Earlier this month I presented a session at KOL & MSL Best Practice conference in Basel, Switzerland. The conference focused on pharmaceutical companies’ work with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) and the role of Medical Science Liaisons, and I had been invited to speak on how new channels like the Internet, social media and mobile are changing the KOL environment.

In my session I introduced the concept of ‘Digital Opinion Leaders’ for pharma, arguing that in today’s digital environment there are two key concepts that affect the potential role of opinion leaders for pharma:

  1. In the digital world, pharma’s stakeholders are influenced by a surprising range of individuals who might not previously have been considered ‘Opinion Leaders’
  2. In identifying those healthcare professionals who influence their peers, the role of digital engagement is an increasingly important aspect of their influence

These concepts should not yet detract from ‘traditional’ KOL activity but provide an added dimension to pharmaceutical companies’ engagement planning.

I presented Creation Healthcare’s method of activating Digital Opinion Leaders in three steps: Identify  Engage  Activate. At first glance, this looks much like the model used in traditional KOL activity. The difference in the digital world, I illustrated, is that each of these steps requires a paradigm shift in order to be effective.

I have published four articles based upon what I presented in Basel, with more in-depth discussion and recommendations for those in pharmaceutical companies who wish to activate advocates in the digital era. You can read these articles below, or download the complete guide as an eBook, Activating Digital Opinion Leaders.

The New Healthcare Engagement Environment

Healthcare Professionals in the Digital Era

Defining Digital Opinion Leaders

Activating Digital Opinion Leaders