The MSLS COVID-19 survey indicates that MSLs believe that over half of their KOLs would be very or somewhat receptive to virtual interactions. I believe some may be more receptive and curious about virtual interactions due to their familiarity and comfort level with technology. Although, I’m sure all would say meeting face to face would be the preferred method for interactions. As such, on screen MSL engagements were usually a last resort; that is, until now, as our world has shifted, albeit temporarily, to a virtual world as we diligently stay at home during the pandemic. During this unprecedented time, it has been so important to support one another, strengthen relationships and foster human contact, and so we cherish these virtual interactions as a part of our everyday lives.
With that said, as with any KOL interaction, MSLs should continue to follow best practices and their company’s rules of engagement when interacting virtually. As with any meeting, MSLs have an obligation to ensure that the time is well-spent and valuable for their HCPs. Compliance, proper use of approved materials, documentation and follow-up continue to be necessary, as with an in-person interaction. As our customers are juggling a lot between their practice and families, we want to ensure virtual interactions during this time are regarding topics that are timely and beneficial to our HCPs. It’s also important to ensure the technology platform is simple to use and that the MSL feels comfortable and confident in hosting these meetings (hint: practice with a colleague first…).
After the pandemic, I believe that virtual engagement will be a lot more common than before, enabling MSLs to be more efficient, reduce costs and travel, have more touch points with KOLs and facilitate interactions with multiple physicians in different locations with ease. It’ll be important to still balance virtual interactions with in-person meetings as we’ll all be looking forward to being able to meet up with each other again soon, although MSLs should be prepared that clinic and institution access will likely be limited to only staff and patients after the pandemic.