Hospitals Count on Digital Healthcare Training Amid COVID- 19

Digital Healthcare Training

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages across the globe, most industries are facing unprecedented challenges. The healthcare industry is no different. Hospitals are struggling to find additional beds, ventilators, and creating new space for patients. Amid all this, hospitals have started relying on digital healthcare training modalities to protect patients and healthcare workers from contracting the disease. Remote monitoring, telehealth platforms, and Artificial Intelligence(AI)-powered assessment apps and devices have become the new norms.

Following are some ways hospitals are leveraging digital healthcare training to educate their staff as well as patients.

  1. Synchronized Just-In-Time Digital Healthcare Training

In order to prevent and reduce coronavirus exposure to emergency first responders and other hospital staff members (who are at higher contraction risk through their work duties), hospitals are offering synchronized just-in-time digital training in the form of micro-learning videos and simulations.Some popular training topics are:

  • How to monitor patients for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • How to keep patients, visitors, and healthcare professionals safe by using correct infection control practices including proper hand hygiene and selection and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • How to properly clean and disinfect environmental surfaces and equipment
  • Recommended actions for unprotected exposure (e.g., not using recommended PPE or an unrecognized infectious patient contact)
  1. Telehealth and Telemedicine Training

Telehealth and telemedicine have undoubtedly become mainstream during this period of crisis. Hospitals have been very quick to train their doctors and nurses to adjust to this change, as patients are now more accepting of this comparatively safer and more convenient form of care.

Doctors and nurses are virtually trained on topics like,

  • Telemedicine modes- audio, video, chat, store-and-forward, Prescription of drugs over telemedicine
  • Using technology to conduct nursing and deliver care from a remote location, Monitoring a patient’s oxygen levels, heart rate, respiration, blood glucose, and more in a telenursing setting.
  • Patient safety and informed consent in telemedicine
  1. Augmented and Virtual Reality for Healthcare Training

Hospitals have increased the use of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) to train patients and healthcare professionals in slowing down and preventing deadly outbreaks.

For instance, there is specialized AR/VR training being designed for pathological scenarios, which is immensely useful.  New AR innovations are helping doctors and surgeons to diagnose, treat, and perform surgeries on their patients more accurately by giving them access to real-time data and patient information faster.  With the help of AR/VR, doctors can precisely study their patients’ anatomy by entering their MRI data and CT scans into an AR/VR headset and overlay specific patient anatomy on top of their body before actually treating them. 

  1. Nudge Learning

In the current situation, sharing updated and accurate information with required stakeholders as quickly as possible, is crucial. Hospitals are looking at smart tools to nudge their staff on latest safety measures, updates on Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), government regulations, and other best practices. These nudges are basically short micro-learning nuggets which use various media elements (image, text, audio, or video). Nudge learning can also be used to reinforce learning from critical training modules by quizzing the learners and redirecting them to a micro-learning video or a course in case they answer incorrectly. For example, if a nurse takes a quiz on donning and doffing of PPE and gets a step wrong, they will be redirected to a video to correct their understanding.

With no clear end to the COVID- 19 crisis in sight, hospitals are strategically evaluating innovative approaches to fuel their digital training initiatives. Are you working in a hospital? What digital training initiatives have you being working on? Write to me at to initiate a discussion.

5 Ways Pharmaceutical Sales Reps Can Engage Better with Physicians Virtually

In my previous blog, I touched upon the impact of coronavirus pandemic on life sciences training. Within the life sciences ecosystem, the pharmaceutical industry is facing unique challenges as its popular in-person sales model has almost become non-existent. In-person meetings had their own advantage as the sales reps could convey the desired message more efficiently and connect better with physicians. But now, with the changed sales dynamics, there is a chance that sales reps will have lesser influence over physicians, which can eventually impact business. In order to minimize this impact and ensure business continuity, pharmaceutical sales teams are now switching to digital engagements, advanced analytics, and virtual training.  Sales reps are getting trained on digital channels via micro-learning videos, simulations, and scenario-based role plays. Their objective is not only to be effective on virtual sales calls but to go an extra mile in building deeper bonds with physicians.

