Industry Report on KOL Identification, Planning and Engagement

A Paradigm Shift for Medical Affairs

Medical Affairs and MSLs have traditionally spent much of their time traveling to and from meetings with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) and Healthcare Providers (HCPs) and attending conferences.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly reduced the opportunities for in-person face-to-face engagement with KOLs/HCPs. Travel was restricted, hospitals closed their doors to non-essential visitors and major medical conferences moved online.

The move to virtual engagement changed the way MSLs work and KOL/HCP engagement in the future will include both virtual and face-to-face interactions. Since the removal of COVD-19 restrictions, there has been a move back towards face-to-face meetings with those KOLs/HCPs who prefer to meet in person. As many conferences prepare to meet in person in 2023, how does this shift impact meetings and, more importantly, how do MSLs prepare for these interactions? Many of these meetings take place at medical conferences.

Engage Strategically with Relevant Insights

January kicks off a busy season for many life sciences and healthcare industry groups. It’s go time for MSLs to get to know as much as possible about their territory, KOL targets and the latest science.

Previous research suggests that around half of MSL interactions with KOLs/HCPs will be online and half face-to-face, depending on the stage of the relationship and the reason for the meeting. The results of our October 2022 poll of 93 MSLs based in the US support this theory. Most MSLs have now adopted a hybrid of virtual and face-to-face meetings.

Almost one third of the respondents indicate that face to-face meetings with KOLs/HCPs currently account for 20-40% of the total, while 26% say that 41-60% of meetings are face-to-face.

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