Five Ways to Make Medical Affairs a Strategic Partner by Abdul Rastagar, Veeva

As treatment complexity continues to grow, healthcare providers (HCPs) increasingly rely on medical affairs as a source of expertise and information. At the same time, HCP communication preferences are changing, increasing the demand to deliver a deeper level of scientific information across multiple digital channels. With the spotlight on medical affairs, here are five ways life sciences companies are empowering medical science liaisons (MSLs) to meet changing HCP expectations.

Expand Skillsets with Training 
Providing additional training, such as developing communication skills or better understanding patient experiences, ensures field medical teams are up-to-date and can confidently engage in scientific discussions. Internal certifications are used to confirm MSL field readiness. The move toward organizational credentialing also helps field medical gain more credibility with commercial colleagues, and develop deeper organizational understanding of medical’s core responsibilities.

Leverage Technology to Enable the “Real-time MSL”
More than half of physicians today are digital natives and modern technology can help meet their demands for instant answers. Life sciences companies are increasingly adopting digital technology to extend their reach into new channels, such as online meetings, virtual events, and web-based training. They complement this with a robust, granular, and centralized library of approved medical content. Many organizations are also moving beyond PowerPoint and enhancing engagement with dynamic content to drive knowledge retention.

Improve Collaboration Between Sales and Medical While Remaining Compliant
Coordinating activities around the HCP is a challenge for many organizations. Since medical affairs and commercial teams often engage the same stakeholder without communicating with each other, it leads to an uncoordinated and frustrating HCP experience. Prioritizing collaboration between teams, with the goal of developing a deep and accurate understanding of the medical expert, will help drive engagement success. Organizations that invest in cloud technology can compliantly align medical and commercial teams to deliver coordinated and tailored customer interactions.

Capture Data Insights
In today’s digital landscape, MSLs have the unique opportunity to monitor their impact in novel ways. Strategic insight, from disease state to outcomes to future advances, can inform where an individual or group of similar HCPs are on a scientific journey. Developing an accurate understanding of the HCP progression will inform new strategies to deepen relationships. Increasingly, the industry is moving to outcomes-based KPIs that aim to capture this engagement mindset shift. Relevant metrics can include measures related to investigator-initiated trials (IITs) submissions, KOL feedback on scientific evidence, and terminology gathered prior to a product launch.

Improve Engagement Planning
Successful engagement is driven by linking HCP needs to therapeutic area goals. Organizations can enable MSLs to present scientific information in a way that provides real value for HCPs, helping them improve outcomes and achieve professional goals. Successful MSLs build HCP preferences into their engagement planning and leverage technology to attain a better view of HCP goals, engagement preferences, and needs. Leading with fully personalized plans driven by scientific goals helps field medical engage with a full range of critical stakeholders across their preferred channel.

To hear what’s next for medical affairs, check out this white paper featuring perspectives from industry leaders like Alkermes, AstraZeneca, and Sanofi.

 

Dr. Yishan Chuang & Dr. Christiane Carney Explain How an MSL Can Be Successful in Their First Year

Dr. Yishan Chuang & Dr. Christiane Carney Explain How an MSL Can Be Successful in Their First Year

1.What are 2 ways that an MSL can have a great start to their MSL career?

Our talk will highlight several different strategies to facilitate a smooth start to your first year as a new MSL as well as an experienced MSL starting a new role. 2 to keep in mind are first to identify the core value added as an MSL for your organization. Second, to work smarter not necessarily harder when managing your time, travel and interactions.

2.Why is it important to capture success in your first year as an MSL?

It is always a good idea to come out strong when starting a new position, where your manager and colleague are building trust in your abilities. The first year sets a tone for your career trajectory.

3.Once this concept is mastered, what type of impact can an MSL have in the field?

You can start to bring value to the team as well as to the KOLs/thought leaders in your territory sooner. As you get to know your KOLs and their interest, you can begin to advocate on their behalf for partnership opportunities that align with your company’s goals.

Copyright 2013-2018 The Medical Science Liaison Society. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authorization. The MSL Society is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization dedicated to advancing the global MSL career.

Dr. Doug Yau Explains the Importance of Mastering the Concept of Emotional Intelligence while in the MSL Profession

Dr. Doug Yau Explains the Importance of Mastering the Concept of Emotional Intelligence while in the MSL Profession

  1. What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (or emotional quotient, EQ) is the ability to 1) recognize, understand and manage our own emotions and 2) recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others.  The four main pillars of emotional intelligence are self awareness, self management, social awareness, and relationship management.

  1. Why is it important to master this concept when one is an MSL?

EQ is the backbone for critical MSL traits such as presentation skills, empathy, communication, stress tolerance, accountability, and most of all establishing trust.   As the MSL profession is a job of scientific communication and relationship management, it is imperative that an MSL master the skill of emotional intelligence to manage their emotions during a KOL engagement, effectively read a KOL and understand their needs, address their needs in a timely manner and build and foster these KOL relationships. 

