Transforming the impact of COVID-19 in scientific engagements

The COVID-19 pandemic affected the way we live and work. It also has a direct effect on the way that Medical Science Liaisons (MSLs) engage, due to social distancing rules.

It affected how MSLs engage with stakeholders

A global top biopharmaceutical company was experiencing difficulties in their Medical external engagements. Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) and Healthcare Providers (HCPs) in Japan and Asia-Pacific (JAPAC) were avoiding virtual meetings since these were not perceived as efficient or relevant during the pandemic. Therefore, the number of scientific engagements decreased, limiting the discussions around optimal patient treatment.

Our client realized the need to revert the situation and the urgency to start a Medical capability building program. Vintura has been asked to enable medical science liaison (MSL’s)  to continuously build rapport using a multi-channel approach.

Capabilities building focusing on learning on the job

We co-created a practical, hands-on training curriculum focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on external engagements. Practical exercises stressed the importance of continuously engaging external stakeholders on a virtual basis.

Practical exercises, including virtual role-plays with on-the job-coaching, enabled MSLs to understand how different capabilities affect the effectiveness of their engagement. During the workshop, MSLs learned how well one can build rapport applying a multi-channel approach based on stakeholders’ preferences.

The capabilities building program has also been a platform to identify and collect best practices:

  • Adapt your communication to the preference of the stakeholders
  • Use multi-channel engagement techniques to avoid virtual meeting fatigue
  • Create interest by addressing the right unmet needs

Prepared and confident MSLs engaging virtually

After the training, MSLs felt confident and prepared to clarify the advantages of multi-channel engagements to stakeholders. This enabled them to continuously gain rapport. MSLs are now able to adapt their engagement to stakeholders’ preferences, maximizing the impact of their external meetings.

Scientific engagements can persist virtually, with the same goals as face-to-face interactions without decreasing its impact or effectiveness.

As a matter of fact, the Medical organization is considering keeping these new ways of interacting even after the physical distancing regulations are banned. It is not only more efficient but also preferred by some stakeholders.

“Very effective and responsible team with customized contents. Very useful materials developed and interactive practices designed.”

My bicultural background (Brazilian-German) gave me the ability to easily understand different ways of thinking and to approach challenges on a different manner.