Skip to main content

Navigating Healthcare Professional Relationships in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Victoria Ebel, Appian
December 12, 2023

At the recent Appian Life Sciences Forum, industry experts and thought leaders were brought together to share trends and challenges. One of the core topics discussed was the challenge of effectively managing relationships with healthcare professionals.

[For further insights, view our recent webinar with PwC and Daiichi Sankyo: How to Enable Global Compliance That Scales]

The importance of healthcare professional relationships.

For pharmaceutical companies, relationships with healthcare providers (HCPs) and healthcare organizations (HCOs) are critical to their business operations. These partnerships help with scientific research, market analysis, educational services, and charitable activities. They also contribute to the development of life-saving therapies and raise awareness about emerging treatments for various diseases and disorders. However, these valuable relationships also come with risks, including conflicts of interest, off-label product promotion, drug safety violations, and fraud. 

As a result, government regulations have intensified, calling for increased transparency and accountability.


Managing relationships with HCPs and HCOs is a multifaceted challenge. The regulatory landscape is just one aspect of this complex task. Companies must navigate a multistep process that includes verifying credentials, defining the need for services, determining fair compensation, creating contracts, maintaining proof of services, and managing payments. 

Moreover, the globalized nature of these engagements introduces additional complexities, as pharmaceutical companies compete on a global scale and expedite therapy development.

Technology as a catalyst for change.

To address these challenges, life sciences companies are increasingly seeking technological solutions. However, one significant obstacle is the lack of centralized tools for managing these relationships. Most companies rely on a patchwork of off-the-shelf applications, resulting in inefficiencies and compliance risks.

A transformative solution.

Life sciences companies are calling for a comprehensive solution that can centralize global controls, streamline processes, and enhance accountability. 

An effective automated interactions solution should:

  • Incorporate global business processes for enhanced compliance. The platform should encompass all relevant global regulations and consider them in decision-making processes. Regulations should be continuously updated within the system to guide relationship managers effectively.

  • Digitally track and monitor interactions. A single, central dashboard should allow companies to track, manage, and monitor all HCP and HCO interactions, eliminating the need to switch between multiple tools.

  • Integrate with existing ERP systems. The solution should seamlessly integrate with existing business infrastructure, including accounting and legal frameworks.

  • Offer customized reporting. The platform should provide built-in reporting capabilities that can be configured to meet specific business needs, allowing detailed reports without complex coding requirements.

In the ever-evolving life sciences industry, managing relationships with HCPs and HCOs is both critical and challenging. An effective process automation platform offers a promising solution by centralizing controls, improving accountability, and enhancing compliance. As the industry continues to evolve, investing in these technologies may prove to be a pivotal step for organizations in effectively managing healthcare professional relationships.

[Discover the power of a process automation platform for healthcare professional relationship management. View our recent webinar with PwC and Daiichi Sankyo: How to Enable Global Compliance That Scales]