VR — Healthcare’s New Marketing Reality


Healthcare companies have a lot to offer HCPs, in terms of relevant, useful information. However, face-time with doctors and other providers is an increasingly rare resource. To compensate for this, companies have turned to digital materials as a means of engaging with physicians. The latest—and potentially most powerful—digital tool at hand is virtual reality.

At a recent ePharma Summit, Dr. Irving Loh summed up using VR to communicate with HCPs this way: “Virtual reality technologies done well, remove environmental distractions and play to our visual learning, which combined with novelty, facilitate customer engagement.”

Here are some key ways that healthcare organizations are using VR to connect with HCPs.

Building Empathy

For disease-state awareness campaigns, VR can act as a powerful storytelling hook, drawing HCPs into the conversation. Excedrin did this with a 360° VR experience, simulating what a person having a migraine is experiencing.

Here at Brella, we used a similar approach to demonstrate what it is like to live with Parkinson’s. We created a simulation where the viewer attempts to make a simple meal while having hand tremors, shedding light on the day-to-day challenges of living with this disease. Building these types of visceral, thought-provoking elements into your HCP communications can encourage providers to confront preconceived notions of how their patients navigate life and deal with their disease. This can build empathy and open up beneficial discussion opportunities.

Educating and Training

VR has made significant inroads in education, increasingly used as a training tool in medical schools. In the world of endoscopy, VR is becoming the go-to platform for training, with an estimated “six out of ten physicians in the US already using virtual reality to gain expertise in surgical techniques that use endoscopic tools.”

Meanwhile, companies like Pfizer and Norvartis are using VR to take chemists on visual journeys into their new molecules, allowing them to better understand how their mechanisms of action work.

For companies specializing in medical devices, what better way to train new users than with VR demos?

Increasing Brand Awareness

By bridging engagement gaps with HCPs, VR can increase awareness of your company’s brand. Imagine a surgeon watching a 360-degree video of a procedure featuring your surgical tools. Or a nurse practitioner going through a VR simulation that allows them to experience a patient’s symptoms, while introducing your company’s treatment options. The unique, interactive nature of VR ensures that providers will remember your product following the experience.

VR is quickly carving out a valuable space in the healthcare landscape. Current HCPs are discovering the effectiveness of VR for continuing their education and training, while future providers are being introduced to the technology in school. As a result, this immersive format is perfectly positioned to be an effective communications channel between healthcare companies and HCPs.

Is your marketing team prepared to take advantage of this new reality?