Tips for Online Pharmaceutical Sales

Let us look at some approaches that a sales rep can use, to sell to physicians in a virtual environment:

  1. Playing a Consultative Role – It is important to understand the challenges that physicians might be facing in the current situation and suggest potential solutions. For e.g. a physician may be struggling to determine how to distinguish patients with existing chronic diseases from the ones who are actually affected by coronavirus. In such a case, the sales rep could suggest a solution like an AI powered chatbot, which can help to determine the actual health issue based on the patient response and in-turn schedule appointments.
  2. Personalizing Content – In the current times, it is normal for physicians to get flooded with generic solutions to their problems which could get too overwhelming. Sales reps should use this opportunity to work closely with their marketing team to identify new channels and draw strategies to cater to behavior and preference of each customer. Nudging physicians with personalized content should help to create a positive impression and get an edge over competitors.
  3. Supporting Patients – Sales reps can instill trust and confidence in their key customers by delivering medicines to home-bound patients and ensuring that supplies are not disrupted for specialty medications for patients. Such acts are generally valued and appreciated by customers, which eventually helps the sales rep – physician relationship.
  4. Sharpening Skills – Sales reps should get trained on delivering effective sales pitches virtually, product training, role plays, and more. Knowledge on market, competitors, innovative technologies, and customer pain points will help engage physicians better.
  5. Keeping Customers Engaged – “Keep your customers engaged” seems to be mantra for success in these tough times. Pharmaceutical sales reps must leverage new technologies and try innovative ways to keep their customers engaged as part of their long-term strategy.  Although some companies have launched ‘return-to-work’ policies, sales reps should still be ready and armed to sell virtually and build informal relationship with physicians. This would not only add value to the current engagement but also ensure  business continuity beyond COVID- 19.

Are you from the pharmaceutical industry? What are some challenges you have been facing in virtual selling? Write to me at to initiate a discussion.


Coronavirus Pandemic: What Does it mean for Life Sciences Training?

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, all industries are grappling with an unprecedented crisis. Life sciences is no different. Trainers in this industry are facing challenges fundamentally different from what they have ever experienced. This pandemic has forced new boundaries and expectations on them, making them re-think and re-conceptualize training, from a digital lens, this time around.

Life Sciences Training Companies Moving to Virtual Training

With every passing day, a large number of life sciences companies are moving to virtual training. They are embracing emerging technologies like AI-powered chatbots, nudge-learning, pharmacy apps, and fitness wearables to disseminate real-time data.

Nurse educators are quickly adapting themselves to modalities like telehealth and telelearning to supplement the shortage of healthcare providers and to ensure that nurses can deliver services in virtual health environment.

Pharmaceutical companies are looking at mobile apps, webinars, digital platforms, and virtual training conferences, especially for sales representatives to connect with clinicians. There’s also an increased focus on converting product, sales, and compliance training from Instructor-Led Training (ILT) to Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) to cater to remote workforce’s learning needs.

Medical devices companies, which are grappling with challenges like shortage of respirators, testing kits, and masks, are looking at digital training solutions to improve contract manufacturing productivity and ensure supply chain consistency especially when API manufacturing countries have imposed lockdowns.

Hospitals have started leveraging apps and bots to differentiate between those who might really be sick with COVID- 19 and those who are probably suffering from less threatening ailments. Hospitals and clinical labs are also offering digital training to their Healthcare Personnel (HCP) to perform hand hygiene and on effectively handling Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to avoid self-contamination.

During these testing times, life sciences’ training function has experienced tremendous innovation and digital transformation. This pandemic has certainly highlighted that traditional training modalities may just not be enough. Once COVID- 19 settles, it is expected that life sciences companies will invest in innovative training solutions as part of their business continuity strategy.

Are you a part of the life sciences training workforce? What changes have you experienced? How is your organization coping up with this crisis? Comment below.

Medical Device Sales Training – Time for a face-lift

Medical device sales reps are considered to be amongst the most sophisticated reps globally, as they require strong intellect, skills, and qualification to stay competitive in this industry. With the advent of Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) and disruptive technologies, there is tremendous focus on the way medical device sales training is delivered. Traditional digital learning methods are unable to match pace and requirements of the modern day sales reps and hence it’s time to relook at this training.

Let’s look at some interesting ways to give a face-lift to medical device sales training.

  1. Modernizing legacy courses

The modern day medical sales reps work in an extremely competitive and dynamic market which demands them to have requisite product knowledge at their fingertips. Online training modules developed in legacy tools kills the overall purpose of effective, on-demand sales training. The need is to convert these legacy courses into new, mobile-friendly formats, which the sales reps can access anywhere and anytime.

