The Value of Virtual Interactions with Key Opinion Leaders
For decades, pharmaceutical companies have consulted with key healthcare providers (HCPs) and other key opinion leaders who have their finger on the pulse of the treatment landscape. In face-to-face interactions, HCPs have provided insight into a wide range of subjects related to a product or disease state, including:
- Clinical use
- Therapy area guidelines
- Market access and obstacles
- Clinical development and trial protocols
- Product extensions
- Unmet needs that might drive future clinical strategies
- Medical and promotional content
In return for providing this feedback, healthcare providers enjoy the opportunity to shape their own treatment landscape and propel future research.
Live, in-person advisory boards are one of the tried-and-true methods for gaining HCP insights. Advisory boards can be held at almost every single stage of product development depending on a pharmaceutical company’s needs, but their goal is the same: to gain insights and “create actionable deliverables and provide incalculable value” by fostering “strong relationships with medical professionals.”1
But live, in-person advisory board meetings are not without challenges. Budgetary and regulatory concerns and institutional restrictions present a challenge, as poorly executed advisory boards will fail to yield necessary insights. HCPs may also face barriers to attending live, in-person meetings. As more and more HCPs shift away from private practice toward hospital or medical groups,2 they may have less availability, especially if they have both academic and clinical responsibilities.
Additionally, HCPs often want more continuous engagement than can be provided by in-person interactions. Failing to connect with thought leaders after an advisory board can lead to disengagement and missed opportunities for further collaboration.
Thus, virtual, web-based platforms present an opportunity to better engage with HCPs. Without sacrificing the quality and productivity of meetings, medical communications professionals can use virtual engagement to increase the number of touchpoints with key opinion leaders and gain the advice and information needed.
The shift to virtual platforms
More than 80 percent of companies conduct virtual advisory board meetings, but this is done infrequently. In fact, most advisory board meetings are still conducted in person.3
The reluctance to shift to a model that uses virtual platforms in tandem with in-person meetings may be due to several considerations:
- Compliance issues
- Security concerns
- Variable levels of technological skill
- Cost of ongoing platform maintenance
To lower these barriers and help companies engage more regularly with HCPs, Amplity Medical Communications offers two virtual solutions designed specifically for pharmaceutical companies: Real-Time Marketing Intelligence (RTMi)™ and AmplityConnect.
REAL TIME MARKET INTELLIGENCE™
Amplity Medical Communications' Real Time Market Intelligence™ (RTMi) platform is designed to support existing processes to deliver ongoing communication with HCPs.
The platform fosters regular, ongoing physician engagement through qualitative and quantitative surveys that are pulsed out weekly for a predetermined number of weeks.
The RTMi platform has engaged segmented HCPs across numerous studies with an 85% completion rate. The results collected and collated from these surveys can be used as a starting point for a live meeting or virtual live meeting to take place in the near future.
RTMi Case Study:
Diagnostic testing in early-stage prostate cancer
One of Amplity’s clients wanted to better understand the perceived unmet need for diagnostic testing in early-stage prostate cancer; the levels of evidence required by payers to obtain biomarker coverage; alternatives in development of genomic biomarkers; and the value of a new early-stage prostate cancer diagnostic test.
Perfectly aligned for these needs, RTMi was used to gather these insights in a series of low-touch, high-impact virtual interactions. The client leveraged Amplity Medical Communications' unique access to HCPs pertinent to this investigation and contracted with 10 of them with preapproved, blinded titles. The RTMi platform was used to pulse out sets of key questions, developed in collaboration with the client, over 16 weeks. Participating HCPs were given one week to respond to each set of questions, with a follow-up reminder after four business days.
Amplity Medical Communications used RTMi to conduct ad hoc, deeper-dive probes as warranted and developed weekly recaps summarizing responses for each question set, as well as comprehensive monthly reports. At the conclusion of the engagement, a full executive summary was developed, recapitulating all invaluable insights gleaned over the 16-week study.
Amplity Medical Communications' online platform can serve as both a site for virtual live meetings or educational seminars, and as an archival resource for those wishing to review recorded materials.
The platform can be accessed from multiple locations on a desktop or tablet. Participants can see and hear each other and the moderator and interact with real-time polling.
Beyond verbal communication, Amplity's Medical Communications also supports a variety of document, audio, and video formats, allowing participants to share and discuss assets, documents, and other resources in real-time.
The platform compiles attendance reports and records all sessions, both for compliance and to allow the meetings to be accessed in the future for training and educational purposes.
Strategic benefits of Amplity's virtual platforms
Amplity’s virtual platforms have multiple applications for meetings and trainings, including:
- Advisory boards and follow-up discussions
- Steering committee meetings
- Speaker training
- Standing advisory councils
- Consensus roundtables
- Mock Pharmacy and Therapeutics committees
- Market research surveys
- One-to-one, in-depth interviews
- Patient perspectives
- Readership reactions
- Clinical reactions
Amplity's Medical Communication’s virtual platforms are one key component of its holistic approach to key opinion leader engagement. Taken as a whole, the process allows pharmaceutical companies to smoothly garner feedback and then successfully implement the feedback into various strategic documents.
Coupling market intelligence with live, virtual meetings offers four strategic benefits for pharmaceutical companies.
Identifying Appropriate Key Opinion Leaders: An advisory board or steering committee is only as successful as its members. Whether the board is comprised of a select subgroup of HCPs or a multidisciplinary group, Amplity Medical Communication can help to identify the right individuals.
Access to Key Opinion Leaders: The best outcomes come from reaching all key stakeholders across the healthcare continuum. Because of its robust slate of medical and patient journal offerings, Amplity Medical Communication's offers access to the full spectrum of key customer groups, including physicians, nurse practitioners, nurse navigators, practice managers, payers, pharmacists, patients, caregivers and advocacy groups.
Obtaining Prompt Feedback: Amplity's Medical Communication’s virtual platforms can be used to develop and distribute questions to KOLs, gather feedback, and summarize responses within two to four weeks—as opposed to months.
Utilizing Key Insights for Strategic Planning: The faster key insights are obtained from KOLs the faster they can be used in a strategic document, upcoming advisory board meeting, conference activities, and more.
Meet the Author
John Vassiliou is the Managing Director of Amplity's Medical Communications division. John has 20+ years experience on various initiatives for the pharmaceutical industry. During that time, he worked in several therapeutic categories including oncology, hematology, neurology and cardiology. John’s responsibilities include providing account oversight, strategic vision, business development and overall resource allocation. He is a graduate of Fordham University with a BA in Communications.