MSL Activities and Performance Measurement (PH178)

Harnessing KOL Relationships for Optimal Clinical Support
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  • Focus Medical Science Liaisons on Key Organizational Priorities

    The medical liaison role has evolved.  Once solely involved in driving thought leader development, MSLs now take on tasks related to clinical development, internal education and, indirectly, commercial support.  As MSLs adjust to their increased responsibilities and influence, they must streamline activities while proving value to upper management. 

    This report addresses those two areas by providing in-depth benchmarks for global organizations seeking to improve their MSL teams.  Explore metrics detailing pharma and medical device MSL teams in the US, Europe, Canada and Asia Pacific, with data focused on budgets and time allocated to four categories of MSL activities.  The study also examines how top-performing companies measure and communicate value for these activities.

     

    Improve Thought Leader Management

    Cultivating key opinion leader relationships remains MSLs’ primary task.  Prioritize thought leader criteria and build milestones into each KOL relationship to evaluate MSL effectiveness.  The report provides strategies for building relationships with physicians and thought leaders on reimbursement panels — a critical asset as MSLs evolve in a payer-driven landscape.

     

    Empower MSLs to Improve Coordination with Internal Functions

    Benchmark the prevalence of activities related to the support of medical and clinical groups as well as commercial teams, and explore best practices for assigning responsibility and leadership in collaborative initiatives.  Learn how MSL groups directly and indirectly add value to each department.

     

    Prove MSL Value

    Because MSLs’ contributions are not directly related to commercial returns, internal stakeholders may not immediately recognize all that MSL teams contribute.  Implement best practices for using quantitative and qualitative data to demonstrate MSL value, and benchmark targeted performance for 8 key performance measures.

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  • Medical Science Liaison Management Metrics

     

    Chapter 1: Introduction to MSL Team Activities and Timing

    Chapter Benefits

    • Gain a comprehensive overview of MSL teams’ overall work and the basic timing of four major activity categories:
    • Benchmark when MSLs begin supporting a brand and when they move on to new products
    • See which types of MSL activities are the most prevalent and time-consuming
    • Explore the prevalence of reactive and proactive approaches to thought leader management
      • Thought leader development
      • Medical/clinical activities
      • Commercial support
      • Education and training

    Chapter Data

    14 charts focused on MSL activities and timing. Data are broken down by company type (Top 20, Top 50, small/biotech, and device/diagnostic) and by geographic region (United States, Europe, Canada, and Asia Pacific):

    • Prevalence of proactive vs. reactive KOL outreach strategies (by geographic region and MSL team size)
    • Average division of MSL team’s time spent on investigational and marketed products (by geographic region)
    • Phase in which MSL team begins activities for an average product (by geographic region and by KOL outreach strategy: proactive vs. reactive)
    • Phase in which MSL team discontinues regular activities for an average product (by geographic region and KOL outreach strategy: proactive vs. reactive)
    • Percentage of MSL teams that perform activities within specific categories
    • Average percentage of time dedicated to specific activity categories
    • Average breakdown of MSL time by activity category (by company type)

     

    Chapter 2: Supporting KOLs and Thought Leader Management

    Chapter Benefits

    • Improve coordination and efficiency in thought leader development activities before and after product launch.
    • Streamline activities by benchmarking MSLs tasks and the time dedicated to them.
    • Prioritize criteria for selecting thought leaders.
    • Implement best practices for managing thought leader databases and keeping databases up-to-date.
    • Compare the length of MSLs’ visits with KOLs and improve physician access.
    • Build milestones into the KOL relationship-building process.
    • Coordinate KOL visits and responsibilities with the sales team to maximize the company’s impact on thought leaders.
    • Communicate and build relationships with KOLs on reimbursement panels.