  1. Creating relevant micro-learning chunks

Medical device sales trainers are increasingly looking at converting lengthy eLearning modules into meaningful micro-learning chunks which can capture key learning objectives. These chunks can be easily pushed via mobile apps to keep the sales reps updated. For e.g. If there are any changes in FDA 21 CFR, specific updates can be easily pushed via mobile app to sales reps.  Another example of this could be delivering key product information chunks to sales reps. These micro-nuggets can come in handy while pitching to their prospects.

  1. Converting ILTs, webcasts, and podcasts to self-paced digital learning products

Medical device sales training can be in multiple forms including ILTs, webcasts, and podcasts. These formats are effective but it’s really difficult to assess the sales reps’ knowledge once they complete them. It’s also challenging for the reps to recall everything they watched or listened to, after a certain span of time. The solution is to convert such ILTs, webcasts, and podcasts into self-paced digital learning products which have assessments. These products can then be delivered to the sales reps as refresher courses at frequent intervals, which could help in content reinforcement.

  1. Converting the courses to meet modern compliance needs

Traditional digital training may deem ineffective if it doesn’t comply with the latest industry regulations. Modern-day medical device sales training is expected to meet different compliance needs like 508, WCAG 2.0 AA, LTI, and xAPI. So, ensure that the training you develop for your sales reps complies with the industry regulations, and is also flexible enough to accommodate any future updates.

Since knowledge is the foundation of medical device sales and practitioners around the world rely on it, it is critical to present it in the most convenient and effective form. I hope the above approaches come in handy when you strategize your medical device sales training.

Taking Life Sciences Training to the Next Level with AI-Powered Chatbots

Digital learning in the life sciences space is often found to be most advanced, thanks to the level of dynamism involved in this industry. Since pharmaceutical and medical device companies, biotechnology giants, hospitals, and medical associations are all early adopters of cutting-edge technologies, chatbot solutions are already being sought in the life sciences space.

Many of us might have experienced chatbots on different websites, mobile apps, messenger platforms, etc. With the evolving focus on learner-driven experiences, chatbots are an ideal solution to empower employees.

Here are some ways in which AI-powered chatbots can enhance training in life sciences.

  1. Content Discovery and Actionable Insights

Consider a pharmaceutical or medical device company which has a huge repository of compliance courses. A learner may need to specifically know only about ‘Sunshine Act’ or ‘FDA 21 CFR’ and might want to have related information on their finger-tips when needed. An AI-powered chatbot, trained using a pool of keywords, deployed or the company’s messenger platform, can not only help make this specific course discoverable but can also quiz the learner to understand their knowledge on specific topics related to this course. At the back-end, this entire interaction can be analyzed for intelligent actionable insights for the business. The bot can identify the gaps in learning and map it to employee performance. It can quantify the impact of training.

  1. Performance-Support

Performance-support at the point of need is a key requirement for the life sciences domain. Many answers to these performance-support queries by employees are embedded deep into organizational content repositories. This content repository can be leveraged to create various performance-support questions. And then, using technologies like AI, natural language processing, and machine learning, these questions can be mapped to appropriate answers in the content. Once the library of questions and answers is ready, a performance-support bot can be trained to deliver them as needed. An example scenario would be of a physician who is quizzed by the bot on the category of his/her preference. The bot will redirect the physician to specific training module/video when they get some incorrect response in a quiz.

  1. Micro-Learning Support

Let’s take a scenario of a nurse logging into a LMS where a bot pops up to check if the nurse needs any help. The nurse asks a specific question about Electronic Health Record (EHR) based on which the bot will scan through the EHR training module and pull-up a micro-learning nugget to share with the nurse. Since these are intelligent bots trained using a pool of keywords, they can discover exact content and repurpose it in relevant micro-learning formats. The employee won’t need to skim through the entire learning module to fetch the required information.

  1. Refresher Training and Reinforcement

Employees who have previously undergone training on specific topics can use chatbots to refresh their knowledge or to test their knowledge regularly. For instance, chatbots can regularly quiz employees on compliance standards or other important regulatory updates to make sure they are up to date. If the employee doesn’t fare well on the quiz, the bot can reinforce the forgotten learning content as micro-nuggets or redirect the learner to specific content.

The above scenarios make it evident why the life sciences domain is turning to intelligent bots to engage learners better. With chatbots, training can turn more integrated, relevant, accessible, and in-turn more effective.

I would be curious to know your thoughts on deploying intelligent chatbots for training in your organization. Comment below!