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5 Key Principles of Measuring Medical Affairs Performance

In our last article, Calculating the Value of Medical Affairs, we suggested different ways Medical Affairs can demonstrate their value with compliance. We also brought up an important caveat. While there are industry best practices, there is no one-size-fits-every-team metric or KPI. So today, we’re going to share the five best practices we teach our clients. Think of these like guiding principles for how to choose the right performance measure for their organization.

1. Realize that not all metrics are created equal.

In Medical Affairs, higher value metrics are more difficult and expensive to collect. Metrics of little importance are readily available. Valuable metrics are painstakingly measured through surveys, interviews, and field team feedback. Examples include KOL mindset or alignment with key scientific messages, KOL satisfaction, the strength of the KOL network, clinical insights, and reach of scientific communications. These metrics can provide insight into the success of your strategy, but they take time to collect. Still, they’re worth it.

2. Decide what metrics to report (and which not to).

If your MSL scorecard has 25 value-based and non-value-based statistics, you are telling the team that everything and nothing are important. Why waste time and effort reporting metrics that don’t matter? A well-structured scorecard includes only 5-8 key metrics that span Medical Affairs. You might need to integrate metrics across departments to make this happen efficiently. Limiting your focus to a few metrics does not mean avoid looking at all others. For example, if you are struggling with your publication strategy, perform an analysis of that department to identify trends or opportunities. However, that does not mean that all of those metrics used in the analysis should appear on next month’s scorecard as it is rolled up to the leadership team. Ultimately, fewer metrics focus the organization on priorities that drive results.

3. Align metrics and goals with strategic objectives.

In addition to choosing the right metrics, set appropriate goals for each of the measures. Without setting goals, your team will not be able to judge their performance. Alignment with objectives can seem difficult. You probably have a variety of tactics planned for the year, including conferences, medical education, and publications. Spend time with your team aligning on appropriate goals, but push them toward excellence. Also, ensure that the measures and goals align or are supportive of cross-functional colleagues. Medical Affairs team success should be synergistic, meaning aligned with their colleagues working on the same product or portfolio.

4. Integrate metrics to tell a story.

Many organizations only produce functional reports on medical plan progress. A better performance management scorecard pulls together metrics from across the organization and provides some insight on data that might not show up in charts or graphs. Each time you review a performance scorecard, look for a story about what happened, one that tells you whether or not success was achieved and why. This should lead to adjustments during the next measurement period.

5. Consistently communicate and discuss results.

In the last few years, Acceleration Point has performed many Medical Affairs team assessments. A common improvement opportunity is communication. Specifically, a lack of communication from leadership. Often, a lack of visibility into broader organizational performance is also apparent. The performance scorecard, used properly, helps solve both problems. We recommend discussing progress towards objectives at all functional team and leadership team meetings. Bring those performance scorecards to show how effectively Medical Affairs is progressing toward strategic objectives. In most Medical Affairs organizations, the scorecards should be updated monthly. And share them with the entire time prior to all meetings to ensure a productive conversation.

Following these five principles, measuring value and managing data goes much smoother. And if you would like to remove any additional doubts about which key metrics your organization’s scorecards should include, book a complimentary consultation with Acceleration Point today.

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