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Not ALL Insights are Equal: How to get the Best Insights and Deliver the Most to your Team and Company

Medical Science Liaisons are not only experts in clinical and scientific support, but they are instrumental in gathering insights and bringing these back to the company. Although they are not the only field-based position in the Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology, or Diagnostic Industries, they are uniquely qualified to discuss a broad range of scientific topics and therefore are most able to bring the company the most comprehensive understanding of what KOLs and other HCPs are saying about their product.

But not all insights are equal…
What is the difference between a valuable comment from an HCP and a less significant one?
How do you ensure that potentially valuable insights are even accurate?

Sometimes Medical Science Liaisons enter insights despite statements from HCPs being potentially inaccurate (often through no fault of the MSL) or simply not of high value.

Let’s say the insight is accurate- how do MSLs get the best insights from HCPs?

Oftentimes this is the difference between a comment by a physician being highly interesting to senior leadership and not at all. If an MSL is conducting scientific exchange and an HCP makes an interesting statement, some strategic probing questions asked at the right time can multiply the utility of these comments to the company.

The best scientific exchange often occurs when the HCP does more talking than the MSL. The MSL should be ready at any moment to recognize an insight when they hear one and probe a bit further and gain a deeper understanding and even more valuable information.

Next, how do we ensure the accuracy of insights?

Let’s face it- HCPs are BUSY. Their time is limited because they have endless consults, patients, and charting to do. In addition, sometimes they even misspeak (don’t we all…?).

The way to ensure accuracy of insights is through advanced soft skill training and application.

Sometimes an HCP is so busy that they will say something to help facilitate the end of the conversation. MSLs must be aware of this and understand that these are likely not insights!

If an HCP and MSL have a very strong relationship (even for introductory meetings), the accuracy of insights increases tremendously.

If the HCP must end the meeting, they will do so more openly and directly without any dismissive comments about data or products that might be misinterpreted as insights. This is because HCPs are much more open and honest with MSLs who they have a great relationship with.

Lastly, how do Medical Science Liaisons know that an insight is not a misspoken comment?

Throughout the industry, it is not common for MSL Insight corroboration to be discussed and therefore is even less likely to occur. This is despite how incredibly valuable verifying statements can be. In the case when verification is needed, the MSL should submit the insight, but it should be corroborated by another teammate during a different HCP interaction, in the future by the same HCP and MSL, or by the same MSL and different colleagues of the HCP at the same institution.

This confirmation will provide stronger assurance that the insights are not misspoken and will also act as a gauge to see how common a given perspective may be.

Insights are among the most valuable outputs an MSL team can provide an organization. If you and your team make sure to fully train on and optimize this process, it will help medical and other executive leadership acknowledge the immense and unique utility of the Medical Science Liaison role.



Published date

May 16, 2023