MSLs are a key source of feedback for medical affairs teams, with insight into specific therapeutic areas and disease states that comes directly from HCPs. But getting a global team of MSLs together presents participation challenges – so what’s the best approach to conduct productive MSL meetings and ensure the highest-quality insights with the most diverse perspective?
Challenges to MSL engagement
It’s never been terribly practical for global MSL teams to meet in person, due to time-consuming and expensive travel that interferes with busy schedules. Web meetings present many of the same scheduling and communication challenges, particularly if the team is located across time zones with different preferred languages.
A Within3 client team was experiencing ongoing challenges with participation during global MSL meetings. The medical affairs team used real-time web meetings and email to engage MSLs in North America, Europe, and Australia on a variety of topics, but on a regular basis, fewer than half of the team could attend the web meetings. Of those who were able to attend, less than 15% contributed feedback. The team wondered: what important insights are we missing, and what can we do to improve?
Put simply, the best way to ensure everyone on a global team can contribute to a meeting is to let them attend whenever it’s most convenient for them. Asynchronous, or over-time engagement technology, provides this type of environment – along with all the tools to elicit high-quality insights, including on-screen translation that lets people communicate in their preferred language. In the case of this medical affairs team, a 21-day session allowed each MSL to participate in the meeting whenever they were available, no matter where in the world they were located, or what time it was when they found 15 minutes to log in.
By making it easier for MSLs to participate in the meeting, the team saw much more robust engagement. Periodic email digests informed the MSLs when there were new questions to answer or comments to respond to. And moderators kept the discussion going by probing for more information or tagging participants in different conversation threads. And translation capabilities meant all the MSLs could participate in their preferred language.
At the end of the asynchronous session, the medical affairs team found that attendance had doubled compared to their traditional approach, with nearly 100% of the MSLs joining the session and offering input. The session transcript was available immediately after the discussion concluded, with 26 pages of the MSLs’ perceptions and insights – exceeding the medical affairs team’s expectations and representing a remarkable improvement over past meetings.
Want to learn other ways medical affairs teams are using asynchronous technology and insights management? Learn how our client rolled out training modules to MSLs across the US and adopted the approach for future sessions.