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Who are the Digital Key Opinion Leaders

Digital Key Opinion Leaders: Who Are They?

Apr 19, 2022
As scientific discussion increasingly happens online, your Medical Affairs team needs a way of listening to the conversations. But in channels with a half-billion contributions every day, it can be difficult to hear what’s important through all of the surrounding noise. That is where a sophisticated approach to digital listening comes in.

Digital listening is the process of filtering the large (and rapidly accelerating) world of digital content down to the important and influential contributions that can help inform your medical strategy.

That filtering begins with a scientific search that establishes the content that’s relevant to specific therapeutic areas or diseases of interest to you. Because not every contribution in that search is going to be impactful or helpful, it’s important to take into account the source of the contributions. When you further filter the content relevant to you, you are increasing the quality, validity, and actionability of what you are listening to.

One of the keys, as you begin listening to the digital scientific discussion, is focusing your efforts on experts with significant reach—the digital key opinion leaders. For most medical affairs teams, these are health care providers with specific specialties who are discussing relevant medical topics related to a specific indication or therapeutic area.

There are three categories of these health care providers:

  • Key opinion leaders (KOLs) are the traditional experts that medical affairs already engage. They are influential due to their involvement in studies, congress presentations, and publications. KOLs may not produce much, if any, digital content, but they are still very influential online because they are quoted or contribute to content that others post. They are often interviewed in the news, which is then posted online. They may also speak at an event, which is recorded and the video is put on various YouTube channels. In these examples, the KOL is not the owner of the content, but rather their digital influence is earned through being featured by those with significant online reach.
  • Digital opinion leaders (DOLs) are credentialed medical specialists with significant digital reach who are producing and disseminating relevant scientific content online. They typically have minimal involvement in traditional channels like publications or congress presentations. While every therapeutic area is different, these DOLs will have over 100 scientific contributions each month and on average will have over 2,000 followers.
  • Digital Key Opinion Leaders are the KOLs who are also personally active in digital channels. They have significant reach, publish relevant scientific content online, and are actively building their online influence. Some may be involved in managing digital content for societies or their institutions. These KOLs are also DOLs, making them a great start for medical affairs teams who typically already have a relationship with them.

How do you weed through the noise to identify new DOLs and relevant scientific discussions involving your existing KOLs? Acceleration Point has the tools, the strategy, and the expertise to help navigate you through the new world of digital KOL engagement. Contact us today to start gaining new insights about your KOLs and potential new DOLs.

For more on digital key opinion leaders, read:

The Top 3 Criteria for Identifying Digital Key Opinion Leaders


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