HCP Engagement: What It Is + How To Improve It [2023]

Ellie Whims
Ellie Whims

When making important medical decisions, consumers trust healthcare professionals (HCPs) more than anyone else in the medical industry. That’s why it’s essential for pharmaceutical companies to engage and build relationships with HCPs to boost brand awareness and product sales. 

If you’re looking for a better understanding of HCP engagement and the best strategies to improve it, this article will give you a full breakdown. 

What is HCP engagement?

HCP engagement is a process in which pharmaceutical companies reach out to healthcare professionals with relevant and targeted information. Pharmaceutical companies can use HCP engagement strategies to increase product usage, collaborate on research, and receive product feedback.  

The Importance of HCP Engagement

When people have health issues, they always turn to the HCPs they trust to help them make informed medical decisions. Since HCPs have the most patient-consumer trust in the medical industry, it’s essential for pharmaceutical companies to engage and cooperate with them.

Communicating with HCPs will keep them informed on your newest products and help them provide the best care to patients. Building relationships with HCPs can provide a significant return on investment since they can help you boost brand awareness and sell your drugs and other services. 

What HCPs Look For

HCP engagement

Before launching your engagement campaign, it’s essential to step into the shoes of HCPs and understand what they want out of cooperating with a pharmaceutical company. 

Here are some of the key factors that HCPs seek out when engaging with a pharmaceutical company:

Reliable information

Whether it’s family doctors, nurse practitioners, or medical specialists, HCPs are busy people that don’t have much free time. That’s why it’s important to use concise, informative, and accurate content in your messaging to HCPs. 

HCPs are looking to quickly understand your product in terms of its efficacy, side effects, and safety. 

Clinical evidence

When it comes to establishing trust with HCPs, it helps immensely to show the clinical trials and studies that prove the effectiveness of your drug, vaccine, or medical device. 

Including in-depth information on clinical evidence can be difficult to deliver in some advertisement spaces, but pharma reps should be prepared to break down drug studies for the HCPs they interact with in-person and virtually.

Relevance to patient needs 

The medical industry is composed of a variety of specialties that utilize differing treatment protocols depending on their patient group. So, you must target the healthcare providers that are most likely to recommend your drug to their patients. 

For example, a pharmaceutical company distributing heart medication should target cardiac and geriatric specialists rather than pediatricians and dermatologists. 

Unique selling points

It can be difficult to convince HCPs to recommend a new drug or treatment to their patients. The best way to encourage HCPs to recommend your medical products is to focus on your unique selling points. 

Consider how your drug stacks up against alternative treatment options and inform HCPs of your unique selling points. These points can be things like reduced side effects, easy administration, and better patient results.


Fostering a meaningful connection with HCPs involves more than just providing them with information. Many HCPs are looking for community forums, collaboration on research, and virtual meetings to discuss the latest pharmaceutical innovations. 

By providing HCPs with access to other medical experts, you can help grow your network and brand credibility. 

How To Improve Engagement With HCPs To Boost Sales 

Now that we’ve discussed what HCPs care about and why they would engage and collaborate with pharmaceutical companies, we can dive into the best strategies to reach medical professionals and boost sales. 

Establish personalized communication

Frequent communication with HCPs is essential to form a connection with them and provide product updates and clinical data that aligns with their practice areas. 

These personalized communications can come in the form of targeted social media campaigns, emails, newsletters, or even webinars. The content in your personalized communications should contain those key factors that HCPs care about and consider when engaging with a pharmaceutical brand. 

Brand awareness

One of the best ways to increase brand awareness among HCPs is actually to market yourself to consumers. These consumers will ask their doctor if your drug is right for them, and as a result, HCPs will contact your company for more information. 

Traditional marketing techniques like billboards and cable television ads can work to reach consumers, but oftentimes a more targeted approach is better. 

Successful advertising campaigns maximize their exposure to their target audience, which is why so many pharma companies have turned to advertising in pharmacy wait areas. Wellness boards that provide shoppers with sanitizing wipes below a prominently featured advertisement have been shown to be massively successful. One study showed that 66% of shoppers engage with sanitizing kiosks and that 50% would take a coupon or brochure to learn more about the sponsored company. 

