Key Opinion Leaders: Do You Know What They Know?

Medical Affairs teams and key opinion leaders (KOLs) share a common goal: to improve patient care. To that end, dozens of members of your internal team spend months focused on your clinical science, thinking about and debating that one distinct component of medical practice.

Don’t assume that your KOLs are doing the same. 

To be sure, for a few of them, your specific issue is the most important aspect of their clinical and research practices, but for most KOLs, your science is just one of the many issues they address in their practice. When they read journals, listen to presentations, conduct clinical trials and see patients, they aren’t focused on your science. They are aware of major issues, but may not be on top of the latest findings and current controversies.

Accepting the reality leads to benefits.

Pharma companies in general, and Medical Affairs executives specifically, stand to gain a lot of ground by giving up the assumption that their KOLs have an understanding of the clinical science behind their medicine. By accepting the likelihood of knowledge gaps, Medical Affairs can then go about the task of identifying the KOLs’ level of understanding. 

The data can show trends in relation to: 
• Specialty
• KOL tier (e.g., international, national, regional, local)
• Geographic location
• Quality of relations between the KOL and medical science liaisons

Analysis of such KOL data results in insights that empower Medical Affairs to better focus their efforts. The research makes it possible to identify:
• Highest-priority publications
• “Must-attend” conferences
• Additional studies that might be required
• Programs that could be helpful in filling the knowledge gaps

If you want a clearer understanding of how your KOLs understand your clinical science, Clinical SCORE’s blinded third-party research can help. To learn more, please contact Ross Weaver at (484) 202-6630.