As a patient, you expect that your physician is staying up-to-date with the latest medical education and technology to improve patient health.

Learn how your physician interacts with biopharmaceutical and medical technology (medtech) professionals, and how these interactions an improve your health and advance medical innovation. What do these interactions mean for you? Find out more about the healthy dialogues that begin – and end – with you in mind.


Click below into one of the four explanations to learn more about:


  • The workload of the modern-day physician
  • How dialogues between your doctor and biopharmaceutical and medical technology (medtech) professionals improve patient care
  • Why companies sponsor physician education programs
  • Collaborations in life-saving research


The Workload of the Modern-Day Physician

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Over the past few decades, the lives of physicians have become increasingly complex. From significant amounts of paperwork and evolving administrative duties to increasing patient needs, physicians are busier than ever. Despite this increasing workload, physicians must remain current on the latest medical knowledge and practice standards, including research on new treatments and medicines available to patients. Consider this: one study found that a primary care physician would have to read 341 relevant medical journals and 7,287 monthly articles, equaling more than 627 reading hours per month, to stay up-to-date on all medical literature.

How Physicians Spend Their Days

Breakdown of the time practicing physicians spend on various duties*

  • 55% – Face-to-face patient care describes any time spent interacting directly with patients
  • 14.5%– Visit-specific work outside of the exam room
    • Reviewing medical records
    • Writing notes
    • Completing patient encounter forms
    • Scheduling tests or consultations
    • Writing prescriptions
  • 23%– Work related to patients not currently being seen
    • Reviewing medical records/writing notes
    • Telephone calls to and from patients
    • Reviewing laboratory results
    • Fielding patient-related questions from staff
    • Interacting with insurance companies
    • Looking up medical information
  • 7.5%– Administrative and academic activities and patient care in other settings
    • Hospital rounds
    • Teaching
    • Office management
    • Research
    • Home visits
    • Reading the latest medical information

 *Gottschalk and Flocke, 2005

Download PDF: How Physicians Spend Their Days

Did You Know:

  • Physicians are concerned about their increasing case loads.  In a recent survey, more than three-quarters of physicians said their practices are either at “full capacity” or are “overextended and overworked.”
  • The number of primary care physicians continues is declining.  This growing shortage of primary care physicians, which accounts for more than a third of all practicing physicians in the United States, means that many physicians will become even busier over the next several years.
  • A 2011 survey showed that more than four in 10 physicians find it difficult to stay informed about new medicines and 79 percent look to biopharmaceutical and medical technology professionals to be useful to help them stay up-to-date.

There are various ways in which physicians collaborate with biopharmaceutical and medical technology professionals to help ensure that they stay current on medical information while balancing heavy workloads.

Creating a Dialogue to Improve Patient Care

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Conversations with biopharmaceutical and medical technology professionals help physicians stay up to date on medical information, such as new drugs and technologies that have been approved by the FDA. Through these discussions, physicians also learn new uses of existing medicines, the latest clinical data, appropriate dosing, and emerging safety and risk information that could affect their decisions about patient care.

In addition to interactions with biopharmaceutical and medical technology professionals, physicians get their information from a variety of sources and weigh all of that information when making the best decisions for you.

Primary Source for Information About New Drugs And Novel Treatments

  • 17% – Industry
  • 14% – Colleagues
  • 51% – Medical Journals
  • 13% – Internet (including social media) content
  • 5% – Other

*Deloitte Global Services Limited, 2012

Download PDF: Primary Source for Information About New Drugs And Novel Treatments


Ways Our Physicians Interact with Biopharmacaeutical and Medical Technology Professionals

  • Post-Approval Research
  • Medicines that are currently on the market often become approved for new uses as a result of additional research. Biopharmaceutical and medical technology professionals keep physicians informed about this latest research to ensure medicines and technologies are used safely and appropriately.  If a biopharmaceutical professional alerts a physician about a safety concern, for example, there is time to ensure patients using that product are provided with alternatives to avoid a treatment gap.
  • In-person Meetings
  • Physicians can ask questions specific to a medicine that the biopharmaceutical professional has deep expertise and knowledge about.  If the professional does not know the answer to a question, they can provide contact information for the company’s medical liaison who can share even more specialized information.  As physicians’ time becomes more and more limited, sometimes the only available time to meet with a biopharmaceutical professional is over a brief lunch break.  These in-person meetings provide a level of detail that a physician cannot get through literature alone.
  • Patient Assistance Programs
  • Patients who do not have prescription drug coverage learn about company-sponsored programs that offer free or discounted treatments from their doctors. This helps ensure that patients can actually take their medicines as prescribed, which can benefit their health, and reduce the need for hospitalizations and other expensive medical care.


Ways Biopharmaceutical and Medical Technology Professionals Learn from Your Doctor

  • Real World Feedback
  • No one knows a patient better than their physician. Biopharmaceutical and medical technology (medtech) professionals gain valuable insights about their medicines and technologies from information about how individual patients react to prescribed medicines and medtech treatments, monitoring and diagnostics.
  • Safey
  • Physicians share patient experiences with medicines and medtech treatments/diagnostics and let biopharmaceutical and medical technology professionals know if their patients encounter any side effects.

