This past August, the MSL Society Conference took place in Miami. The event not only introduced us to a new location after years in Las Vegas, but also introduced us to many new faces to meet and hot topics to discuss. As recruiters in the field medical space, we have the privilege of attending the conference every year. As always, especially this year with higher attendance than ever, we had an up-close-and-personal view of just how important this conference is to MSLs, MSL managers, and prospective MSLs.
Going to this conference is great for us as recruiters, since it’s an opportunity each year to finally meet the faces behind the voices that we hear so much over the phone. But we also love attending the educational sessions offered at the conference! As anticipated, the speakers were engaging and presented a variety of relevant topics to us as we all try to master the art of storytelling, relationship building, and venturing into the newer world of AI and DOLs (digital opinion leaders). Here are some of the highlights we took from the conference this year.
Artificial Intelligence was a hot topic this year. In fact, there were multiple speakers at the conference with experience in AI, allowing us to hear some good first-hand intel on what to expect from this technology. For starters, it was emphasized over and over that it’s not going to replace anyone. AI will always need human oversight and won’t ever be fully trustworthy on its own. One speaker told us to “think of it as a literary device” and reminded us it will need humans as its “editors,” so to speak.
In healthcare, data accuracy is too vital to leave strictly to AI and will always need checks and balances; ultimately making it a tool, not anyone’s replacement. Something we learned about was the “hallucination effect” that can occur with AI, creating output that is inaccurate or nonsensical. There are also some interesting questions to keep tabs on: Will AI ever be used as a diagnostic? Will it ever be regulated by the FDA? These are things that we’ll be keeping our eyes on as this field develops further!
The Increasing Use of Omnichannel Communication
We learned a lot about MSLs and their use of omnichannel communication this year. “Omnichannel” is a term we’ve heard a lot in 2023, but MSL teams seem to be all over the spectrum when it comes to how much they use it or how organized they are with it. For example, one of the aspects of omnichannel communication is Social Media Listening (SML), and according to a poll of the audience, 55% of MSLs are using SML to some extent, but 0% reported having any formal training in it. A couple of additional data points we found interesting were that a) 64% of HCPs report wanting an omnichannel experience, but only 7% are getting it and b) 55% of MSLs surveyed have no conversations in place at their company regarding getting an omnichannel process in place.
How MSL Teams Have Fun
One of the most fun sessions to attend was the session on Teambuilding to Improve Culture, by Mark Freebery. It’s one thing to hear about how different MSL teams structure their roles day-to-day, but it’s another thing to hear about how they have fun! From unique Zoom games, to Kahoot! games, to the ways different teams use the Metaverse, it was fun to hear the way everyone keeps it light. My favorite new idea is the virtual sightseeing tours that one MSL said her team does with each other.
A KOL’s Perspective
One of the primary new features of this year’s MSL Society Conference was the addition of the “A Global KOL Reveals What They Really Want From MSLs” session. Sam invited a KOL to give us his personal insight on what is most valuable from MSLs and his thoughts on
Closing it Out on the Right Foot
The MSL Society Conference always wraps up with a charity event, which is a big team project the society puts on. This year, we built teddy bears with the Rescue Bear Charity for children at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. If you have been to the conference before but left before the charity event, we suggest sticking around for it next time!
About the authors:
Lawrence Beck, MS, CPC
Lawrence joined SEMbio in 2011. He attended Texas Tech University on a path that led him to obtain his Master’s degree in Sports Management. However, within a couple of years of working in the sports world, the opportunity to be a recruiter arose and has led to an exciting career with SEMbio. He is also a Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC), which provides continued education on best business practices and standards of ethics in recruiting. He enjoys recruiting Medical Science Liaisons because they are a cerebral, sociable, and professional group of people who are fun to interact with every day.
When he’s not recruiting, Lawrence spends his time engaging in activities such as hockey, softball, and cherishing the moments spent with his family and two dogs.
Tracy Johnson, RPh
Tracy graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Pharmacy. She comes from a long line of pharmacists, and the world of medicine and patient advocacy has been a part of family discussions for as long as she can remember. Tracy has served in a variety of roles in her pharmacy career and finally made her way to join the SEMbio team at the end of 2021. She has a passion for excellence, and she very much understands that the right fit in the right role can unquestionably set a candidate on the pathway to success. She firmly believes that success involves more than just numbers, and it requires matching personalities, positions, and all those subtle characteristics that make each one of us unique.
Tracy loves to travel. She is an avid storyteller and truly enjoys making personal connections with people next door and in faraway places. She loves boating in the summer and watching people ski from a warm lodge in the winter. She is an experienced martial artist and aspires to one-day own land and a few mini donkeys. In the meantime, she will continue to strive for excellence in helping both clients and candidates reach their full potential.