Insight to impact: how insights are shaping medical affairs strategies

In a world where insights are like gold dust to pharma, medical affairs teams are the skilled miners discovering them. But with so much untapped potential, how can you ensure you’re using these valuable insights to effectively shape your strategy? And what exactly is the role of medical affairs teams in gathering them?

Their role is critical. Medical affairs teams act as the bridge between customers, commercial organisations, and research and development, facilitating corporate objectives while delivering upon their role as a strategic pillar. But to better showcase the importance of these bridges, and the insights that build them there needs to be both internal and external improvement.

Internally, information silos need to be broken down to ensure the organisation is elevating and sharing insights effectively and utilising them to their full potential by directing and impacting strategy. Externally, the more medical affairs teams can actively listen and understand the needs of their customers, the better the overall alignment between healthcare practitioners and medical science liaisons (MSLs).

When it comes to quantifying the impact of insights, quality metrics are essential.  Pharma companies need to focus on the utility of the reports rather than the quantity of them. Medical teams don’t need hundreds of insights; they need deep understanding, with machine learning now enabling us to identify and react to crucial trends. Interestingly, how these insights are used by cross-functional stakeholders is an insight within itself. Asking questions about their outcomes and utilisation serves as a great metric for impact assessment.

So, what is the role of insight collection in demonstrating the impact of medical affairs on thought leaders and stakeholders?

Medical affairs teams are uniquely positioned to have deeper conversations, enabling them to surface clues that power engagements and strategy. Insight collection can benefit the organisation in many ways, from finding new indications, shaping clinical trials and enabling market access to understanding customer motivations and finding unique perspectives. But medical teams would be better placed to demonstrate the impact of their work if they could bring higher value insights to the table.

It’s all about considering where a good insight lives and making the data visible. Having frequent and dynamic discussions about long- and short-term objectives means that medical teams are not only assessing the things they think are relevant, but they are also open to discovering non-structured insights, ultimately deepening their understanding of customer need.

Do you think insight collection should be central to any medical affairs strategy?

Insight collection should always be at the core of medical affairs, working to confirm or enhance current strategies and providing directional markers for future ones. But there are challenges that come with it. Ensuring the quality of insights is crucial, as is ensuring that MSLs have the freedom to engage in meaningful conversations. Listening imperatives and structured insight collection shouldn’t limit an interaction, but instead, act as a gateway to meaningful and compliant discussions.

Looking ahead, the future of medical affairs is marked by promising trends. Better insight generation will lead to greater insight effectiveness and operational excellence, while customer preferences for digestible content will see the development of presentations that are relevant and enabling. We will also see the continuing rise of the digital opinion leader, making insights from social media listening even more important.

A pathway to success

Simply put, insights should be your definitive pathway to success, guiding you to your next best action, but in an ever-evolving scientific environment, where masses of data are generated every second, how can you ensure that medical affairs teams are providing value to an organisation? And how can you demonstrate the impact?

To thrive in this changing landscape, medical affairs teams need to break down the silos and utilise data effectively. It’s not about more data, it is about the right data, connecting and visualising that data to uncover meaning and actions that inform strategy. Medical teams must continue to actively seek, collect and analyse the answers and look at adaptive technology solutions that will safely collect, store, synthesise and enable insights to be shared and actioned in as close to real time as possible.  Ultimately, this will give the wider organisation the opportunity to harness the power of these insights and empower better scientific exchange.

VISFO is a strategic intelligence company that does things differently. From its base in the UK, the company is powering a new software solution for pharma and biotech organisations that is transforming insight effectiveness. iGen is a cloud-based medical insights management solution that collects, shares, analyses and measures the impact of insights, in real time, giving clients the ability to measure the effectiveness of insights and accelerate their journey throughout the organisation at pace.

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