Sponsoring Physician Education Programs

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By necessity, physicians are lifelong learners who must stay up-to-date on the evolving science of medicine. Sharing their experiences, knowledge and expertise with other physicians is a crucial part of the learning process.  Biopharmaceutical and medical technology companies sponsor physician education programs which enable physicians to improve their clinical knowledge, learn about new uses for medicines and technologies, and present their own research findings about the impact of medicines and technologies for their patients.

For busy physicians, pouring over stacks of journal articles on the latest treatments may be unrealistic.  An educational event sponsored by a biopharmaceutical and/or medtech company and led by a medical expert is often a convenient opportunity to learn about new medicines and/or technologies that could prove safer and more effective for patients.

Physician Speakers/Trainers are Experts

Biopharmaceutical and medical technology companies choose physicians to present medical information who are experts, or have a broad depth of clinical experience that other physicians can learn from.  Physician education programs allow physicians to interact face-to-face and learn about some of the most complex disease states and treatments available. Medtech companies also engage physicians to train other physicians on the safe and effective utilization of medical technologies.  The technique-specific nature of many technologies makes physician involvement crucial to the training and education required after market approval, as specific techniques often need to be taught, and physician operators are often best suited to provide this training to their fellow physicians.  Advanced medical technologies undergo continuous development and repeated changes, and technologies having short product life cycles (6-9 months in some device segments) may require retrainings with each advance.  Physicians also optimize and standardize the operator techniques, which can lead to improvements in outcome.  

Speaker Programs Improve Patient Care

Physician education programs facilitate the exchange of the latest FDA-regulated information about new medicines and technologies, new uses, the latest clinical data, appropriate dosing, and emerging safety and risk information that could affect physicians’ prescribing decisions.  This helps physicians gain a better understanding of specific therapies and also provides a forum for those who might have questions about treatment options for their patients.

According to a 2011 physician survey, more than half of attendees at peer speaker events say they often gain knowledge or skills that are helpful to their practice.

Speaker Programs Support Rural Physicians

Physician education programs are especially important to physicians working in rural communities, where peer interactions and access to professional conferences may be limited.  In fact, a 2011 physician survey showed that 86 percent of rural physicians attend these programs.

Maintaining the Highest Ethical Standard

Health care professionals and biopharmaceutical and medical technology companies are committed to keeping these programs ethical and informative.  Materials presented by physician speakers must include all FDA-approved product information, and companies ensure that materials comply with strict federal and state requirements.  Company-sponsored physician education programs should always comply with biopharmaceutical industry, medical technology industry and physician society standards, as well.  Physician speakers are fairly compensated for their time away from their practices and their contribution to company-sponsored presentations.

Participating in Life-Saving Research

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Before medicines and medical technologies are approved for patient use, they must be tested extensively through clinical trials.  This research examines how well potential new drugs and treatments may work for patients.  Trials sponsored by biopharmaceutical and medtech companies have led to life-saving breakthroughs for people suffering from cancer and other life-threatening diseases.  These include the first ever vaccine to protect against cervical cancer, a breakthrough treatment for Cystic Fibrosis, and a therapy that helps adults suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Physician participation is integral to the success of these trials. They conduct the research, track patient progress, and may report the research in peer-reviewed journals. 

Did You Know:

  • In a survey of physicians, 94 percent felt that it is useful for biopharmaceutical companies to sponsor clinical trials to research new medicines and treatments. [KRC Research]
  • Seventy percent of funding for clinical trials in the United States comes from the biopharmaceutical industry.
  • Clinical trials are occurring across the country. In Massachusetts alone, the state’s clinical research centers, university medical schools and hospitals are working together with biopharmaceutical companies to conduct more than 2,000 clinical trials to target the nation’s most debilitating and chronic diseases.



Maintaining the Highest Professional Standards

Regulations regarding clinical research are enforced by the FDA, but many different entities and individuals contribute to the safe and appropriate management of this research, including site staff and medical professionals who serve as clinical investigators; hospitals and other institutions where research is conducted; and institutional review boards and ethics committees.


All research collaborations between physicians and biopharmaceutical and medical technology professionals are upheld with the highest professional standards, including those set by their respective associations,  the American Medical Association (AMA), the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). 


Codes of Interaction


Biopharmaceutical and medtech companies respect the independence of physicians and entities involved in clinical research to exercise their judgment to ensure that results are interpreted fairly.



Resources for You


Fact Sheet: Know the Facts – Physician Payments Sunshine Act of the Affordable Care Act


FAQ: Debunking myths about physician-biopharmaceutical professional interactions


Fact Sheet: How physicians and biopharmaceutical and medical technology professionals work together


Fact Sheet: Why clinical research collaborations benefit medical innovation


Brochure: Are you an informed patient? What to know about physician-biopharmaceutical professional interactions



  • Patients

    Learn how and why physicians collaborate with biopharmaceutical professionals.  Read about the most common interactions and why they benefit you.

  • Health Care Professionals

    Get information about the Physician Payments Sunshine Act and how it affects you, as well as how to discuss collaborations with your patients.

  • Biopharmaceutical Professionals

    Better understand the regulations governing the Physician Payments Sunshine Act and how to help physicians learn more about the Act and the upcoming public database.

  • Video

    Watch this video and learn how physicians and biopharmaceutical and medical technology professionals work together to help patients.