Recent conferences and literature on effective key opinion leader engagement show that identifying and engaging thought leaders is only getting tougher. Federal and state regulations of payments made to KOLs by pharmaceutical companies (Sunshine Act) and institutional restrictions of industry-related KOL activities reinforce the importance of identifying and engaging KOLs through objective means.
Older, subjective measures for selecting KOLs, such as prescribing habits or level of influence with other physicians, leave biopharmaceutical companies open to continued scrutiny and the possibility for legal action. These methods, like social network analysis (SNA), often lack the detail that industry decision-makers need to select the right KOLs for various types of engagement. Furthermore, it is also true that some objective means of identifying and selecting KOLs have their own limitations. Tracking conference involvement and publications alone is not enough to ensure you have found the top thought leaders in a given medical specialty.
Thought Leader Select has developed a methodology that uniquely provides biopharmaceutical decision-makers with the comfort that they’re identifying and selecting KOLs for the “right reasons”. Our “deep profiling” methodology tracks KOL activities across more than a dozen different areas and provides detailed participation data in a searchable framework that enables clients to select thought leaders in more sophisticated ways. Combining “deep profiling” with Thought Leader Select’s Professional Impact Network (PIN) enables decision makers to determine a map of KOL inter-relationships based on connected interactions, such as treatment guideline development and editorial board service.
In a recent TLS Blog post, Paul Meade discusses the importance of “finding the right thought leader with the right expertise at the right time.” Companies that employ more robust, objective methods for engaging thought leaders are able to do just that – and they show a determination to work with KOLs who have demonstrated expertise, not just close relationships with other health care professionals or with industry itself. When biopharmaceutical companies seek advice and counsel from KOLs with proven track records of thought leadership, they build respect in the medical community, among patients and with the public at large.