To learn more, explore our insights on HCP advertising.

KOL partnerships

Key opinion leaders (KOLs) are frequently sought out by pharmaceutical companies because they have substantial influence over the medical market and mainstream healthcare practices. 

When looking for KOLs to solicit, look for prominent physicians whose work is frequently cited in an area that your medications address. Alternatively, getting in touch with medical professionals that hold high positions in organizations like the FDA and NIH can provide a significant boost to your credibility. 

Some of the most common strategies to attract KOL partnerships include offering educational initiatives, research collaborations on studies and articles, and speaking opportunities. 

Provide valuable educational resources

In the medical industry, oftentimes bolstering your credibility and reputation can take you further than directly investing in marketing campaigns. To make your company attractive to HCPs, it can help to have a portfolio of published and peer-reviewed studies that establish you as an authority. 

While publishing papers is great, it can be difficult to accomplish. Less intensive approaches, such as posting a series of informative blog posts and articles online can also do a lot to increase your digital presence. 

In-person and virtual collaboration

Organizing medical conferences, workshops, or one-on-one meetings can help you disseminate valuable information to HCPs as well as receive valuable feedback from them.

By letting HCPs easily access your pharmaceutical company and knowledgeable representatives, you make them feel heard and help foster a trusting relationship.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many interactions between pharma reps and HCPs went virtual. Despite the worst of the pandemic being over, many HCPs still prefer virtual communication channels as it’s easier to fit digital meetings into their schedules. So, remember to meet HCPs where they are and use their preferred methods of communication. 

For more details on other effective drug marketing strategies, feel free to check out this comprehensive guide.

Physical HCP Engagement Channel Examples

Wellness Boards in Pharmacy Wait Areas

Sanitizing kiosks in pharmacy wait areas are the perfect advertising mediums for pharmaceutical companies. They attract the attention of people who are already on a prescription from their doctor and are thus more likely than average consumers to ask their doctor if your drug is right for them. 

Doctor Office Advertising

Doctor office advertising can appear in wait areas and even exam rooms to encourage a dialogue between patients and their care providers about your brand. However, these ads can sometimes be overlooked because patients tend to be preoccupied with their health concerns and are not open to advertising promotions. 


Pharmaceutical marketing strategies traditionally incorporate billboard advertising as a means to improve general brand awareness. While these advertisements can work, you can’t target specific consumer groups and ad placements can cost tens of thousands of dollars per month.  

Digital HCP Engagement Channels Examples 

It’s important in marketing to reach people where they are, and increasingly, people spend a large portion of their time online. As our world becomes more and more integrated with digital platforms, it’s essential for marketers to make full use of them and pursue digital engagement. This approach is often managed by a pharmaceutical marketing agency.

Social Media Advertising

Social media platforms are constantly collecting, analyzing, and storing data on their users. This data can be immensely helpful in delivering targeted ads to the feeds of HCPs and consumers who are most likely to resonate with your brand.

Webinars and Virtual Events

Webinars and virtual events became a substitute for in-person meetings during the pandemic, but they actually offer substantial benefits to pharmaceutical companies. These virtual meetings are easier to organize and easier for HCPs to attend. Plus, they are cheaper than in-person events and therefore have a better ROI. 

Mobile Apps and Online Learning Platforms

This screenshot is from an application called MDLinx that was developed by Eli Lilly to allow doctors to discuss best practices and review the latest medical journals with one another. Mobile apps can also be directed toward consumers, such as the glucose-monitoring app IBGStar which helps those with diabetes track and monitor themselves. 

Using A D2C Approach

The pharmaceutical industry is extremely competitive and it can be difficult for marketers to identify the best step forward in promoting their brand and engaging with HCPs. 

If you’re looking for key industry insights, reach out to a Terraboost agent today. We have extensive experience working with healthcare brands and can provide you with a free personalized quote

Our network of 120,000+ wellness billboards delivers 8.8 billion monthly engagements. Your brand could soon be featured in the wait areas of prominent pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens.