At this year’s sold-out Medical Affairs Professional Society (MAPS) Annual Meeting in Nashville, the evolution of Medical Affairs as a pivotal strategic leader at the intersection of clinical development and commercial was evident. Looking forward, the MAPS 2030 vision for Medical Affairs is to be a strategic leader at the center of clinical development and commercialization efforts, identifying and addressing unmet patient, payer, policymaker, and provider needs that advance clinical practice and improve patient outcomes. Key elements to achieve this vision were highlighted in the workshops and presentations.
Expanding stakeholders and cross-functional collaboration
Medical Affairs is expanding its external stakeholders to include payers, government groups, and patient organizations. As a result, sales reps, market access, and field medical are sharing qualitative (55%) and quantitative (34%) information to best support their HCP interactions. Calling on organized customers or rare disease and gene therapy centers of excellence requires a team approach. A single point of contact, account or HCP concierge, can orchestrate the right resources while minimizing the touchpoints and confusion for HCPs. Individuals involved in organized customer joint meetings need to know each other’s roles and who will take the lead based on the customer questions.
Increasing importance of RWE and integrated medical evidence
MAPS vision for 2030 includes “Medical Affairs’ use of RWE will not only guide the use of emerging treatments but will inform regulatory discussions including label expansion.” More than 60% of Medical Affairs leaders believe the demand for more complex evidence creation is a key driver impacting their organization. The ability to analyze complex RWD/RWE and customize it for multiple stakeholders is creating the need to add individuals with new competencies like epidemiology, public health, and HEOR. Some organizations are moving HEOR and RWE within Medical Affairs to increase expertise and organizational efficiencies. Applying a multidisciplinary approach with proven frameworks can optimize integrated medical evidence plans by ensuring country-specific data gaps and requirements across the organization are identified and addressed.
Building omnichannel capabilities is a top initiative
Medical Affairs leaders have embraced building omnichannel capabilities to deliver a personalized and contextualized experience for HCPs. Best practices include conducting segmentation research, surveys, and ad boards to identify and understand HCP persona preferences. Omnichannel cross functional coordination optimizes the HCP experience. Some organizations are creating forums with compliance to share aggregated HCP channel preference data between Commercial and Medical Affairs. Most organizations are implementing or planning to implement a full or partial repository of medical interactions including MSL visits, medical information, advisory boards, and data from digital channels. A few organizations are building omnichannel capabilities at the enterprise level with a combined data lake and CRM with a fit-for-purpose customization for Medical Affairs.
Identifying applications for AI
A hot topic at MAPS was leveraging the transformative potential of ChatGPT. Several pilots are underway in Medical Affairs including managing insights, identifying next best actions, creating generative insights or Twitter posts based on publications, developing plain language summaries, customizing content for the HCP omnichannel journey, autogenerating content that is fit-for-purpose for each country, providing a first pass review of content before a medical review, and triaging queries for medical information, AE, and product quality. While there are concerns about accuracy, data security, hallucinations, and the inability to cite sources, Medical Affairs leaders are putting guardrails in place and leveraging the advantages of enterprise GPT. An enterprise GPT API license allows higher token limits, the option to store company data, the ability to use reinforcement learning or targeted models to train them on organizational data for specific outputs, and OpenAI does not use enterprise user data for training. GPT-4 is the latest version available (with an API waitlist) offering a higher level of reasoning, fewer mistakes, and the ability to take longer input including thousands of words. There are other AI base models which can be customized for organizational data including Davinci, Curie, Babbage, and Ada.
What Medical Affairs Leaders can do to prepare for MAPS 2030 Vision
Medical Affairs leaders can plan for the evolving role of Medical Affairs by considering the appropriate field medical affairs structure to support rare and gene therapy centers of excellence and organized customers, ensure individuals with the right competencies to analyze RWD/RWE are in place, develop multidisciplinary-informed integrated medical evidence plans based on proven frameworks, build medical interaction repositories and conduct HCP persona channel preference primary research to optimize omnichannel efforts, and use a risk assessment to consider where to pilot AI within Medical Affairs. Putnam has experience in all facets of Medical Affairs strategy and implementation closely aligned with MAPS 2030 vision.
- Optimize Your Field Medical Team for the Omnichannel World. Medical Affairs Professional Society Annual Meeting March 26, 2023.
- Hot Topic: How ChatGPT Will Disrupt Medical Affairs. Medical Affairs Professional Society Annual Meeting March 27, 2023.
- Hot Topic: The Future of Medical Affairs 2030. Medical Affairs Professional Society Annual Meeting March 27, 2023.
- Navigating the “Gray” of Medical and Commercial Interactions. Medical Affairs Professional Society Annual Meeting March 28, 2023.
- Integrated Evidence Plans vs Integrated Evidence Reality: Closing the Gap. Medical Affairs Professional Society Annual Meeting March 29, 2023.
- Benchmark Study of Medical Affairs Leaders on Industry Drivers, Areas for Investments Including Digital, and Measuring Effectiveness. Medical Affairs Professional Society Annual Meeting March 29, 2023.