PharmExec Blog

The KOL Database Kingdom

Tracking interactions with KOLs can be a daunting task if you don’t have the right systems in place. Similar to the children’s mythology-themed boardgame, “Key to the Kingdom,” the odds of mastering it at first try are slim—but over time, you learn from mistakes, become familiar with the rules, and ultimately succeed.

Michael Schaffer, senior district manager, virology, at Abbott admitted a few “I wish we did that the first time around” actions with his company’s integrated, Web-based application for internally tracking KOLs.

Here are a few ways to hit (not miss) when assessing opinion leader utilization and outcomes:

— Decide what a KOL is to your organization. Schaffer says that clearly defining these terms up front will improve your success. Clinical, marketing, and legal/ethics departments should be included in the discussion. “Sales and clinical teams have very different definitions of a KOL,” he said, while reinforcing that KOL data should be completely separated from sales.

— Peer influence mapping, although intricate and expensive, is vital to understanding how peer influence impacts a provider and his/her connections. You always want to make sure this information is current or else “you might as well throw out your KOL database,” says Schaffer.

— Who’s in your sandbox? Recognize the key players or departments involved and ensure that proper training occurs. You wouldn’t want something to be recorded in a way that would “look bad if subpoenaed,” Schaffer said. The Golden Rule at Abbott remains: “How would you feel if our database was exposed on the nightly news?”

With better understanding of KOL outcomes through interactions with their respective industry counterparts, pharmas can avoid underutilizing key information that is vital to their organizations.

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