    Chapter Data

    43 charts focused on thought leader development and management activities. Data are broken down by company type (Top 20, Top 50, small/biotech and device/diagnostic) and geographic region (United States, Europe, Canada and Asia/Pacific):

    • Breakdown of thought leader development activities pre-launch and post-launch (by company type)
    • Average percentage of KOL relationships less than one year old (by company type, geographic region and KOL outreach strategy: proactive vs. reactive)
    • Importance ratings of qualities considered in KOL identification and selection (by company type and by geographic region)
    • Average number of KOL relationships per MSL (by company type)
    • Average length of KOL visit (by company type, geographic region and KOL outreach strategy: proactive vs. reactive)
    • Percentage of MSL teams that have relationships with KOLs on reimbursement panels (by company, geographic region and KOL outreach strategy: proactive vs. reactive)
    • Average breakdown of KOLs’ spheres of influence (by geographic region)
    • Percentage of companies whose MSLs perform specific thought leader management activities pre-launch and post-launch
    • Average percentage of time MSLs spend on specific thought leader management  activities (by time frame: pre-launch and post-launch)

     

    Chapter 3: Supporting Medical and Clinical Teams and Scientific Brands

    Chapter Benefits

    • Explore MSL responsibilities supporting medical and clinical teams before and after product launch.
    • Streamline activities by benchmarking MSLs tasks and the time dedicated to them.
    • Track the percentage of investigator-initiated trial (IIT) proposals generated by MSLs.
    • Effectively address physicians’ off-label questions and improve cross-functional communication to improve physician education.

    Chapter Data

    36 charts focused on MSL teams’ medical and clinical activities pre- and post-launch. Data are broken down by company type (Top 20, Top 50, small/biotech and device/diagnostic) and geographic region (United States, Europe, Canada and Asia/Pacific):

    • Breakdown of medical/clinical support activities pre-launch and post-launch (by company type)
    • Average percentage of IITs proposals generated by the MSL team (by company type and by geographic region)
    • Percentage of companies whose MSLs perform specific medical and clinical activities (by company category and by time frame: pre-launch and post-launch)
    • Average percentage of time MSLs spend on specific medical and clinical activities (by company type, geographic region and time frame: pre-launch and post-launch)

     

    Chapter 4: Supporting Commercial Teams

    Chapter Benefits

    • Explore MSL tasks related to supporting commercial teams before and after product launch.
    • Navigate firewalls to coordinate MSL efforts with sales reps visits to discover new thought leaders and continue physician relationships.
    • See how MSLs work to support market access and reimbursement efforts.

    Chapter Data

    30 charts focused on MSL teams’ commercial support activities. Data are broken down by company type (Top 20, Top 50, small/biotech and device/diagnostic) and geographic region (United States, Europe, Canada, and Asia/Pacific):

    • Breakdown of commercial support activities pre-launch and post-launch, for all companies and by company type
    • Percentage of companies whose MSLs perform specific commercial support activities (by company type, geographic region and by time frame: pre-launch and post-launch)
    • Average percentage of time MSLs spend on specific commercial support activities (by company type, geographic region and by time frame: pre-launch and post-launch)

     

    Chapter 5: Continuing Individual and Team-Level Education

    Chapter Benefits

    • Benchmark and improve MSLs’ time spent on training and development.
    • Invest in continuing education to create efficient, knowledgeable MSL teams.
    • Leverage MSLs’ knowledge to educate other field-based teams as well as new hires on the MSL role and brands’ science.
    • Implement best practices for formally training new and continuing MSLs

     

    Chapter Data

    13 charts focused on MSL training and education. Data are broken down by company type (Top 20, Top 50, small/biotech and device/diagnostic) and geographic region (United States, Europe, Canada and Asia Pacific):

    • Frequency of MSL training
    • Breakdown of education activities pre-launch and post-launch (by company type)
    • Percentage of companies whose MSLs train new liaisons (by company type, geographic region and KOL outreach strategy: proactive vs. reactive)
    • Percentage of companies whose MSLs complete continuing education and self-education (by company type, geographic region and KOL outreach strategy: proactive vs. reactive)
    • Average percentage of time MSLs spend on training new liaisons (by company type, geographic region and KOL outreach strategy: proactive vs. reactive)
    • Average percentage of time MSLs spend on completing continuing education and self-education (by company type, geographic region and KOL outreach strategy: proactive vs. reactive)

     

    Chapter 6: Using Performance Measurement to Prove Value

     Chapter Benefits

    • Use new strategies to overcome obstacles in proving MSL teams’ internal and external value.
    • Track the right metrics to demonstrate MSLs’ internal and external contributions to the company.
    • Convert qualitative KOL feedback surveys into meaningful qualitative presentations.
    • Improve databases and record-keeping to track MSL activities and share competitive intelligence across internal functions.

