09.06.2022 | Health Strategy

Medical Affairs: Now is the time to join your pharma peers in considering digital and social media

By Victoria Donougher

An increasing number of medical teams are recognising the significance of social media for capturing insights directly from customers and for communicating treatment value. Using CREATION.co’s highly specialised expertise, medical teams can learn from the digital therapy area landscape and identify the most influential online healthcare professionals (HCPs) for future collaborations, education and building advocacy.

However, despite medical teams being excited to incorporate HCP digital insights and HCP Digital Opinion Leader (DOL) engagement into their strategy, we are still seeing many teams struggling with where to start and how to plan properly to have the best effect.

Here are four ways in which you could get started:

1. Map the online influence of your Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)

Many Digital Opinion Leaders (DOLs) have become the new KOLs. Successfully identifying your KOLs and leveraging their online influence are key to enriching and informing your overall strategy. With the help of our powerful online HCP profiling and listening technology, we can map your KOLs’ online influence to provide understanding of where they fit within the therapy area dialogue.

From our experience a three-step process is needed for medical affairs teams to begin the journey of building relationships with your DOLs, you can discover what these are in more detail in our article Medical affairs: best practice for identifying online HCP thought leaders

2. Identify the Digital Scientific Leaders influencing the scientific conversation online

Digital Scientific Leaders (DSLs) (a subset of DOLs) have a natural inclination to lead and shape the scientific dialogue amongst their peers online, and may be more relevant to medical teams vs marketing or commercial teams. CREATION.co can support you by identifying and profiling influential HCPs relevant to you, with specific end goals and contexts in mind.

A key area where DSLs are having an impact online is around drug launches, and we have seen that knowing your DSLs and understanding their opinions will support your launch strategies, especially in the early pre-launch phase. We discuss this and more in our article: Pre-launch planning & DSLs – the new ways to create launch excellence in Pharma

3. Understand the context of your DOLs’ influence for successful engagement

CREATION.co are experts at understanding the digital landscape and therapy area environment. The environment within which your DOLs operate can provide valuable insight into their needs and allow for successful engagement, both with your DOLs themselves and with your customers through their online influence.

4. Make a plan on how you will build relationships

Building relationships takes time, is based on common interests, and requires value-add right from the start. Leverage our extensive experience to build strong relationships with your customers, whether they are KOLs, DOLs or DSLs.

When engaging it is important to always consider the HCP’s perspective and understand your DOLs’ digital perspectives. We share more on this in the article: Add value to engage effectively with your Digital Opinion Leaders

At CREATION.co, we have been working with clients in healthcare and specifically large pharmaceuticals on their HCP engagement activities for over a decade – in fact, we were the first to introduce the term ‘Digital Opinion Leader’ to the industry, in 2012. During that time, we have worked with many clients and on many projects that are at all stages of the HCP understanding and engagement journey.

If you would like to know more about how HCP digital insights and HCP Digital Opinion Leader (DOL) engagement, can be used within Medical Affairs, please join us for our webinar: Medical Affairs: The New Digital Normal for HCP Relationships

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Meet the Author

Victoria Donougher

Victoria leads a team focused on sales and through-the-line marketing. She has a wealth of experience in strategic and digital marketing for global businesses and likes to focus on creating long-lasting client relationships through clear communication.

Outside of CREATION.co, she helps with her family’s wine appreciation business which, for her, is the perfect combination of family time and trying new wines.