Home Insights Learnings from MAPS Americas 2024

Learnings from MAPS Americas 2024

Although MAPS Americas 2024 may have been set against the backdrop of paradise (San Juan, Puerto Rico), it tackled important topics for Medical Affairs in a new era of precision medicine, rare disease, and AI with calls to action for a function uniquely positioned to usher in the next generation of biopharmaceutical development. Ahead of the conference, MAPS released six pivotal white papers addressing key topics including: Real World Evidence, Health Equity, Health Literacy, Personalized Medicine, Digital Health Technologies, and Adapting to Meet the Needs of a Changing Society. All themes permeated throughout the conference sessions – with a distinct cross-cutting theme of leveraging digital technologies to enable personalized medicine at unprecedented scale and specificity.

Refining use cases for AI in Medical Affairs

Multiple sessions were devoted to the revolutionary potential (and uptake to date) of AI in Medical Affairs. Indeed, even compared to MAPS conferences 1-2 years ago, panel leaders were able to provide more real-life experience with identifying and assessing use cases, building internal consensus within their organizations to adopt/ implement AI, and leveraging third parties to identify opportunities for social listening, training of AI models, and disseminating education on disease incidence, progression, and treatments. Participants and panelists highlighted multiple successful applications of natural language processing (NLP) and generative AI, including:

  • Concise, patient- and provider-targeted generative AI-built content on disease-state education, therapeutic drug class overviews, and trial overviews to aid in diagnosis, treatment, and trial recruitment
  • Analyzing patient advocacy discussion groups to identify sentinel symptoms/ clinical manifestations of underdiagnosed disease, and key barriers to diagnosis and referral to specialist care
  • Leveraging the plethora of wearable data to better understand and track patient functional status in disease progression
  • Holding ‘asynchronous advisory boards’ where KOLs/ providers post questions/ concerns over weeks and months through online discussion groups, and (pharma-sponsored) moderators receive generative AI prompts to summarize and continue the conversation
  • Aggregating medical insights to identify key themes and gaps from multiple data sources (e.g., field interactions, advisory boards, medical information inquiries, social listening) to prioritize and refine medical actions

Despite the expansive potential of AI in Medical Affairs, participants remained concerned about traditional pitfalls, e.g., discovery and onus to report adverse events that may be unearthed through NLP algorithms. Participants reported best outcomes with early and consistent internal governance models (e.g., regular content review cycles with internal Compliance) to ensure adequate training of AI models and generated content for fast deployment.

Surgical precision in omnichannel Medical Affairs engagement

Omnichannel engagement was again a prominent feature of MAPS content this year. Several seasoned veterans of Medical Affairs omnichannel strategy led interactive workshops that emphasized key tenets to develop a successful multifaceted strategy, including:

  • Identification of key stakeholder groups to target through omnichannel strategy (e.g., patients, providers, health system stakeholders) and various archetypes/ personas within each group to target through messaging
  • Deep diligence of most effective sources of information utilized by these key stakeholders (e.g., Medscape, medical society websites, traditional social media channels like LinkedIn, or HCP-specific portals like Doximity)
  • Clear definition of the behavior change/ outcome sought through the campaign (e.g., increased ‘medical share of voice’) by stakeholder group and persona
  • Rigorous definition of KPIs/ metrics of effectiveness (e.g., publication downloads beyond just ‘clicks’ on social media posts following radiation of a practice-changing medical publication)
  • Agile governance of omnichannel strategy and willingness to pivot by focus stakeholder, channel, and/ or message based on interim KPIs/ metrics
Integrated evidence planning and implementation science

Integrated evidence planning (IEP), and the organizational psychology of identifying and addressing barriers to care delivery (“implementation science”), took center stage at MAPS Americas 2024. Implementation science – defined broadly as the study of promoting integration of (and identifying deviation from) evidence-based findings in routine clinical practice – systematically identifies and addresses multifactorial care gaps on uptake of new drugs and devices. Incorporating tenets of implementation science within the IEP process affords Medical Affairs the opportunity to lead early asset development cross-functionally (across R&D, Clinical Development, Commercial, Market Access, and HEOR), by identifying key research, Medical, and pharmacoeconomic evidence gaps underlying the clinical and value narratives of an asset, and leading brand-level efforts across their organizations to address them. Key IEP activities often include comprehensive patient journey and provider workflow mapping to identify and address barriers to care – from patient presentation, diagnosis, treatment choice, treatment cost coverage, and adherence.

At MAPS, discussions focused on how to best incorporate implementation science thinking and methods into the IEP process. Relevant across the asset lifecycle, implementation science builds off a robust evidence base to identify and address HCP and patient unmet needs and adoption barriers that guide – or impede – uptake of new interventions in often inertial treatment pathways (e.g., congestive heart failure or pneumonia, where incumbent generics have long held primacy at first line). As organizations continue to optimize the IEP process, a comprehensive understanding of relevant stakeholders, and a clear sense of what evidence can meaningfully change behavior to improve patient outcomes, is critical.

For more on Medical Affairs at Putnam, an Inizio Advisory company, click here.