There’s been plenty of talk in recent months about the impact of social media on the future of healthcare. Many stakeholders are carving out their own space within the social media sphere, with customized strategies that fit their respective ambitions and external pressures, such as regulatory guidelines.
Biopharmaceutical companies are beginning to craft social media strategies and experiment with different activities; the FDA is reviewing potential social media guidelines; and medical professionals are individually using social media in a variety of ways. A recent article in MedAd News says that “according to Manhattan Research, 89 million American adults used social media for health in 2010”. That’s a staggering figure –nearly 30% of the American population used social media sites to discuss health-related issues. Evidence that the use of social media in healthcare is here to stay has even hit pop culture, when last week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy featured Dr. Bailey tweeting her surgery play-by-play. Upon seeing how much visibility his department could attain within the medical community, even Chief Webber jumped on board!
At Thought Leader Select, we’re also examining how to better understand the ways that thought leaders in the medical community use social media. In our quest to stay on top of the trends among medical experts, we’d ... read more »
Neil Mellor: I found it quite interesting, and so did Paul—since we’ve grown the company over the last five years to include multiple European and global thought leader assessments, we thought it made sense to get a real sense of the industry’s thinking about what we do on the European continent.
TLS Blog: What were some of the main points of discussion?
Neil Mellor: Right now, there’s a pretty hot debate going on about the roles that health care professionals play in the development and launch of new medicines. This conference even included a robust discussion on what to call them—it seems the European marketplace is evolving away from the term “key opinion leader,” with companies choosing instead to rely on what they call “external experts,” “opinion leaders,” or “thought leaders.” It made us feel even better about the name of our company, that’s for sure!
TLS Blog: Would you say that there’s a migration going on in the perception of the HCPs ... read more »
Key opinion leaders (KOLs) are health care leaders who make a high-impact footprint while advancing medical science. Thought Leader Select specializes in delivering objective, validated data on the skills and experiences of KOLs, so that pharmaceutical companies can seek their advice and guidance in the development of new medicines.
Over the past several years, Thought Leader Select has studied physician key opinion leaders who treat diabetes and analyzed their involvement in many areas, including clinical research, treatment guidelines involvement, publishing, reimbursement involvement and participation in advocacy efforts. In a recent assessment of nearly 500 diabetes KOLs across the United States, Thought Leader Select examined their participation in patient advocacy activities. Using keywords to link these KOLs with such activities, Thought Leader Select found that 62% of physicians regularly take part in patient advocacy efforts, such as participation in advocacy organizations, patient education or legislative efforts (see Chart 1).
Of the 301 KOLs with advocacy involvement, most take part in five or fewer activities, while only 3% of them boast 10 or more advocacy activities and/or awards. In addition to activities through the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) – especially the American College of Endocrinology’s Power of Prevention (POP) program – top advocacy initiatives and organizations include:
Key opinion leaders (KOLs) are health care leaders who make a high-impact footprint while advancing medical science. Thought Leader Select specializes in delivering objective, validated data on the skills and experiences of KOLs, so that pharmaceutical companies can seek their appropriate advice and guidance in the development of new medicines.
Thought Leader Select measures many areas where KOLs leave their respective marks in the medical community, including conducting clinical research studies, publishing articles in leading journals, and presenting breakthrough knowledge at scientific conferences.
In a recent assessment of over 300 North American specialists in atrial fibrillation, Thought Leader Select measured the frequency of these global key opinion leaders’ respective participation in regulatory and reimbursement activities. Using keywords to link these KOLs with such activities covering a six-year period, Thought Leader Select found that only 50 of the 300 physicians had any significant, relevant experience related to regulatory and reimbursement issues, such as participation on Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committees, FDA Advisory Boards, etc.
While the overall pool of 300 medical experts in atrial fibrillation showed significant diversity in skills and experience in a variety of areas, there are only a small number of these experts that have any experience in regulatory and reimbursement issues. Pharmaceutical companies wishing to seek consultative advice from these highly specialized thought leaders need to find effective ways to differentiate ... read more »
In a recent post on Pharmalot, the pharmaceutical industry blog highlighted a recent survey that gauged American opinions on the speed and safety of the process for developing new medicines. The survey, conducted by Eli Lilly and ResearchAmerica, measured a number of opinions Americans hold regarding the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA itself.
While over 70 per cent of the respondents trust the FDA approval process for new drugs, more than half say the process should be faster. The most stunning numbers in the survey come from the questions regarding industry collaborations with universities and the government. Ninety-four per cent of the respondents said that pharmaceutical companies, universities, and the government should work together to develop new medicines more quickly and safely, and 88 per cent said that it was a good idea for drug companies to collaborate with hospitals, universities, and other health institutions.
The Lilly/Research America survey gives even more weight, the weight of public opinion,that the pharmaceutical industry must continue to increase its collaborations with medical experts to ensure that new medicines are delivered safely and in a timely fashion. Working with the right experts at the right points of development can save millions of dollars in development costs, and, more importantly, save more lives.
At Thought Leader Select, the collaborative synergy of the pharmaceutical industry and medical experts ... read more »
A recent Pharmaceutical Executive article outlined new US Food and Drug Administration draft guidance that would “expand transparency and disclosure when the agency grants a conflict of interest waiver to permit an individual’s participation at an FDA advisory committee meeting.”
The FDA, much like the many public and private companies that make up the biopharmaceutical industry, relies on the expertise and advice of research scientists and health care professionals as resources for policy-making that affects the public health of the United States. The draft guidance seeks to implement new guidelines for identifying potential conflicts of interest among the scientists and physicians drafted to help form wide-ranging policy throughout the health care industry.
The FDA’s self-policing initiative mirrors the ongoing trend in the biopharmaceutical industry for greater ethics and transparency. Pharmaceutical companies are embracing greater disclosure of their activities with thought leaders in the medical community, and they are turning to companies like Thought Leader Select for targeted advice on a variety of fronts where they engage thought leaders. Thought Leader Select’s advisory services span a variety of KOL development areas, including help with advisory boards, conferences, regulatory approval, clinical research, and many other aspects of the development of new medicines.
Thought Leader Select provides an unbiased, third-party perspective that proves vital to evolving pharmaceutical development needs through intensive documentation of the skills ... read more »
KOLs Provide the “Voice of the Patient” for Life-changing Discoveries
According to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA—(http://www.phrma.org/), “Only one of every 10,000 potential medicines investigated by America’s research-based pharmaceutical companies makes it through the research and development pipeline and is approved for patient use by the United States Food and Drug Administration.”
Development of innovative medicines for effective disease treatment requires that pharmaceutical companies have a keen understanding of the diseases impacting patients and a view into how doctors see these medicines work in their patient populations. Without advice from physicians and scientists in the field, pharma companies may target the “wrong” illnesses or miss or miss opportunities to tackle the most complex diseases.
Physicians become the “voice of the patient” during the drug discovery and development process. Patients around the globe have the partnership of physicians, scientists and pharmaceutical manufactures to thank for longer life expectancy and the eradication of deadly diseases.
The most beneficial physician/scientist/pharma collaborations exemplify the following key hallmarks:
· Common goals for identifying patient needs, gaps in available treatments and potential new therapies · Open exchange of patient needs and treatment ideas · Critical, unbiased ... read more »