     

    Chapter Data

    15 charts focused on performance assessment across all surveyed company types and geographic regions.  Data are broken down by company type (Top 20, Top 50, small/biotech and device/diagnostic) and geographic region (United States, Europe, Canada and Asia Pacific):

    • Average number of MSL performance metrics tracked (by company type and by geographic region)
    • Prevalence of KOL surveys to measure MSL value (by company type)
    • Percentage of companies conducting KOL feedback surveys (by company type and by geographic region)
    • Percentage of companies tracking external MSL performance metrics (by geographic region)
    • Percentage of companies tracking internal MSL performance metrics (by geographic region)

     

    Chapter 7: Benchmarking MSL Performance Metrics

    Chapter Benefits

    • Review and benchmark the performance metrics detailed in Chapter 6:
    • Examine proven strategies for proving MSL value to internal stakeholders.
    • Increase the team’s internal value by drawing on MSLs’ status as a clinical resource.
    • Demonstrate MSLs’ value in gathering competitive intelligence.
    • Leverage compliance to separate MSLs performance measurements from traditional sales performance models.
      • Targeted number of maintained KOL relationships per quarter
      • Targeted number of new KOL relationships per quarter
      • Targeted number of KOLs providing feedback on their MSLs via surveys or interviews per quarter
      • Targeted number of scientific speeches delivered by MSLs and by their KOLs per quarter
      • Targeted number of promotional speeches delivered by MSLs and by their KOLs per quarter
      • Targeted number of publications facilitated by MSLs per quarter

     

    Chapter Data

    9 charts focused on specific performance metrics MSL teams use: 

    • Targeted number of maintained KOL relationships per quarter
    • Targeted number of new KOL relationships per quarter
    • Targeted number of KOLs providing feedback on their MSLs via surveys or interviews per quarter
    • Targeted number of scientific speeches delivered by MSLs and by their KOLs per quarter
    • Targeted number of promotional speeches delivered by MSLs and by their KOLs per quarter
    • Targeted number of publications facilitated by MSLs per quarter
    • Prevalence of centralized IT systems to track MSL activities

     

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  • Medical Science Liaison Report Sample

     

    The following is a key finding excerpted from the full report's Executive Summary:

    Strike a Balance with the Sales Team to Maximize Efficiency and Prevent Friction in KOL Management

    When two field forces call on overlapping targets, ideally the groups work in unison to complement one another’s efforts and abilities. Unfortunately, MSL and sales teams can just as easily find conflict in the field as help one another. In an ideal situation, sales and MSLs teams should play off each other when handling physician relationships. Sales teams often open doors for MSLs. Sales reps are able to bring MSLs into established relationships and introduce the medical team to potential new thought leaders or investigators. They also introduce physicians to new treatment line options as they come available. This practice provides a window for MSLs to bring in data supporting those treatment lines.

    MSL teams support sales teams by delivering scientific messages. These scientific discussions with physicians back up sales teams’ efforts with hard data on the treatments both teams represent. MSLs also respond to off-label questions and follow-up on other medical concerns that cannot be directly answered by sales forces. MSLs also often advance relationships with physicians, establishing them as KOLs who work with the company in a larger capacity than as simply one of its prescribers.

    Even though these groups should work in unison, they often do not. Friction may stem from recent declines in traditional drug reps or the rise in importance of the MSL, or any number of other reasons. But companies that can get past this friction benefit tremendously. Though a firewall must exist between the two groups to a certain extent, these two teams should constantly communicate to at least coordinate schedules.

    This coordination would prevent KOLs from receiving visits from both field forces too closely together. By communicating, sales reps and MSLs can time their visits to ensure that KOLs see someone from the company at regular and acceptable intervals. This strategy ensures the company and its brands remain in the forefront of physicians’ practices without appearing to harass KOLs.

    By preventing friction in this simple area, both teams are generally more willing to help each other in other circumstances. For example, a drug rep may introduce an MSL to an up-and-coming thought leader that will now lead an IIT. The MSL may then be more willing to help the drug rep gain access to a no-see physician by agreeing to a meeting with the physician. On the other hand, an MSL who has shown a willingness to meet with a drug rep’s physicians to clarify some clinical information may be compensated by a drug rep. The sales rep can keep the MSL up-to-date on scientifically interested physicians in the region.

    By not fearing the success of the other’s role, MSLs and sales reps can effectively work together in a way that each role complements the activities of the other. Both teams need to recognize the value inherent in the other. Leveraging this value, MSLs and sales teams will be able to jointly move their companies forward.

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