Sanofi China feels quick­en­ing pulse of med­i­cal sec­tor

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By WU YIYAO in Shang­hai wuyiyao@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Health­care prod­ucts and ser­vices provider Sanofi China has launched a new mul­ti­chan­nel med­i­cal in­for­ma­tion shar­ing plat­form.

Sanofi MC2 has al­ready started pi­lot pro­grams to help county-level health­care pro­fes­sion­als with di­ver­si­fied com­mu­ni­ca­tions tools.

The pro­gram was rolled out in east­ern Jiangxi prov­ince and is de­signed to pro­vide ac­cu­rate and per­son­al­ized med­i­cal in­for­ma­tion for health­care pro­fes­sion­als, es­pe­cially at the county hos­pi­tal level.

A newly ap­pointed mul­ti­chan­nel med­i­cal con­sul­tant team asks physi­cians what sort of in­for­ma­tion they re­quire. The team then re­sponds with pro­fes­sional an­swers and cus­tom­ized feed­back through on­line tools, such as tele­phone mes­sag­ing, email, WeChat and web con­fer­ence.

Sanofi did not give de­tailed in­for­ma­tion about how much it has in­vested into the project. A team of some 200 pro­fes­sion­als are de­voted to the pro­gram.

“Un­like gen­eral com­modi­ties, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prod­ucts are very ... com­plex and highly rel­e­vant to life,” said Lu Jum­ing, pro­fes­sor from the de­part­ment of en­docrinol­ogy at the Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal of the PLA (Hos­pi­tal 301).

From mar­ket launch to well-reg­u­lated clin­i­cal use, a prod­uct needs to go through a long process. It in­cludes trial ex­pe­ri­ence shar­ing, doc­tor-pa­tient com­mu­ni­ca­tion, ad­verse re­ac­tion event mon­i­tor­ing and new in­di­ca­tion de­vel­op­ment, Lu said.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­search by Kan­tar Health­care, a mar­ket re­search and in­for­ma­tion ser­vices provider, more than 62 per­cent of the physi­cians in China re­gard the in­ter­net as an im­por­tant chan­nel to ob­tain in­for­ma­tion.

But on­line in­for­ma­tion can some­times be in­ac­cu­rate, ir­rel­e­vant and even mis­lead­ing, which cre­ates a waste of time and re­sources for physi­cians.

“When deal­ing with a spe­cific aca­demic topic, physi­cians usu­ally have to spend a lot of time on search­ing, read­ing and screen­ing with­out sat­is­fy­ing re­sults,” said Li Zheng, busi­ness di­rec­tor with Kan­tar Health­care China op­er­a­tion.

County-level physi­cians said Sanofi’s on­line health­care in­for­ma­tion project is act­ing as a sup­ple­ment to tra­di­tional aca­demic meet­ings, train­ing pro­grams and sem­i­nars.

Com­pared to physi­cians work­ing at ma­jor hos­pi­tals and in big cities, physi­cians at county-level hos­pi­tals have fewer op­por­tu­ni­ties to re­ceive “hands-on” pro­fes­sional in­struc­tions or at­tend var­i­ous aca­demic sym­po­siums and work­shops.

Gong Cip­ing, di­rec­tor and physi­cian with the car­dio­vas­cu­lar de­part­ment of a hos­pi­tal in Jinxi county, Jiangxi prov­ince, finds that on­line dis­cus­sion of pa­tient case stud­ies is the most help­ful.

Jinxi is a county with a pop­u­la­tion of 300,000, about 200 kilo­me­ters away from Jiangxi prov­ince’s cap­i­tal city Nan­chang. Doc­tor Gong meets more than 1,000 pa­tients an­nu­ally.

“For physi­cians in counties like me, group con­sul­ta­tion may take a lot of time and re­sources. Some­times we can­not af­ford that be­cause clinic hours are tightly sched­uled. On­line con­sul­ta­tion is much eas­ier — some­times an in­quiry is re­sponded (to) and a ques­tion is re­solved within half an hour, which helps my work, and ben­e­fits my pa­tients,” Gong said.

Sheng Jingzhou, vice-pres­i­dent of the pri­mary care busi­ness unit of Sanofi China, said the pro­gram also echoes the State Coun­cil’s goal to re­duce the pre­ma­ture mor­tal­ity of pa­tients with ma­jor chronic dis­eases by 30 per­cent by 2030 from the level in 2015, as pro­vided in the “Healthy China 2030” Plan­ning Out­line.

Sanofi’s MC2 project will be im­ple­mented in nearly 100 hos­pi­tals in 50 counties in 2017, and com­pany of­fi­cials ex­pect fur­ther ex­pan­sion to cover more dis­ease ar­eas and more re­gions na­tion­wide in 2018.

“It is of­ten asked how this pro­gram will help our busi­ness grow,” Sheng said. “The ini­tia­tive is not to make money fast and the nature of the pro­gram is not to aim at some­thing lu­cra­tive overnight.

“At Sanofi we be­lieve that when we help physi­cians to grow, we ul­ti­mately help pa­tients. And when we cre­ate value to physi­cians and pa­tients, we build up trust, which is a key to suc­cess in the sec­tor,” Sheng added.

Un­like gen­eral com­modi­ties, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prod­ucts are ... com­plex.” Lu Jum­ing, pro­fes­sor at the Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal of the PLA (Hos­pi­tal 301)

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