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.
Technologies That Support HCP Engagement
How to Engage HCPs with Technology? MDO products can help brands research, identify, communicate and engage HCPs:
Lumineer: Peer-to-peer programs that connect TLs and HCPs
Activeer: Peer-to-peer programs that connect TLs and HCPs
ClinicalXchange: 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.