How to get the big picture in Medical Affairs

In Indian folklore, six blind men encounter an elephant. One examines the animal and states that it shares many characteristics with a rope. A second conducts his study and concludes that it is more like a wall. A third is quite convinced that the creature resembles a tree trunk. Although they have all assessed the animal, none has the big picture.

Getting a grasp on the elephant that is Medical Affairs performance poses a similar challenge. It used to be that field force teams could be evaluated based on quantitative values like increases or decreases in revenue, prescription writing habits or market share changes. Medical Affairs is a different beast than sales, and MA key performance indicators (KPIs) cannot be related to monetary gain. That leaves organizations scrambling to select new KPIs. Using a single metric to measure effectiveness is like looking only at the elephant’s trunk and assuming that the animal is like a snake. It doesn’t provide sufficient information to assess whether Medical Affairs initiatives and teams are delivering value.

Today, KPIs must be tied to Medical Affairs corporate objectives. Meaningful assessments address multiple elements:

  • Internal KPIs
  • MA Management KPIs
  • Value KPIs
  • Outcomes-Based KPIs
  • Overall Metrics

Not all of these metrics carry the same weight, however, and it is critical to recognize that obtaining some of these metrics is impossible to achieve with internal resources without overreaching regulatory bounds. Blinded, third-party research is necessary to maintain compliance and obtain candid insights. Future posts in this space will explore these KPIs in greater detail. In the meantime, if you’d like to know more, click here or call Gary Kaplan at 610-324-2798.

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