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  • Writer's pictureAventria Health Group

Doctors Don’t Like to Be Told What to Do

So How Is It Possible for Pharma to Create ROI From an EHR Strategy?

A couple surmountable challenges may be limiting your strategic success when collaborating with integrated delivery networks (IDNs) or other provider organizations via an electronic health record (EHR) integrative solution. Generally, these challenges are generated when key account managers (KAMs) are asked to report on their customers’ impressions of EHR solutions, such as alerts being inserted into provider EHR systems. Feedback typically goes something like this:

“Our KAMs report that physicians don’t like to be told what to do; therefore, a pharma-sponsored EHR integration won’t be well received by our customers.”


“Physicians in our therapeutic category don’t like alerts; therefore, a pharma-sponsored EHR integration won’t be well received by our customers.”


“Physicians are overwhelmed by EHR-alert fatigue already and don’t want any more clicks added to their workflow.”

Let’s dissect these statements to find the actionable advice.

“Physicians don’t like to be told what to do and/or physicians don’t like alerts and/or can’t fathom any more clicking than they already have…”

These insights are indubitably correct. No physician likes to be told what to do vis-à-vis an alert or by any other means. Just like everyone else, physicians do not like to feel as if their prerogative is compromised. Additionally, they don’t like information overload, extra unnecessary clicks, nonproductive delays, or distractions.

“… therefore, a pharma-sponsored EHR-integration won’t be well received by our customers.”

It’s the therefore part of the statement that causes the trouble. Unless overcome, this can easily undermine not only an EHR-integration program but also the KAM-customer relationship.

Surmountable Challenge: A Narrow Interpretation

Sometimes pharma thinking is, “In order to achieve my brand goals, I need to change behavior by telling physicians what to do. I need to change their behavior in the workflow. I need alerts. Otherwise, this project isn’t worth investing in.”

This may seem logical; however, it’s often all about positioning and execution. Actually, it’s always all about positioning and execution. Offering a physician relevant information in the right way at the right time in their workflow is not “telling them what to do.” It is providing helpful evidence-based insights in the interest of improving patient outcomes. It may also save time with curated content leading to improved outcomes with reduced adverse events.

The key word here is “helpful,” and it must be seen from the physician’s point of view. To achieve a “helpful” distinction, the provider has to appreciate the value and importance of the behavior change. In other words, a successful EHR integration that aims to change behavior in the clinical workflow requires a wraparound of customer insight, customer experience architecture, and strategic thinking.

Does a strategic approach change behavior as well as a stand-alone EHR alert? No contest. A strategic approach coupled with a thoughtful EHR integration works far better than any EHR alert, and we have data to prove it. Here’s an important note: If what you are offering is helpful, then the customer might actually agree to an alert. You just have to convince them that adding the extra step to their workflow is worth it because the “why” is so compelling.

Surmountable Challenge: A Broad Interpretation

For this misconception to have come into existence, consider the scenario. KAMs asked customers if they wanted explicit, alert-driven instructions telling them how to manage their patient panels. The customers said, “No, thank you.” No surprise. Physicians don’t like to be told what to do.

But let me summarize the larger problem in a nutshell. Inadvertently, the KAM basically requested the customer to serve the brand’s needs. The request completely lacks any mention or understanding of the customer’s needs and how the KAM proposes filling them. There’s zero “why.” And managed markets customers these days are very sensitive to this common account management error.

So, the right question to ask in assessing whether a pharma-sponsored EHR integration would be well received at a customer organization is some variation of, “What are the gaps in care you see for your patients with [insert disease state here]?” Or “What is difficult or inefficient about achieving the best outcomes for your patients with [insert disease state here]?”

When you sign up to sponsor an Enhanced QC-Health® Outcome Guided Engagement™ (OGE™), our team can guide you through a best practice approach that establishes the “why” and rolls out the entire technology part of the program. An OGE™ platform developed by QC-Health®, Inc., with strategy guided by Aventria Health Group will not only serve customer wants and needs, but it will also enable a win/win for a pharma franchise. Sometimes people ask us how we are different. This is how.

To sponsor a QC-Health® OGE™, please email

Making a difference in patient care by helping patients, providers, and payers collaborate on shared priorities

— by Stacey Richter, co-president of Aventria Health Group, edited by David Guy, SVP, Oncology and Specialty Market Programs, and Paul Pochtar, SVP, Pharmaceutical Commercialization and Access Strategies

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not imply endorsement by Aventria Health Group.


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