Innovation in F2F HCP Engagement and Patient Centricity – A Roundup From MAPS 2023 EMEA Annual Meeting (Part 2)

Written on Monday 12th June 2023

This follows on from Part 1 of our roundup from the MAPS 2023 EMEA Annual Meeting, where discussions explored “Expanding the Horizons of Medical Affairs.” The OPEN Health team participated in the conference, leading four workshops in partnership with key members of the medical affairs community, garnering valuable insights from hot topics that were discussed.

Topics discussed during the conference sessions included patient centricity, artificial intelligence, real-world evidence, omnichannel, cross-functional collaboration, and more. Here in this final part, our experts summarize their key findings – focusing on F2F HCP engagement, as well as patient centricity which was a common theme that permeated many sessions.

Inspirational and innovative standalones – doing face-to-face right, by Emma Winter, OPEN Health SVP Medical and Scientific Services

Emma Winter, SVP Medical and Scientific Services, co-led a session titled “Inspirational and innovative standalones – doing face to face right,” which focused on maximizing the value of face-to-face (F2F) HCP meetings within an omnichannel engagement strategy. In this interactive session with a high level of audience participation, it was suggested that the COVID-19 pandemic not only disrupted HCP communication channels with the sudden removal of F2F contact, but also acted as an enabler, opening up new channels and forcing us to consider how we could optimize them to continue communicating effectively.

Data showing how behaviors and preferences have changed over the course of the pandemic led to a debate on the relative benefits and drawbacks of F2F versus virtual engagement, plus the value of implementing a hybrid format, such as hub and spoke meetings, or a combination of virtual and F2F engagement activities within an engagement continuum. A European standalone meeting case study framed a discussion on how learnings from virtual meetings during the pandemic can impact the F2F meeting format, including how we need to align our approach to our overall objectives to achieve the best outcome.

Finally, challenges faced in convincing senior management to invest in F2F meetings were explored and included the increased focus on ensuring return on investment and managing factors such as carbon footprint. Key benefits to emphasize included the increased information retention and networking opportunities that F2F engagement offers. Feedback was that the session did “more than it said on the tin,” as we explored not only the implementation of effective F2F standalone meetings, but also the wider HCP engagement continuum and how this is evolving.

Patient centricity, by Gavin Jones, OPEN Health Global Lead, Patient Centricity

It was fantastic to see and be part of so many workshops on the topic of patient centricity in medical affairs. The sessions, most of which included a patient advocate as part of the speaker faculty, focused on three key areas:

  • How to gather and act on insights
  • How to improve patient experience and outcomes
  • How to engage patients effectively across the product life cycle

Regarding insights, there were clear messages on the need to coordinate the collection of data and information across internal functions to make insight generation comprehensive and effective. There is clearly a lot of information collected, but is it fully utilized in a systematic fashion that provides the most value to the organization? Given that medical affairs personnel navigate across many pharmaceutical functions, they could be the glue to support this.

Once patient insights are fully understood, then they must be acted upon to improve patient experiences and outcomes. In terms of the role of medical affairs, the guidance centered around truly understanding the full patient journey and collaborating with physicians and patient communities to remove barriers to better outcomes. This was a pertinent topic in the session ‘Effective Paediatric Patient Engagement – No Small Feat!’ facilitated by Dr Sumira Riaz, OPEN Health Patient Engagement Lead and Health Psychologist. Overcoming barriers to adolescent engagement and navigating the transition from the paediatric to the adult clinical setting is a common challenge. Developing cohesive, tailored education for both stakeholder groups will enable better consultations and improve shared decision-making.

Engagement and collaboration with patient communities will have to increase significantly to achieve the above; therefore, it was most welcome that the MAPS Patient Centricity Focus Area Working Group, of which Karen King, EVP, Medical and Scientific Services at OPEN Health is part of, led a workshop on ‘The Role of Medical Affairs in Establishing True Patient Engagement Across the Drug Development Lifecyle’. Key takeaways from this session were to engage compliance colleagues very early, understand the patient expertise required to undertake individual tasks, and have a fair market value mechanism in place to recognize the value patient advocates are providing to your organization.

Medical affairs is clearly on an exciting journey of leadership and innovation. OPEN Health leverages our scientific acumen and multidisciplinary expertise to:

  • Partner with medical affairs teams to generate actionable insights and data, leveraging these in integrated strategic plans
  • Create personalized, evidence-based communications for healthcare professionals, payers, and patients
  • Be at the forefront of the evolving medical affairs environment, unlocking unique approaches to maximize clinical, societal, and economic value

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