The key role of today’s medical science liaisons (MSLs) is to interpret objective scientific data and communicate scientific perspectives. What does that look like? And how do Medical Affairs leaders determine whether their MSLs are making an impact?
At times, MSLs address scientific perspectives related to patient-specific issues. For example, a physician who has a patient who presents a challenging case may look to the MSL to provide relevant scientific data for some additional insight. The MSL helps by identifying and interpreting the available data relevant to the case. Then the physician can apply that information to the treatment plan. The goal here is to improve the care of an individual patient.
Other times, MSLs proactively communicate new scientific findings that the broader medical community may not be aware of or understand. In these circumstances, MSLs may communicate with key opinion leaders about the appropriate use of a new class of agents or help KOLs understand the distinct differences between various mechanisms. The goal here is to improve the care of a class of patients.
When the goal is to communicate scientific perspectives to the medical community at large, MSLs are uniquely able to deliver scientific findings generated by the sponsoring pharmaceutical company. Having done the clinical research, the sponsor’s medical team knows the underlying science, clinical research findings and study design better than anyone else does. Thus, Medical Affairs can empower their MSLs to answer specific questions and increase healthcare professionals’ knowledge and understanding. They know how the results fit into the broader scientific context.
MSLs take that information and communicate it to KOLs in order to increase awareness of the company’s science and to frame it in the overall context of medical practice. In order to be sure that MSLs are achieving the goal of improving the care of a class of patients, Medical Affairs leaders need to be able to measure KOLs’ awareness and acceptance of the company’s science. Blinded, third-party research can be used to assess KOLs’ perception of various scientific approaches and track changes over time. To learn more, please email Ross Weaver or call (484) 202-6630.