We recently interviewed more than 150 medical key opinion leaders (KOL). Their feedback was not surprising.
Many KOLs admitted they meet with Medical Science Liaisons (MSL) out of professional courtesy rather than because they get value from the engagement. This might explain why thought leaders across all therapeutic areas have been ending Medical Affairs meetings early. An MSL is scheduled for an hour, but fifteen minutes in, the doctor is pulled away by more patients to see, more research to do, or both.
In our interviews, many KOLs told us they are experiencing increased demands on their time. Several also clarified they are only able to attend meetings that offer compelling value. In other words, Medical Affairs must work harder to be considered a priority. How?
We followed up with the few opinion leaders who indicated satisfaction with their Medical Affairs relationships. What do those MA representatives do differently? How are they earning doctors’ precious attention and building collaborative relationships?
We asked these KOLs exactly that. Here is what they said.
1. Present meaningful content.
Medical opinion leaders want to build relationships with MSLs who can provide meaningful content. If all your MA representatives can offer a thought leader is a meeting to review disease state materials they already have, you won’t earn their full attention or add value. When Medical Science Liaisons meet with KOLs, they must present relevant data and share insights that impact patient outcomes.
2. Meet with a purpose.
In our interviews, KOLs told us that when Medical Science Liaisons have a clear, meaningful reason to meet, they will prioritize an hour. While many of the questions that Medical Affairs answers must be reactive with KOLs, they need to have a reason to meet. Otherwise, there is not enough time for important questions to be asked or critical insight to be gained.
3. Summarize the data.
Medical Affairs adds value to thought leaders by presenting relevant data, the prerequisite of which is understanding what the HCP would already know and cares about. Share a summary of the information with key points called out. They do not need you to send articles they could have found themselves. Doctors are busy people; they prefer abridged reading material that tells them only what they need to know—and nothing more.
Share these tips with your MSLs so they can earn more time with—and attention from—key opinion leaders. If you’d like to learn how to find new KOLs to collaborate with, check out our guide to finding medical thought leaders online.