Expanding the Role of Medical Affairs: A Focus on Omnichannel Execution, Artificial Intelligence, and Health Equality

Written on Thursday 6th April 2023

Through the Partner Circle program, OPEN Health collaborates with the MAPS community year-round on podcasts, whitepapers, workshops, and Focus Area Working Groups (FAWGs) for Patient-centricity and Evidence Generation, positioning us as a leader and partner in the Medical Affairs community. Therefore, it seemed fitting that the theme for the MAPS Global Annual Meeting 2023, Expand the Horizons of Medical Affairs: Unlock Your Potential, was in lockstep with our OPEN Health credo of Unlock Possibilities. Here we summarize three key themes from the conference.

1) Omnichannel execution 

The conference began with a field medical track. Together with Donnie Wooten Jr., Head of Global Field Medical Center of Excellence at Organon, and Kelly Lo, Field Medial Excellence, Global and Japan and Asia Pacific at Amgen, Rosie Humphreys, Senior Director at OPEN Health conducted an engaging workshop titled Optimize your Field Medical Team for the Omnichannel World. Over 180 attendees learned how an omnichannel approach is integral to maximize field medical engagement with HCPs. Workshop participants identified key MSL skills, such as digital literacy, social intelligence, and scientific stewardship, that are needed to effectively drive HCPs through a personalized omnichannel journey. Omnichannel was a hot topic across sessions. Although most organizations are starting to see the benefits of an omnichannel mindset for Medical Affairs, many are still struggling with its execution. Cross-functional collaboration, real-time data visualization and interpretation, and coordination with commercial activities were recurring challenges.

2) Artificial intelligence (AI)

The risks and benefits of ChatGPT and AI were a recurring theme throughout the conference regardless of session topic. Generally, the sentiment was that these technologies should be embraced and maximized, especially for insight generation of large datasets, content development, and eventually, even publications. However, the quality of the output is dependent on the quality of the prompt and data input. Although there are entrepreneurial efforts to customize AI insights for the needs of the pharmaceutical industry, GPT technology has substantial limitations. At present, there are major concerns of this technology associated with accuracy and data security, but with efforts to overcome these limitations, partnered with subject matter expert scrutiny, AI is a tool that will empower advances in Medical Affairs.

3) Health equity 

Finally, woven throughout the presentations, workshops, and discussions was the role of Medical Affairs in promoting health equity and value-based care. Medical Affairs professionals are in prime position to be the conscience of an organization by combating misinformation, finding solutions for treatment gaps, and being the patient voice by promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion through clinical and real-world data generation. Bringing together OPEN Health’s expertise across patient engagement (including plain-language communications), real-world data generation, and user experience (UX), we are well positioned to support our clients in addressing health equity as a growing focus for Medical Affairs.

If you want to know more about how OPEN Health can help you to navigate these emerging trends, please contact us.