Here Are the Top 3 Takeaways We Got from the 10th Annual MSL Society Conference
Heather, Crecia and I had an awesome time at the conference. We loved getting to meet up with old friends and make some new friends. Every session we attended was informational and interactive, and I’m excited to share what our top 3 takeaways were:
SHIFTING FOCUS FOR KOL INTERACTIONS
A big theme being discussed throughout the conference was who are the best KOLs to be targeting, and where to find them?
You might think the excitement in being an MSL is getting to meet with those top-tier, high level KOLs. It seems like we’re seeing quite the shift though, especially this past year. There were a lot of conversations around the benefits of targeting more of the community-level KOLs. Especially putting more focus on the rising stars, and Digital Opinion Leaders (DOLs). For example, we discussed finding KOLs on Twitter, and using add-ons like TweetDeck to help with your searches and engagements.
This also brought even more conversation around what true insights are. How do you measure those digital interactions? Do we think companies will need to reconsider how strict the guidelines are around MSL and KOL interactions on a digital level? These are all some great questions being asked around this topic.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
This was a theme that we welcomed and were excited to see highlighted so much throughout this conference. When we broke down the different areas of diversity and inclusivity, we realized that there’s still work to be done.
We had some great sessions that highlighted diversity, equity, and inclusion with our colleagues. We discussed how so many companies have employee led groups to make sure that everyone is getting their own personal needs met, and everyone is included as a team. Some examples were making sure slide decks are colored and formatted appropriately for those that are color blind. Asking employees what their best learning style is prior to a training or meeting. Having subtitles on meetings, or videos for those that are hard of hearing, or retain information better by reading.
We also discussed diversity, equity, and inclusion on a larger scale. This conversation focused more on the patients. We went over how we can do better to make sure they’re included, informed, and feel cared for, on an individual level. This starts with enrolling more diverse patients in clinical trials. This also includes educating patients more on medications or diseases that are more prevalent in one community or another, and what the best treatment option is depending.
MSL FUNCTIONS THEN, NOW, AND IN THE FUTURE
A lot of the conversations around the functions of a Medical Science Liaison can be divided in two parts. Pre-COVID and post-COVID MSLs. During the conference there were a lot of discussions around how MSLs have changed these past few years, and what we can expect for the future. Here’s some of the main takeaways we saw:
- Since COVID, KOL interactions have shifted to a mix of virtual and in-person. It will likely be staying that way. This brings the question, will companies have to revise their metrics? How should we be measuring these virtual meetings versus live interactions?
- In the past few years, MSLs have taken on a lot more responsibilities (more projects, leads, working more with in-house medical affairs, etc.). Since MSLs can be home more now than ever, they’re able to take on work that isn’t “traditionally” what an MSL would cover. Will this continue? As MSLs are moving back into the field more, will they still be responsible for taking on all this additional work?
- On that same topic, will MSLs start to be compensated more for the additional work from home that they’re taking on, or will we start to see more elevated titles to reflect the additional responsibilities they have been given since COVID?
- By 2025, Gen X will account for 45% of the workforce and 45% will be Millennials. How do we think the functions of an MSL will look like? What differences do you think we’ll see in interactions as we start to see this shift?
This was such an awesome, well-rounded meeting and we still find ourselves talking about how much we learned and took away from the sessions there. We want to thank Sam Dyer and the MSL Society for having us, and we look forward to attending MANY more of these conferences in the future.
If you were in attendance, we’d love to hear what your biggest takeaways were! Feel free to leave those in our comments.