Can Analyzing Social Networks Really Find Thought Leaders?

February 28, 2012 · Leave a comment

Industry Insights from Paul Meade, M. Sc., MPH

There has been quite a lot of noise lately regarding the use of social network techniques to find key opinion leaders in the medical profession. Whether it’s through what some call social network analysis or the creation of health care professional-only social networks, proponents of these methods like to think that they are reinventing thought leadership and its metrics.

In fact, some advocates even suggest they can find more key opinion leaders in the medical field than by using other tried and tested, and sometimes validated approaches. Can this be true? Well, it depends on how these companies, and better yet, how the end users of their services, define thought leaders or key opinion leaders (KOLs).

There are those with backgrounds in information technology, as well as social sciences such as sociology and psychology, and other areas outside healthcare who are trying to redefine thought leadership in medicine to fit the template of the products they are selling.  For example, some of them have taken concepts of social interactions and applied them to finding those medical experts that either publish together or even present at similar conferences. But just because someone writes a paper with someone else doesn’t mean they are both KOLs. In fact, the contrary is often the case.

So let’s back up and ... read more »


Thought Leader Select Begins Skin Cancer KOL Assessment for Top Five Global Pharmaceutical Company

February 16, 2012 · Leave a comment

Thought Leader Select, a Chapel Hill, North Carolina-based research and consulting firm for the biopharmaceutical and healthcare industries, announces the commencement of a key opinion leader assessment for a top five global pharmaceutical company.

For the assessment, Thought Leader Select will use its proprietary identification methodology to pinpoint 40 Canadian key opinion leaders in oncology, with sub-specialty in the area of skin cancer. The company will study the skills and experience of Canadian oncologists in several areas of thought leadership in the medical field, including areas of expertise, leadership in basic and clinical research, and research publishing in leading scientific journals.

The client company will utilize Thought Leader Select’s research to engage key opinion leaders in oncology on a number of fronts, including advisory boards, consulting, and medical science liaison outreach.

“We are excited about this opportunity to support a great company as they prepare to enter the Canadian market with a new medicine that will improve the lives of patients suffering from skin cancer,” stated Neil Mellor, Thought Leader Select’s global business development consultant.  “Our position in the advancement of this new treatment is critical, since our work ensures that the company will be reaching out to the right physicians during the company’s earliest phase of assisting in the treatment of patients in this disease area.”

About Neil Mellor

Neil Mellor is ... read more »


Thought Leader Select Announces Key Opinion Leader Assessments in Chronic Pain, Colorectal Surgery, and Gastroenterology

February 2, 2012 · Leave a comment

New Press Release from the Offices of Thought Leader Select

February 2, 2012 (Chapel Hill, NC) Thought Leader Select is pleased to announce a pair of key opinion leader (KOL) identification and profiling projects to support the development pipeline of a leading pharmaceutical client focused in the therapeutic area of gastroenterology.

In the first research assessment, Thought Leader Select will identify and profile leading medical experts in the treatment of patients suffering from non-cancer-related chronic pain.  The company will identify the leading pain experts throughout the United States by examining the skills and experiences of physicians in multiple disciplines and specialties, including gastroenterologists, primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants.

For the second research assessment, Thought Leader Select will identify and profile 100 key opinion leaders in colorectal surgery, as well as 125 KOLs in gastroenterology. The cumulative group of 225 physician thought leaders will share vast experience in research and treatment of fecal incontinence.

Thought Leader Select will use its validated, objective deep profiling methodology to assess the skills and experience of the thought leaders chronic pain, colorectal surgery, and gastroenterology in multiple research categories, including their areas of expertise, medical/scientific journal publishing history, and participation in basic and clinical research.  The company’s research group is comprised of subject-matter experts in medicine, with decades of experience working in ... read more »


Reflections on SMi Knowledge Leader Conference

November 4, 2010 · Leave a comment

Neil Mellor, business development consultant at Thought Leader Select, and Paul Meade, the company’s president and founder, attended SMi’s KOL: Knowledge Leader Partnerships conference on September 29 and 30 in London.  Neil sat down with the Thought Leader Select Blog to discuss his takeaways from the conference.

TLS Blog:  Neil, how was the conference in London?

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 »


The Thought Leaders Driving Thought Leader Select: A Blog Series–Paul Meade

June 2, 2010 · Leave a comment

Paul Meade, a 25-year veteran of the pharmaceutical industry, founded Thought Leader Select in 2006. Throughout his career, Paul served in several leadership positions in sales, marketing, and strategic planning, culminating in his role of director of worldwide commercial development for predictive medicine at GlaxoSmithKline.

After leaving GSK, Paul launched two companies, Clear Point Health, in 2005, and Thought Leader Select, in 2006. Paul’s work with these two companies entails marketing planning, consulting for research and development and clinical operations, as well as his breakthrough work with medical expert collaborations for the pharmaceutical industry.

The Thought Leader Select Blog sat down with Paul to discuss his industry experience and his professional contribution to Thought Leader Select.

TLS Blog:  Good afternoon, Paul.  Why did you start Thought Leader Select?

Paul Meade:  About a year before starting the company, I had begun consulting with the health industry with my partner, Lisa Smith, through our company, Clear Point Health.  We were taking on a number of projects, working with medical affairs teams, marketing teams, and research and development groups within the industry.

One of our large clients came to me and told me that, even though they’d been working with thought leaders for over ten years, they realized how little they really knew about them.  When they sat down to consolidate all of their knowledge about their medical ... read more »


Thought Leader Select Finishes Speaker Validation Project for Top-20 US Pharmaceutical Company

May 4, 2010 · Leave a comment

New press release out today from the offices of Thought Leader Select.

5/4/2010 (CHAPEL HILL, NC) Thought Leader Select, a North Carolina-based firm dedicated to delivering superior key opinion leader (KOL) management solutions to the biopharmaceutical industry, announces the completion of large speaker validation project for a top-20 US pharmaceutical company.

The pharmaceutical client contracted Thought Leader Select to validate the skills and experiences of a legion of health care professionals for the company’s speakers bureau.  The firm asked Thought Leader Select to look at over 1,000 specialists, primary care physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other important health care providers across several key dimensions, including:  experience speaking within the medical community, clinical research involvement, publishing history, developing treatment guidelines, and active patient care.

Thought Leader Select’s validation process empowered the client with the knowledge that they were engaging experienced speakers with demonstrated experience in clinical practice, research, and speaking.  The study’s findings also enabled the client company to determine fair market value (FMV) honoraria compensation for these health care providers.

“I thought it was only natural to ask Thought Leader Select to do this validation work for us,” stated the brand director for the client company. “They get so close to the data and have a real understanding of who these key opinion leaders are and why they are so important.  Their methodology is so ... read more »