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Medical Training for Medical Affairs

Ongoing training and development is essential for Medical Affairs. Whether it is keeping teams abreast of the latest scientific data, developing engagement skills, or how to utilize available tools—in order to stay your best requires ongoing development.

Still, you’re a Medical Affairs organization. Not a training and development firm. That’s why medical training feels overwhelming—developing adult education was probably not in the top five reasons you were selected for your role, so to speak. But breaking it down into three distinct phases can help clarify what is required. Start with being clear on the knowledge and skills required. Document these in a curriculum. From there, determine the best methods, which is how people will learn the curriculum. Finally, decide on your assessment approach to help your team ensure that they have the capabilities required. Clearly conveying each aspect of training will allow everyone in your organization to get on the same page.

Medical Training Curriculum

The first part of a training strategy for Medical Affairs is to define what each role on the team must know or be able to do. The knowledge, skills, and capabilities required in a role is documented in a curriculum.

A curriculum is role specific, organizes content broken up into manageable learning segments and sequences. While every organization has different learning requirements, typical curriculum segments include: 

  • Disease
  • Product
  • Process & Tools
  • KOL Engagement
  • Compliance

The curriculum serves as a plan for the learner, guiding them through acquiring the knowledge and skills they need to be effective. A curriculum is a living document that should be updated over time as requirements change. Often teams will push new training out randomly tied to the release of new data, the launch of new tools, or change in SOPs. However, when companies do that it loses context and often as new people join they do not get all of the training needed. Instead it is best practice to update the curriculum with the new content. When this happens those who already completed it are no longer 100% complete and they go back and complete the new content.

Medical Training Methods

After the learning plan is established, the next considerations are the methods for delivering the content. Methods of delivery should match the outcome that you expect. If you expect memory recall you can provide materials to have learners read and remember. If you expect knowledge, the delivery method should include experiences where you apply the content or be able to explain it to demonstrate your knowledge. If you expect a skill, then practice in a safe environment is required.

As an example if you expect:

If you expect . . . Then your method may be . . .
Memory recall Provide papers or slides to read and remember
Knowledge Facilitate discussion of content where you can explore it from different perspectives, arrive at conclusions, and …
Skill Practice presenting the content to an HCP while applying your engagement process skills

Medical Training Assessment

Assessment is the process of confirming that knowledge, skills, and capabilities have been acquired and can be demonstrated adequately. Many teams struggle with assessments, seeing them as punitive to highly educated and experienced staff. 

The formality of your assessment should be based on the importance of the knowledge or capability. For example, before engaging with a KOL, do MSLs need to know the most recent data in their practice area? If so, test that knowledge to help the team member understand what they still need to study. All assessments should match the expectations of the behavior. Recall can be assessed through online tests but actions through demonstrations. Upon completion, don’t be afraid to review the training regularly. Encourage everyone in your organization to use what they’ve learned.

Keeping medical training up to date should be a priority. Have a strategy in place so that medical training happens quarterly or annually depending on what works best for your organization. That way, the expectations are clear, and training is on-schedule.

If you would like help with your medical training curriculum or assessments, contact Acceleration Point today.

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