Three Takeaways from Defining and Measuring the Value Drivers for Medical Affairs

Following on from MAPS’ recent Defining and Measuring the Value Drivers for Medical Affairs webinar co-presented by Peter Piliero, VP, Field & Scientific Affairs at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and Thérèse McCall, Vice President Medical Affairs at Assertio Therapeutic, we thought it would be useful to summarize the webinar into three key takeaways:

Articulating the impact (value) of MA has been and remains a common challenge

Historically, MA organizations have tracked and reported on activities rather than actual impact. However, as MA evolves from a support function to a strategic partner for both R&D and Commercial functions and each function competes for resources, it is critical that MA is able to articulate the actual value that it delivers. The value of MA starts with the development of a focused and prioritized Medical Affairs Plan (MAP).

This is the key strategic contribution that MA brings to the table centered on representing the voice of clinicians and patients based on the unique and broad scientific exchange our teams engage in. But the MAP can’t be formed in a vacuum - it must be aligned with the broader strategic imperatives for the product. Execution of the MA strategic objectives by the various MA functional groups whether individually or in partnership with each other will allow impact to be demonstrated.

Understanding the difference between outcome- and goal-based metrics

The challenge for MA is that there aren’t a standard set of measurements and we want to get away from solely reporting quantitative metrics because they don’t necessarily demonstrate impact. Outcomes-based metrics tend to be broad and difficult to define with many cross-functional stakeholders contributing to these outcomes. Metrics related to activities are easier to measure and ideally groups of goal-based metrics should be aligned to a given outcomes-based metric.

Metrics must tie back to the strategic objectives defined in the MAP and can be further categorized into quantitative and qualitative objectives. Qualitative objectives are most commonly associated with changes in perceptions and are the most challenging to define. To be able to demonstrate and more clearly articulate the value of MA it is imperative to shift the balance from quantitative to qualitative metrics. Qualitative metrics include internal and external customer feedback, insights captured from investigators, advisors, patients and other external stakeholders that may inform medical strategy, clinical development or other internal functions. Sentiment analysis for alt metrics and benchmarking to other companies are also qualitative metrics that can be employed.

For Field-Based Medical, there has been a big push in recent years to develop qualitative measures such as actionable insights, situation - action - impact narratives, scientific leader feedback and execution of Field Medical Plan. It’s important to validate and align on metrics with internal stakeholders and partners before finalizing them to determine if they are meaningful to the organization.

Tracking & Assessing the Aligned-Upon Metrics is Essential

It ensures a systematic assessment of whether or not each functional group is on track to achieve their aspects of the MAP. MA dashboards are becoming more common across the industry as they provide a central location for tracking the planned tactics and the identified metrics, and for collecting the data to do metrics analytics.