area from India. To analyze the data, an attempt is made to identify latent factors that influencing various measurable characteristics. Approach of Gonzalez et al. (2002) is used in factor analyzing the responses to identify prominent influencing factors behind the adoption of E-detailing by Physicians. As viewed by the physicians, communication credibility and convenient communication are two most important impetuses for adoption of E-detailing. Other important motivating factors are managing Professional Service Representatives (PSRs), information accessibility and empowered decision making.
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Introduction

In emerging economies, usage of internet as a digital communication tool has been accepted over the years. India, a fast growing emerging economy from Asia, is in forefront in terms of internet usage. According to the Internet World Stats report, India has achieved 10.2% internet penetration with 121 million users as of December 2011, wherein in 2009 it had 7% population penetration (81,000,000 as on September, 2009). Moreover, 44.8% of internet users are from Asia followed by 22.1% from India (Internet World Stats, 2012). It is viewed by researchers that digital communication channels help companies to enjoy global accessibility (Laudon & Laudon, 2002). Consequently, enable companies to update information as per their convenience; to provide real time and customized information services (Sandeep & Singh, 2005; Chaffey, 2004, Harridge-March, 2004; Teo & Tan, 2002). Accordingly, digital communication opportunities are being explored by various industries in India and among them prominent one is pharmaceutical industry. The Indian pharmaceutical industry, which is estimated as a over to US $ 20 billion industry, has shown tremendous progress in terms of infrastructure development, technology base creation and manufacturing of wide range of products. The industry has witnessed growth of 18% year over year in 2011 to US$ 12.5 bn. The country now ranks 3rd worldwide by volume of production and 14th by value (Indian Pharmaceutical Industry Report, 2012).

In India, Electronic detailing (E-detailing), as popular form of digital communication tool, is becoming popular in recent times. It involves use of online channel and information technology to promote pharmaceutical products (Trucco & Amirkhanova, 2006). The use of digital technologies enables the interaction with the physicians and informs prescribers about products or diseases (Bates et al., 2000; Boehm, 2005). As a new age communication tool, it empowers pharmaceutical companies to target specific physicians with pinpointed accuracy (Whitney, 2006). For pharma companies operating in India, the popular practice is the usage of laptops as a communication tool loaded with product messages. Among several companies, three companies namely Cipla, Ranbaxy and Pfizer comprise 36% among companies that, according to physicians, promote their products very well using IT tools in India (Jha & Munjal, 2010). In addition, leadings multinational corporations like Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Merck & Co., AstraZeneca etc (MNCs) and Indian companies have also started providing e- tools like laptops and personal digital assistants (PDA) to their field force to have a better field based interactions with the Health Care Professionals (HCP) or Physicians (Banerjee & Dash, 2011).

The discussion above indicates potential of E-detailing as a new communication tool in Indian context. However, for a successful acceptance of this tool, pharma companies should understand factors that influence adoption of E-detailing by physicians. Still, to the best of our knowledge, there is limited academic research in this area. In this backdrop, the objective of this study is to unearth factors that influence adoption of E-detailing by physicians of India. Research outcome may help pharma companies to draw a strategic communication roadmap for effective use of E-detailing for product message communication to the physicians.

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