A lot has been written about the evolving role of (Field) Medical Affairs and the imperative to measure and benchmark Medical activities as a result of the increasing importance, visibility, and allocated budgets.
One of the possible KPIs that often comes up in the discussion is Scientific Share of Voice (SSoV) which basically means comparing (primarily) publications in journals and presentations at medical meetings/conferences on your own product (or therapy area/indication) with the activities of relevant competitors in a quantitative way.
As a starting point for this article, I have conducted a little poll in my Medical Affairs network about the current and intended future use of SSoV. The results were pretty ambiguous, some companies use SSoV analysis, some consider introducing it and some don’t for different reasons. One respondent for example expressed concerns with regards to a consistent methodology and another Medical Affairs Executive told me that in his company linking Medical Affairs activities to any kind of measurable output/ROI is considered as “commercial intent” and therefore not compliant. Going through all of the responses I have the impression that:
- There is still a large unmet need to somehow quantify the effect of successful Medical Affairs work
- It also very much depends on company culture how this need is being addressed
SSoV in the narrow sense as a measure for a company’s ability to translate scientific evidence into publicly available medical information can play a role here and I would like to come back to and focus on the methodology discussion. Yes, it is pretty tricky to define the right basis for the analysis to not end up comparing apples with oranges but the following ideas can help develop an objective and relatively “noise-free” methodology framework.
Being as specific and narrow as possible in the definition of the data sources, types of activities, and competitor universe is the foundation for meaningful output, particularly in a post-launch situation where the entire community of practice has access to the product in scope and can create and disseminate scientific content.
The following illustration can serve as initial guidance:
The two dimensions are “Not/Context-relevant” and “Not/In target channels”.
“Context-relevant” means that the captured and analyzed data points (journal publications or medical congress presentations mentioning the company and/or competitor compound/s) are related to the defined scientific dissemination strategy. An example not necessarily context-related could be a research pipeline overview article for a specific indication covering the company/competitor drugs.
“In target channels” means that the data point is found in a defined journal or conference that is reaching the specific target group. An example for not in target channels could be a primary care conference with a presentation mentioning a CNS drug that is typically not prescribed by GPs.
If you want to go beyond quantitative SSoV analytics you can use the data to also look at your competitors’ communication strategy over time answering questions like:
- How has the messaging changed over time (e.g. efficacy pre-launch to safety post-launch)?
- What was the geographic communication strategy (e.g. which role did international/regional vs. national channels play)?
- Which were the conferences and journals (e.g. large vs. smaller conferences)?
Although only retrospective by default, applied properly, SSoV can generate interesting insights into your competitors’ scientific dissemination strategy and help you plan your own activities fact-based.
And most importantly: only a transparent and thorough methodology ensures reliable results and buy-in from all relevant stakeholders working with SSoV analytics.
Marcus Bergler, MSc
Marcus Bergler is a globally recognized thought leader in KOL Identification, Profiling, and Network Mapping.
Before joining D2L Pharma Research Solutions as Global Vice President of Sales and Strategy in November 2017 he served as General Manager Europe for Veeva’s KOL business unit (now Veeva Link) after Veeva’s acquisition of Qforma’s/Mederi’s Global KOL business in 2014 where he was also responsible for the EU KOL and Targeting business. Prior to joining Qforma in August 2013, he was VP Sales and Marketing at Cegedim Customer Information (CCI) providing nomination-based KOL Identification and Network Mapping to major life sciences customers.
Before he accepted the CCI assignment in March 2010, Marcus held positions as Consulting Principal and Sales Team Leader at IMS Health, Germany. From January 2003 until December 2006 Marcus was responsible for the business development of Rogers Medical Intelligence Solutions, New York (now Pharmaspectra) in the German market and for selected headquarter clients, providing innovative competitive intelligence and medical education services to pharmaceutical companies.
Prior to that Marcus gained consulting experience of 10 years in the healthcare/pharmaceutical industry. Marcus holds a degree in Economics from Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich.