In The Know: How is technology influencing the MSL-KOL relationship?

When sharing key scientific information and getting feedback from key opinion leaders (KOLs), given the choice, medical science liaison (MSL) professionals in the US and Europe would prefer face-to-face meetings.

However, with limited access to KOLs and increasing MSL workloads, more MSLs are turning to digital technology for help, with many envisaging a time when technology will provide most of the tools for identifying, communicating and developing their KOLs relationships.  

Through recent research with 100 US and Western European MSLs and MSL managers, survey participants were asked how they identify and profile digital KOLs that they wish to target

(see Figure 1).


Figure 1: Identifying and profiling digital influencers (digital KOLs)

Source: FirstWord, The MSL Technology Survey (2018)

The results show that the most popular ways among MSLs to identify and profile digital influencers are at congresses, through publication searches and using KOL influence mapping systems--all of which are more commonly used by MSLs in Western Europe than in the US. The results also indicate that fewer than half of the KOLs are identified via social media.

Other topics included in this research address how much time MSLs commit to identifying KOLs, how technology is enabling MSLs to tailor scientific information for KOLs, and how KOL influence mapping systems may change MSL working practices.

To learn more about this recent survey, click here.


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