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HCPs are collaborating in open and closed online networks and through their conversation develop and influence opinions in these forums. These digital spaces can also be a place for you to gather intelligence, and to influence opinion.

At CREATION.co, one thing that our clients consistently tell us is that when they finally arrive at product launch, the level of activity skyrockets, and rollout can become quite frantic. So developing an understanding of your customers as early as possible will help you to pre-empt and even mitigate that.

There are three phases when thinking about effectively bringing your product to market  – pre-launch, launch year, and post-launch. This journey will take place over a number of years. The very beginning of a product’s lifecycle is arguably the most critical for your product and the area where the greatest opportunity for success usually sits.

To learn more, read our article about Pre-launch planning & DSLs – the new ways to create launch excellence in Pharma

CREATION.co can now identify where misinformation is being spread and pinpoint information gaps. Thanks to a unique global database of online HCPs combined with advanced analytics techniques, we have developed a five-step methodology to rapidly identify misinformation associated with any product or therapy area of your choice, as well as areas where information is lacking.

For more information visit our Fake news Detection page.

At CREATION.co, we can use online research to support safety signal detection and evaluation. Social media provides us with the resources required to gain drug safety profile insight, inform product decisions, and improve patient safety and experiences. We use the latest advancements in social media analysis to quickly identify safety signals relating to your product(s) and evaluate the associated context.

For more information visit our Drug Safety Monitoring page.

DOLs are already regulated, in the sense that their behaviour as professionals is governed by their respective professional bodies. In the UK, for example, the General Medical Council (GMC), which governs medical doctors, has provided guidance for doctors on their use of social media since 2013. While controversial among some doctors, the guidance forbids doctors from anonymity on social media.

Furthermore, and relevant to the role of DOLs, the GMC guidance requires doctors to declare any commercial or financial interests in pharmaceutical companies: “When you post material online, you should be open about any conflict of interest and declare any financial or commercial interests in healthcare organisations or pharmaceutical and biomedical companies.”

 

We have been helping pharmaceutical companies with their HCP engagement strategies for the past 20 years. Based on our experience and expertise, here are our top 3 ideas on how to best engage with your HCP Digital Opinion Leaders:

  1. Run a training course specifically for your HCP DOLs to educate them in an area they may be expressing a lack of certainty about. They could then be empowered to share the learnings with their followers.
  2. Provide educational resources published in their preferred format which they would be able to easily digest and repurpose.
  3. Be where your HCP DOL customers are by finding out which congresses they are attending, which sites they are using, and which social media platforms they are on. That way you can focus your outreach to them in the right place.

 

For the rest of our list, click here. Link to: 14 WAYS PHARMA CAN ENGAGE HCP DIGITAL OPINION LEADERS

Once you have identified your Digital Opinion Leaders, you need to consider how to engage effectively with them. However, before you start thinking about identifying DOLs, you need to put this into context with your long-term goals and think about what would make a Digital Opinion Leader for you. You need to consider:

  • Do you want someone who is leading the patient or peer community? 
  • Do you want DOLs with a global following or who are more influential locally? 
  • Do you want an opinion leader who is vocal about certain topics? 
  • Does it matter to you the role type they are in or is it just important that they are leading your community? 
  • Do they have the same values as you?

If you start by answering these, and other strategic DOL questions, you will have a much clearer picture of what a perfect DOL would look like for your business. 

Remember, there is no single set of metrics that defines DOL impact. Individual pharma companies should design goals that reflect outcomes aligned with their business objectives. As well as ensuring those objectives also align with the goals of the DOL and, in some cases, the patient community.

At CREATION.co, we spend time ensuring those objectives have been discussed and with a pre-qualified database of nearly 3 million global HCP social media profiles, we can adjust our metrics to ensure the DOLs we identify are the right ones to support your goals.

At CREATION.co, we’ve led the way in using data science to identify and profile healthcare professional Digital Opinion Leaders since we first introduced the concept in 2012.

Deciding how to identify, profile and engage DOLs is a process as unique as your own goals. So we work with you to define what’s most important in your particular DOL identification and profiling exercise.

Below is an illustration of 10 of our metrics to identify your DOLs. 

10 ways to identify DOLs

  1. Do they post about relevant content?
  2. Do they have an HCP or public following?
  3. Are they trusted among online HCP peers?
  4. Are they active in the online conversation?
  5. Do they have a public influence?
  6. Do they have a social media presence?
  7. Are they in an existing relationship with you?
  8. Are they engaged in the online scientific community?
  9. Is their online influence local or global?
  10. Do they support other health communities or patient groups?

To learn more visit our Digital Opinion Leader Mapping page

DOLs suitable for marketing or commercial teams might look different to those suitable for the medical teams. CREATION.co have therefore identified a subset of Digital Opinion Leaders – Digital Scientific Leaders (DSLs). DSLs are HCPs who possess all the qualities of a DOL but have a specific focus and influence in the scientific conversation within the therapy area. 

 

DSLs are driving the discussion around latest study and trial data, testing and diagnosis, and mechanism of action of treatments. In other words, they have a natural inclination to lead and shape the scientific dialogue amongst their peers online. They usually have higher scientific credentials and use their media for peer learning, education, and collaboration.

 

To learn more, read our article about Medical Affairs: best practice for identifying online HCP thought leaders

DOL stands for Digital Opinion Leader, a term coined by CREATION.co in 2012, and are healthcare professionals (HCPs) that have an online influence within their area of expertise.