Taiho Pharmaceutical Co.
To educate MRs who need extensive knowledge
Utilized as a learning drill that can be done online
Ms. Kazuyo Ando, Manager, Pharmaceutical Education Department (right)
Ms. Saori Hasegawa, Chief, Pharmaceutical Education Department (left in photo)
September 6, 2022
Taiho Pharmaceutical Industry Co., Ltd. delivers high-quality products that can be used with peace of mind to patients and consumers around the world, contributing to the smiles of people with various problems and ensuring that their "usual" lives can continue "forever. Ltd. The Pharmaceutical Education Department is responsible for the education of medical representatives (MRs) and academics (who support and educate MRs in providing information and plan and implement academic strategies (lectures, etc.)), which require advanced knowledge of product information and related diseases and treatments, as well as extensive knowledge about medicine, which is constantly updated around the world. We have introduced and are operating the LearningBOX system as a department in charge of MRs (Medical Representatives) and academic staff (who support and educate MRs in providing information and plan and implement academic strategies (such as lectures)). We asked them about how they are actually using the system and their future outlook.
- Continuous learning was required to consolidate knowledge of diseases and products related to the company's pharmaceutical products.
- Needed a tool or system that would allow for repeated learning after entering the company, and also promote knowledge retention through tasks such as solving problems.
- Especially, contract MRs (temporary staff) and new employees can confirm their knowledge of what they have learned in the post-employment training.
- The program is also used to confirm knowledge related to industry and company rules and compliance that must be observed during sales activities for all employees in the sales department.
Need to keep learning to deliver peace of mind to patients
Please tell us about your company's business and what you two do.
Responsible for education and training of medical information representatives (MRs) and academics.
Our company is engaged in the manufacture and sale of ethical pharmaceuticals. The Pharmaceutical Education Department, to which we belong, is the education division within the Pharmaceutical Division, which handles ethical pharmaceuticals. We are in charge of education for medical representatives (MRs) and academics who promote products used in hospitals, such as prescription drugs and injections.
Both Ando and I are basically in charge of the same tasks, and we share the responsibility for training mainly new recruits and training related to sales skills.
What is the background behind the introduction of learningBOX?
Price and excellent support were the deciding factors.
I was searching around on the Internet and thought it looked easy to use.
We wanted to create a kind of learning drill that could be implemented online, and initially found your QuizGenerator, and that is how we learned about learningBOX. At first I was particularly impressed by the reasonable price.
We considered other systems, but we were attracted not only by the price, but also by the sincerity of the people in charge at your company. It was important for us to be able to continue using the system with peace of mind after its introduction, so it was also important for us to know if the support was substantial. We really appreciate your detailed support from before to after the introduction of the system.
What challenges did you face before installing the LearningBOX?
We were looking for a tool or system that would facilitate knowledge retention.
They needed a learning tool or system that they could use to repeatedly review what they had learned and check their knowledge, even after the contract MRs were hired and new employees were trained.
What changes have occurred since the introduction of the LearningBOX?
Knowledge is now easier to retain.
We put a lot of effort into training new employees because it is an important step in building up basic knowledge, but we felt that in order for the knowledge to take root, we needed content that could be learned repeatedly after they go out in the field. I feel that being able to learn systematically has made it easier for the knowledge to take root.
I think we have been able to show new employees in an easy-to-understand way where they need to focus their attention because of the number of diseases that can be handled by a single product.
What were some of the difficulties you encountered in actually implementing and operating the system?
It was a constant process of trial and error until I got the whole picture.
Since we had to create many questions, we divided the work among the five team members and went through a trial-and-error process to determine what points to make and which quiz format to use to avoid boredom. It took us a month to create the questions in Excel, and another month to input and check them.
There are 43 contents with 10 to 20 questions per content, so we have created a total of several hundred questions (at the time of introduction of learningBOX). We are still adding content little by little. The most common question format is a multiple-choice question. However, it was more difficult to establish the system to distribute the questions than to create them.
The Pharmaceuticals Division of Ethical Drugs is the largest department, with approximately 900 employees. This division is further divided into more than 100 groups, so we had a hard time figuring out how to distribute the information. In the end, we decided to divide the hierarchy into three groups and then distribute the information.
At first it was hard to imagine how the assignment of the material would actually play out on the system, but now I can understand it properly.
What is the easiest part of using ━learningBOX?
It is a place that can be used without a manual.
We use the announcement management to send out weekly e-mailed questions, and I think it is convenient that we can send a link directly in the body of the e-mail so that learners can access the questions directly after logging in.
I think it is good that learners can quickly get to the questions they want to study with a few operations. There are various cloud services, but if it takes a long time to access the service, the user will feel that it is a hassle, no matter how good the content is, and will have an impression that the service is difficult to use.
Also, the fact that it is intuitive to use without a manual is very helpful.
What are some of the comments you have received from employees who have actually taken the course?
Some have expressed a desire for easy access.
This is an internal security issue, but there are requests for access anywhere there is an internet connection without a VPN connection.
I think the fact that it is easily accessible and can be used anytime, anywhere will help me continue to learn.
So, is there anything you would like to see more features like this in learningBOX?
I just wish they would make it even smoother!
In addition to utilizing the drill for self-study, we have begun another operation. As I mentioned earlier, we are distributing three questions to everyone via e-mail every week for them to learn, and I hope that we will be able to facilitate the entire process from question registration to distribution.
Also, I am aware that your company has created an Excel form that allows batch uploading of questions, but we find it difficult to operate it, and currently we copy the questions entered in the Excel form we have created into the learningBOX one question at a time. I would appreciate it if it were easier to upload the form. I think it would be helpful if it were easier to upload the form.
What are your plans for the future?
We would like to work with other systems as well.
Currently, we are using learningBOX as an independent system, but we are considering linking it with other systems. For example, we have contract MRs watch videos of product education lectures, and then use learningBOX to solve problems as a way of confirming their knowledge.
Currently, we are using it specifically for solving problems by studying slides and solving problems on the learningBOX, watching videos and solving problems on the learningBOX, etc. We hope to utilize the learningBOX in conjunction with other training programs as well.
We also believe that there may be more use for training newcomers.
In the future, I would like to string together various internal materials and create courses on the learningBOX. In addition, when there is a personnel change, we also need to create a manual that anyone can understand the operation of the learningBOX we are currently building.
What advice would you give to those who are considering implementing LearningBOX?
The more you use it, the more you will love it.
We can customize the design with options, and since we created and assembled the problems ourselves, we feel that the system has a handmade, thoughtful feel to it. We know that there are many more features, and we hope to use many more in the future to further develop the system. I also recommend the customer support.
When starting something new, it is a great relief to have the support of a person in charge. I can easily ask them not only by e-mail but also by phone, which is very helpful.
What did you think of the case study interview with Taiho Pharmaceutical Co.
We introduced a case study in which learningBOX is being used to train a group of approximately 900 employees. We believe that there are many aspects of the system that can be used as a reference for those in industries that require constant updating of knowledge, such as the weekly distribution of questions.
Thank you very much for taking time out of your schedule to meet with us.
We appreciate this opportunity.
Thank you very much, Kazuyo Ando and Saori Hasegawa, for taking the time for this interview!