The role of Medical Affairs teams is shifting with different goals ahead
The pandemic scenario shifted the way Medical Affairs (MA) engages with stakeholders. As a matter of fact, it became a critical part of healthcare organizations’ strategies, side-by-side with R&D and Sales.
Organizations are reshaping their business models to go beyond products or brands. Moreover, they want to embrace a wider therapeutic landscape, which brings more challenges to stakeholder communication. Altogether, there are three vital players in this game: healthcare professionals, payers, and patients.
Digital engagement had a variety of positive outcomes. It includes the extension of MA’s reach. Not only that but also the closing of the gap between life science and stakeholders with strategic decisions based on expert insights.
Don’t forget that we’re in the new digital natives era. Thus, remote engagement allows MA to become influencers beyond the walls of the industry.
When looking into the near future, it’s expected that MAs embrace these shifts. They will have a positive impact on healthcare professionals and patients. We predict an optimization of the activities pursued.
MA evolving as a trusted source
MA’s role has changed and become more important as a result of the digital disruption felt in the healthcare industry. Moreover, they will become a trusted source of accurate and valuable data.
MA activities are expected to be developed in hybrid settings in the coming years. More than 50% of the engagement strategy will center on remote interactions.
MA teams have to increase and update the activities pursued to ensure their success.
In the digital era, Medical Affairs must:
- Have a more agile approach to becoming more business savvy;
- Increase expertise and influence while expanding its activities;
- Build strategic partnerships to add value to the business;
- Increase knowledge and share content for both prescribers and patients;
- Act upon insights gathered from listening to physicians and patients; and
- Acknowledge and evolve with digital health expectations from patients and medical professionals.
Rebranding engagement: Benefiting from digital interactions
The global applicability of remote engagement was already beneficial for MA teams. It goes hand-in-hand with the industry’s trend to embrace digital disruption. At the same time, it’s decreasing development timelines and accelerating the go-to-market time.
Data collection and analysis are “king” here, and when combined with remote engagement and digital interactions success is ensured. This is something the MA teams were already developing.
In fact, they have been using this in their activities for the past few years. Now they are essential for the future success of businesses across industries.
Do keep in mind the main deliverables identified above. More tailored interactions will come from MAs. Both medical professionals and patients will have seamless experiences.
MA can ensure the support and guidance needed and expected for decision-making processes. It’s possible through continuous knowledge and expertise sharing. After all, there’s more knowledge of the reality for end-users. Here, MA can step up as the voice of patients inside the organization. They will be able to push for innovation for a better customer experience.
At the core of the new Medical Affairs role is care experience improvement. This, along with added fit-to-size and tailored experiences contributes to optimized global outcomes.
Top 5 predictions and recommendations
Top 5 predictions
- MA’s role will evolve into an essential piece of the strategy. In fact, it will include increased scientific and business expertise;
- Virtual settings will continue to benefit audience reach expansion with higher experts engagement;
- Digital interactions will keep saving time and money for organizations. At the same time, they will enable seamless experiences for those involved;
- Pharma companies will increase added value content creation. The delivery will come with a customer-centered approach; and
- Hybrid interactions will be the model to follow for a successful engagement strategy. Not to mention that virtual interactions will be the first approach.
Top 5 recommendations
- Organizations can enjoy external engagement. As well as internal activities by embracing the new role of MA;
- Many recommend a quick adoption of tech solutions and digital medical tools. In the long run, they will contribute to higher healthcare outcomes and business results;
- Continuous performance measurement should occur for MA activities optimization through accurate real-life insights;
- Prioritization of patients’ unmet needs and expectations through guidance and added-value resources/tools; and
- Update working models. It’s vital to strengthen the relationships with both the R&D and sales departments. It will establish strategic leadership.
Medical professionals have new needs. In essence, they want bite-sized, digestible, and up-to-date content that comes to them at the right time of the journey.
This will increase their professional education and also grant guidance to their patients. MA teams’ increased expertise enables them to go-to sources in remote settings.
Virtual interactions removed existing barriers. The engagement with the stakeholders reached a whole different level than in previous years. On the whole, this makes room for improvement and personalization toward better patient health outcomes.
MA professionals may now focus on refining the virtual-first engagement strategy. In fact, they had been researching and developing this topic for several years. This was primarily done through the use of personalized communications and timely content sharing.
There’s an increased knowledge of several elements around the customer. For example, the customers’ behaviors, past interactions, future needs, and expectations. This allows continuous optimization enabling time-saving meaningful interactions.
For the companies, it provides them with low-cost, valuable insights.