Consider, for a moment, the measurement of impact that commercial activities and medical affairs activities in a life science organization have pre- and post-approval.
The commercial impact is clear and tangible, and follows conventional business paradigms: Is a therapy selling and are patients starting therapy?
Measuring the impact, however, of medical affairs – whose mandate is in the exchange of information with the medical community – can be more challenging and intangible.
As medical affairs leaders in emerging life science companies, one of the challenges we often face is effectively measuring a medical affairs strategy and communicating the impact of activities in a way that business leaders understand and appreciate.
In this article, we explore SVA Life Sciences’ approach and discuss how we leverage a Medical Affairs Impact and Performance framework to measure and communicate impact.
Establishing an Environment for Patient Success
Medical affairs team members are responsible for enhancing the understanding of unmet needs and nuances for a specific patient population and for leading disease state education among medical experts.
Medical affairs teams publish scientific data and nurture a complete understanding among medical professionals of said data. Through these interactions, team members establish an environment where medical professionals are equipped with the information they need to guide patients to safe and effective therapies. Each of these activities and interactions can produce crucial insights that inform medical, clinical, and commercial strategies.
Taken together, these activities:
- Bring insights into the organization,
- Increase medical expert awareness of a new scientific narrative, and
- Establish an environment that readily supports patient success.
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Medical Affairs Impact and Performance Framework
We consider each of these components to be the impact of a medical affairs team. Measuring this movement and impact can be unconventional and difficult to capture.
Our solution to this problem is to include the development of a Medical Affairs Impact and Performance framework when designing, building, and deploying new medical affairs capabilities.
This framework initially focuses on the MSL team and their medical initiatives, but easily expands to include other capabilities such as Medical Information, Scientific Communication, Health Economics, and Outcomes Research.
SVA Life Sciences helps frame a Medical Affairs Impact and Performance framework within time-boxed medical initiatives – periods of time where targeted outcomes are produced and measured. This initial framing provides a structure around the dissemination of information to medical experts and the delivery of insights back to the life sciences organization.
As part of the Impact and Performance framework, we position concepts like scientific awareness, scientific alignment, scientific engagement, and strategic and novel insights.
- Scientific awareness refers to whether a targeted group within the medical community has received new scientific information.
- Scientific alignment gauges the degree to which that group understands and accepts the data conclusions.
- Scientific engagement refers to the degree to which the targeted group is using this information – either in their local practice, in discussions with their colleagues, or even larger scale while presenting at a congress.
- Strategic and novel insights refer to the success medical affairs has in bringing actionable information from the medical community into the organization to inform strategic and tactical decision-making.
Pairing a well-defined medical initiative with these concepts helps make the intangible aspects of medical affairs tangible.
Consider a medical initiative focused on the delivery of new scientific data to a specific population of medical professionals in the scientific community within a six-month period.
In this process, medical affairs team members gauge reception of the data through interactions with medical experts. They collect novel and strategic insights that will be valued within the business to inform various strategies and plans, and they coordinate study projects that will resolve known data gaps. Traditional measurement of these activities may be to simply count interactions or insights.
An Impact and Performance framework adds explicit context to this counting, as medical affairs team members can categorize their activities and report back on medical expert awareness, alignment, and engagement with the new scientific data presented.
The framework also now helps gauge movement of medical experts toward a new scientific narrative, as we’ve designed our medical initiative to span six months with data capture on awareness, alignment, and engagement.
Interactions, insights, and surveys become the means to support the larger context of a medical initiative impact instead of being the main key performance indicator.
Leveraging time-bound medical initiatives within an Impact and Performance framework ultimately provides defined objectives and measurable outcomes that inform whether an environment for patient success has been created. The impact is tangible and can be communicated with members of the broader life sciences organization.
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A Note on Analytics
To effectively measure and report on the progress of these initiatives as part of the Impact and Performance framework, it is important to thoughtfully configure systems like CRM, the publishing platform, and the Medical Information database to capture data that can be organized, analyzed, and reported on cross-functionally.
Investing in Medical Affairs analytics allows medical affairs leadership and team members to assess and report on initiative progress and results.
To support the framework, SVA Life Sciences helps establish a medical affairs data mart that pulls data from medical affairs sources. We additionally produce data visualizations to keep medical affairs leadership up to date on team activities.
These dashboards incorporate components of the Impact and Performance framework and dynamically adjust based on the current medical initiative. Properly coordinating data capture and analytics with an Impact and Performance framework is crucial to measuring impact.
Ready for Impact?
At SVA Life Sciences, we have developed a ready-made framework of concepts, terminology, and software configurations to help medical affairs leaders design, implement, deploy, and measure the effectiveness of their various functions through a Medical Affairs Impact and Performance framework.
We leverage technology such as Veeva CRM and Tableau, and partner with prominent Medical Information vendors like Eversana and ProPharma, each of which enhance the framework and allow for data capture and reporting on the value and relevance of medical affairs.
If you are contemplating or in the process of building a new medical affairs function, or if you have a medical affairs function that could be optimized, contact SVA Life Sciences to learn how our Medical Impact and Performance framework is right for your organization.
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