Medical Affairs Is A Strategic Advantage
Historically, Medical Affairs has primarily served a supportive role. Today, it’s becoming a strategic advantage. From Headquarters to Field Medical teams, accessing current data and metrics that matter enables Medical Affairs to make knowledge-driven decisions backed by objective analysis more efficiently and more accurately than ever before.
Because Medical Affairs is becoming a more strategic entity, Field Medical teams are being asked to do more with current resources – spending more time engaged with the right thought leaders – while simultaneously maintaining their traditional high level of quality and understanding.
Field Medical professionals routinely must decide where to focus their efforts. Is time better spent with expert A or expert B? If you rely solely on previous experience, you may miss opportunities to talk with up-and-coming scientists in your focus area. Later, when you meet, how can you ensure the conversation is valuable to both parties?
Answering those questions used to require hours sorting through static profiles and contact lists to identify who spoke where and to update their research interests and those of their co-authors. Results often were incomplete and error-prone. For instance, consider two prolific oncologists authors in your territory, both named J. Thompson. Reliably linking each Dr. Thompson to his or her own publications or presentations is essential to a valuable scientific exchange. Engaging in such time-consuming, labor-intensive preparations are part of Medical Affairs 1.0.
The Right Tools
A centralized, normalized, continuously updated, data-drivenapproach is replacing prior methods. Using a Medical Affairs 2.0 approach to engagement preparation, Field Medical teams can access science-oriented data to identify experts’ more relevant work and current thought. Metrics can include everything from grants and patents through presentations, publications and treatment guidelines.
We wrote about some of these Medical Affairs metrics in general terms in the previous article. Now let’s take a deeper dive into how MSL teams could use these metrics to drive decision-making:
Rank and Re-rank – You probably can list the top experts within your therapeutic area. Keeping your contacts current in terms of your individual imperatives or territories, is more challenging. An automated, analytic approach simplifies that. For example, identifying the current leaders in specific areas, like K-Ras inhibitors, is just a matter of a simple search. And, as your parameters change, you can re-query.
Currency – Experts often author hundreds of papers and presentations during their careers, so having an immediate, accurate understanding of where their work is focused currently is extremely valuable. Currency examines several years’ of an expert’s data, searching for the frequency of your search term – perhaps a mechanism of action – and shows whether a particular expert’s work on that topic is increasing or decreasing.
Contribution Analysis – How much of your expert’s time is spent publishing versus presenting? Analyzing their types of contribution and trends over time can reflect an author’s increasing comfort at the podium and help you know if it’s time to reach out to that respected author for a speaking engagement.
Networks – Do you have a question, but not a specific way, to approach a particular expert? The best way may be to engage a mutual acquaintance to make an introduction. Seeing your experts’ professional networks at a glance can go a long way to making inroads with folks with particular expertise.
Having these metrics at your fingertips can save you hours in preparation time and help better determine where to invest your efforts. In fact, tightly filtering information and experts helps Medical Affairs Field Medical teams reduce their preparation time up to an estimated 75 percent, to maximize valuable resources.
As Medical Affairs moves from a support function to become a strategic advantage, the ability to make objective, data-driven decisions will speed that transition. Adopting a Medical Affairs 2.0 approach is integral to that transition and is quickly becoming imperative.