Of note, unlike IQ, which remains that largely the same as one ages, EQ is a flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with practice.

  1. How does having emotional intelligence affect the career of an MSL?

EQ is the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence.     As an MSL, developing a high EQ allows for the increased ability to work in teams, adjusting to change and maintaining flexibility.  This allows for success despite the dynamic nature of the MSL job within a medical division of a company.  As a MSL with high EQ continues to develop and broaden his or her network within the company, their accomplishments take notice and help drive collaboration on projects, selection to leadership teams, and upward mobility.   As an MSL manager, developing a high level of emotional intelligence allows for better understanding of their team members and more effective coaching.  This increases employee job satisfaction and less turn over within the team.

Copyright 2013-2018 The Medical Science Liaison Society. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authorization. The MSL Society is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization dedicated to advancing the global MSL career.

Dr. David Tanouye Shares his thoughts on Effective Territory Management

Dr. David Tanouye Shares his thoughts on Effective Territory Management

  1. How does one juggle multiple meetings out in the field?

When I am traveling by plane, car or at a conference, I am in control of my schedule, so I don’t ever have conflicts in my time.  What I do when I am in the field is to reach out to my KOL via email or phone call and try and schedule time out of their office for breakfast, lunch or dinner to sit down and discuss topics of interest.  If this is a doctor I don’t know have a current relationship, I will reach out to one of my commercial or clinical team members to arrange a meeting (usually introduction meeting)  I really enjoy meeting doctors in the operating room during cases.  I have been observing cataract and refractive cases for many years.  Most surgeons enjoy the teaching aspect during surgery and are very open to having you in the OR.  One key point is to not upset the flow or staff in the surgery center.  There is one surgery center that I have known some of their staff for over 20 years and I have an open invitation to observe cases with two of their surgeons whenever I want to. 

At conferences, I book breakfast reservations and lunch reservations ahead of time and try to fill them with KOL meetings.  If I can’t fill them, I cancel the reservations the day before with no penalty.  I often will arrange to meet my KOL at our Medical Affairs table in the Exhibit Hall.

  1. What are the top 3 tools needed to manage a territory effectively?

Frequent flyer and frequent hotel rewards program. As you rise in the loyalty programs, you have access to better seats on planes, better rooms at hotels and the perks that go with it. Combine multiple KOL visits when traveling by plane to maximize your time when away from home. Keeping in contact with the commercial team for introductions or if one of their KOL’s proposes a study idea.

    3.  For MSLs that have a limited budget, what are 3 tips that help them to continue to maximize KOL opportunities in their territory?

  • Fortunately, I can drive to half of my KOL’s so I am putting plenty of mileage on my company car.
  •  Telephone calls and emails replaced face to face interactions while our budget was sliced.
  •  Combine multiple doctor visits when traveling and fly back home at night to avoid another day’s hotel stay.

Copyright 2013-2018 The Medical Science Liaison Society. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authorization. The MSL Society is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization dedicated to advancing the global MSL career.

Dr. Ralph Rewers Explains the Value of Gathering Impactful and Meaningful Insights

  1. Why is gathering impactful and meaningful insights important?

Insights are an integral part of the MSL role. The company relies on the field teams to give them a pulse of what is going on currently in clinical practice. There are very few other ways to collect this information in real time.

  1. What  3 signs do you look for to determine what information is meaningful during a KOL meeting?
  • Is it something we have not heard before?
  • Does it impact our medical objectives?
  • Does it identify an evidence gap?
  1. How valuable is it for an MSL to master this skill?

It is essential for success as an MSL. While communicating scientific data is important, finding insights and communicating them internally in an appropriate way can only be done by field teams. This is the most important aspect of the MSL role

Copyright 2013-2018 The Medical Science Liaison Society. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authorization. The MSL Society is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization dedicated to advancing the global MSL career.

Dr. Jihad Rizkallah Explains the Importance of Building Trust and a Productive  Relationship Between Manager and MSLs

Dr. Jihad Rizkallah Explains the Importance of Building Trust and a Productive Relationship Between Manager and MSLs

  1. Why is it important to build trust and a productive relationship between a manager and MSLs?

Trust is very important and essential between manager and MSls because without trust, communication, teamwork and performance will suffer and nothing gets accomplished.

  1. How does this type of relationship determine the fate of an MSL team?

Without trust, you are set up for failure. Trust boosts engagement, motivation and candor. MSLs are more likely to follow through on goals and be more forthcoming about the challenges they face at their level.

  1. How has the concept effected your career in the MSL profession?

 Throughout my career as an MSL and manager, I strived to be trustworthy, to lead by example, to walk the talk and be transparent. Showing people how much you care about them and their career and giving them opportunities to develop and grow, and truly acting upon it, has helped me grow and progress in roles of increased leadership over the years.

Copyright 2013-2018 The Medical Science Liaison Society. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authorization. The MSL Society is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization dedicated to advancing the global MSL career.