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What Apple’s iPad® Mini Means to Pharma Marketing

Intouch Team

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When it comes to the use of tablets by the healthcare and pharma industries, Apple literally owns the U.S. market. The majority of big pharma companies have already deployed iPads to their field sales forces, and it is estimated that between 50—60%1,2 or more of U.S. healthcare professionals (HCPs) are using iPads within their practices and with patients. Therefore, the announcement of a new addition to the iPad family merits our attention.

On October 23, 2012, Apple formally introduced the iPad Mini. This was not a big surprise to those who follow the industry, as the iPad Mini had been greatly anticipated for months. Apple also announced it had sold 100 million iPads; although, we know Amazon and Google have been encroaching on Apple’s tablet dominance with their own mid-sized tablets in the 7-inch range. Launching its own mid-sized tablet allowed Apple to head off advancements from the competition while quenching the thirst of Apple fans around the world.

Key Features

Apple’s key message about the iPad Mini is: "There’s less of it, but not less to it." In other words, a smaller form factor does not equate to less functionality. The iPad Mini is smaller than the original by 50% and lighter by about � of a pound. And while the Mini retains all the features and functionality of the iPad 2, it boasts additional benefits, like better cameras, faster LTE network connectivity and Apple’s new lightning connector. The other key difference is cost: The Mini is significantly less expensive than its big brother, retailing at $329 vs. $499 for the original.

Apple designed the Mini not only to offer users another iPad experience, but also to compete with popular tablets like Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire. When compared to the Nexus 7, the iPad Mini offers a significantly enhanced browsing experience with its 35% larger display. This larger area also translates into a dramatically enhanced web browsing experience. With their smaller screens, the browsing experience on Android devices is encumbered by tabs and Android soft-keys at the bottom of the screen.

"See detailed specifications for the iPad Mini below"

Implications for Pharma

The release of the Mini is relevant for a number of reasons. Many pharma brands have invested heavily in the digitizing of rep materials for delivery to HCPs via iPad. Pharmas also have worked hard to create relevant iPad apps for use by consumers and HCPs. Many of our clients are wondering whether they will need to adapt their current apps for the Mini, consider switching or both.

Pharma Sales Forces

Virtually all of the top pharmaceutical companies have deployed iPads to sales forces in the U.S. and, in some cases, globally. The good news is that apps designed for the iPad don’t need to be redesigned for the Mini. In fact, we believe the standard iPad is still the most appropriate tool for pharma sales reps. For example, if a rep shares a detailed mode of action (MOA) video with several HCPs gathered around, it will likely have more impact on the bigger screen. While the Mini is built with the same aspect ratio as the larger versions, some content built for the iPad just may not be as impactful when shrunk down to display on the Mini.

Pharma-Physician Communication

We believe a major opportunity for pharma companies to reach HCPs is in developing digital materials for delivery at the time of the rep-physician conversation. We are seeing requests from clients who want to make the rep "completely digital." A good conversation gathered around the iPad should not end with the rep reaching into his or her bag for a print copy of what was discussed; it should be delivered digitally.

According to MD Mindset’s latest research,1 doctors value the information they see in iPad-assisted conversations. But doctors also report that the downside of these conversations is that they can’t view it later. Pharma has an opportunity to drive their message and value deeper by making content available to the physician immediately and on the device of their choice.

The Mini is likely to be a player in this scenario, so pharmas must consider how to deliver information aligned with how HCPs work and consume information themselves.

Inside the Doctor’s Office

The iPad’s adoption by healthcare professionals as a tool for use within their practice and with patients has been steady and growing. It took many by surprise, but we know physicians are adopting Apple technology and are more tech-savvy than many give them credit for. A study by MD Mindset put the adoption of the iPad by physicians at over 51%, with a significant number of late adopters planning to own one in the near future.1

The introduction of the iPad Mini may speed adoption further. For physicians or practices that have resisted the iPad temptation due to budgetary constraints, they may find just what they need in the iPad Mini priced at $329. There’s also the issue of size. The iPad Mini will conveniently fit into a pocket on the typical physician’s lab coat. And anyone used to the regular iPad’s bulk compared to the iPad Mini will quickly see the benefit to the lighter version when moving from room to room.

Physician-Patient Communications

We know that many doctors are already using the iPad in their clinical practice to share information with patients during in-office and hospital encounters; the iPad Mini will likely increase this type of interaction. Some doctors are already replacing their original iPad with the Mini for rounds at the hospital due to its light weight and "just-right" size.

The iPad Mini also provides a reasonably priced tool to enhance the in-office patient experience. Patients may soon be using the Mini to input highly personal health information while in the office. The Mini offers patients a device that is hand-held and has a smaller, more personal display — much more desirable than most in-office EMR kiosks.

The Mini also lends itself for use as a cloud endpoint for information, presentations, access assistance and other tools to educate patients. Maybe it’s finally time to retire those plastic anatomical models in the waiting rooms! The Mini offers a rich medium for full-motion display of an MOA or an educational video to help the patient understand more about their condition.

Having yet another device that enables better information flow between physician and patient represents an opportunity for pharma. There is a need for high-quality, credible content designed specifically to take advantage of the iPad platform. Providing physicians with information that helps them empower patients and improve dialogue is a win-win-win.

Conclusion

How the iPad will be used in healthcare and pharma is still an open question that will be answered the same way these questions are always answered: Humans will take the innovation of the Mini and apply it to their lives in ways both predictable and surprising.

In short, the impact of the Mini is yet to be seen. But pharma marketers should keep an eye on it and its use by their most important audiences: patients, physicians and other healthcare professionals. Understanding how they use all of their devices — and then providing added value through apps and other digital experiences — will be the winning approach of the future.

iPad Mini Specification Overview

Capacity and Price

  • Wi-Fi Models 16GB | $329 32GB | $429 64GB | $529
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular 16GB | $459 32GB | $559 64GB | $659
  • Dimensions and Weight
  • Height: 7.87 inches
  • Width: 5.3 inches
  • Depth: .28 inch
  • Weight: 0.69 pound

Display

  • 7.9 inch (diagonal LED-backlit
  • 1024 x 768 resolution (same as iPad)

Cameras

  • FaceTime HD Camera iSight Camera
  • 1.2MP Photos Autofocus
  • 720p HD Video Hybrid IR Filter
  • f/2.4 aperture

References

  1. 1. MDMindset: iPad Use and Effectiveness 2012 Syndicated Report.
    http://www.mdmindset.com/syndicatedreports.html
  2. 2. Manhattan Research: Taking the Pulse® U.S.2012.
    http://manhattanresearch.com/News-and-Events/Press-Releases/physician-digital-media-adoption

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