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How to Engage HCPs

How to Engage HCPs

Healthcare providers, also known as HCPs, are persons that provide healthcare services and treatments to patients. By learning how to engage HCPs, pharmaceutical companies can champion support for new treatments from the earliest stages of development through treatment launch and beyond. Some HCPs evolve into Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) or ThoughtLeaders (TLs), and these can be particularly important.

Essentially, KOLs are a subset of HCPs, and KOLs are often categorized as global, national, regional, or local depending on their spheres of influence. Many KOLs emerge because they focus on specific fields and their opinions have gained respect among their peers. Through their participation in clinical trials, clinical research, public forums, panels, social media posts and authorship in respected journals, they develop into trusted experts with ability to influence peers, formularies, treatment algorithms, institutions, and healthcare provider networks. The value of winning their good opinion cannot be overstated, particularly in the early phases of a treatment’s life cycle.

How Can KOLs Impact a Treatment’s Performance During Its Lifecycle?

KOLs can share important data, expertise, and preferred treatment approaches with other KOLs and clinicians. KOLs and HCPs can be engaged at every stage of a treatment’s lifecycle, depending on a brand’s needs:

Through ideation and development

Before and during clinical trials

Through launch and marketing phases  

In earlier stages, KOLs may provide helpful insights on market conditions, key unmet needs and influence treatment development. Once a treatment has proven itself in clinical trials, they can be enrolled to help build awareness and adoption among other KOLs and HCPs at international, national, regional, and local levels. An approved treatment won’t reach full potential if it isn’t adopted by institution and payer formularies or if it doesn’t break into to treatment algorithms, so the acceptance and advocacy of the right KOLs is critical and should not be left to chance.

KOLs have a wealth of knowledge and their support is essential to the adoption of treatments by other HCPs. When considering how to engage KOLs, analyze how they can:

● Consult your brand in early stages of development

● Identify unmet needs and uncover new treatment opportunities

● Lead clinical trials and advise on adaptations

● Provide perspective ona treatment’s efficacy, safety, tolerability and cost effectiveness

● Author reports about the disease state and treatment for respected journals

● Speak about the disease state and treatment


5 Strategy Building Blocks For How to Engage HCPs

Once a company has developed a use case for HCPs in support of a treatment, they must begin a process of identifying and engaging them. This process should begin early and involve meticulous planning to maximize effectiveness.

Here are five building blocks that address the challenge of how to engage HCPs:

Plan Accordingly Using KOL Mapping

Pharmaceutical companies can use KOL mapping to identify HCPs in specific disease states who are global, national, regional and local influencers. Different KOLs can play key roles at each phase of a treatment’s life-cycle. A well-crafted KOL and HCP engagement strategy will incorporate all layers at the appropriate time to ensure data and brand messaging cascades down to HCPs in all geographies. KOL mapping should parse out and rank KOLs as global, national, regional and local influencer based on clinical trials, authorship, institutional leadership, peer nomination and other factors. Mapping should also clearly indicate clear influence networks of other KOLs and HCPs for each KOL. Higher order mapping should also be “real time” – not static – and identify “Rising Stars” and movement among KOLs as well as identifying Social Meadia or Digital ThoughtLeaders.  

 

Use Market Research to Find the Best HCPs at the Right Time
 
By accessing real-time market insights, such as those provided by MDOutlook’s Lumineer, brands can search well beyond the top 50 to 100 KOLs, cast a wide net across various niches and levels of influence, and find the most up-to-date information about HCPs to better inform how they can aid a treatment’s development. A platform like Lumineer® also supports rapid, iterative “pulse research,” which can provide rich insights to pharmaceutical brand leaders about messaging and how to advance their treatment. 
 
Communicate Clearly and Set Expectations
 
To ensure success, it is important to build trust with HCPs and educate them about your treatment and its benefits for the patients in their care. Provide education through a variety of vehicles including the field force, educational programs, conferences and digital platforms. In many cases, the messenger is more important than the message. For these reasons, KOLs can share data and information about your treatment to HCPs. 
 
Provide Extra Attention To Engage High-Writers
 
For every disease state there are HCPs or networks or practices who are known as “High Writers.” They have earned this moniker because they treat a high volume of patients. Sometimes “High Writer” HCPs are KOLs… but sometimes they are not. So, they often require a separate strategy and focus. Because they are “High Writers” they are often particularly busy and more difficult to access. If done correctly, KOL mapping can help identify which KOLs are “High Writer” HCPs and which KOLs influence specific “High Writers.”  
 
Conduct Peer-To-Peer Programs To Speed Adoption
 
Once a brand has used KOL mapping to build an engagement strategy, brands can work with HCPs to design programs that foster sharing among KOLs and HCPs around best practices and treatment outcomes. These “peer-to-peer” programs are often called advisory boards or ad boards. MDOutlook provides a leading edge peer-to-peer program called Activeer® which includes rich discussions by KOLs and HCPs about a specific disease state and generates detailed summaries that can be shared across mapped networks to other KOLs and HCPs. This can be a powerful approach to ensure  HCPs feel involved and valued, while simultaneously driving awareness about a treatment. 
 

Technologies That Support HCP Engagement

How to Engage HCPs with Technology? MDO products can help brands research, identify, communicate and engage HCPs:

Lumineer: ThoughtLeader mapping and engagement

Activeer: Peer-to-peer programs that connect TLs and HCPs

Clinical Exchange: Content delivered to HCPs at optimal times 

DOCpulse: Rapid insights on HCPs and disease states

Consultative Insights: Tailored guidance and customized in-depth analyses 

Orienteer: Performance tracking of HCPs to ensure ongoing success 


MDOutlook Can Help You Engage HCPs

By engaging HCPs early on and throughout the process, pharmaceutical companies can increase the chances of success for their new treatments. HCPs can provide guidance and expertise and support adoption and utilization at every stage of a brand’s journey.

Contact us to learn how we can help set your pharmaceutical company up for success and watch our free webinar on the best ways to engage HCPs.