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5 Practical Tips to Deliver Medical Education Programs Successfully
How do you deliver impactful medical education? Hear from industry experts how to design medical education programs successfully for today’s healthcare professionals, in our latest podcast episode, sponsored by Wiley.
Garth Sundem 00:01
Welcome to this episode of the Medical Affairs Professional Society podcast series: “Elevate”. I’m your host Garth Sundem, Communications Director of MAPS, and today we’re talking about how to best deliver medical education programs. Joining us are Bart Lukowski, Immunology Medical lead at UCB, Japan, Kevin Lim, who oversees medical excellence for the largest region for Novartis, and Angie List, Corporate Solutions Director for Asia Pacific at Wiley. So, Angie, medical education, like many things is changing rapidly. Some things are becoming easier, some things are becoming harder, a lot of things that maybe are becoming harder. So what are the challenges in delivering medical education programs?
Angie List 00:53
Thanks, Garth. Look, I really appreciate the opportunity to discuss this today it is a very important topic. Let me share a little bit about the current landscape in relation to delivering impactful medical education initiatives. Perfect health care professionals are under an increasing burden to stay current with the latest medical knowledge. However, medical and scientific knowledge is expanding faster than our ability to assimilate and apply it effectively. The time it takes for medical knowledge to double went from 50 years back in 1950, to an estimated every two to three months by 2020. And at that trajectory, we can expect medical information to double every couple of weeks, which is quite astounding, when you think about it. What was learned in the first years of medical school will be a tiny percentage of what is known by the time of graduation, then healthcare professionals are expected to continue to maintain current knowledge at the known rate of knowledge expansion. This means a medical specialist would need to read for 21 hours a day straight has to stay current in their own field. It’s quite, quite terrifying, actually. Then there’s the sorry, yep.
Garth Sundem 02:02
No, I was gonna say you’ve got to be kidding me. So medical knowledge is going to soon be doubling every couple of weeks. I mean, already is that came before will will will will be doubling every couple of weeks. That’s That’s astounding.
Angie List 02:15
It’s terrifying. I mean, it’s fantastic that we that all this information is coming out so rapidly. But if we’re expecting the healthcare professionals to be able to stay current with it and maintain that knowledge, it’s just almost impossible. And then the other challenge you’ve got with that is what we call the diffusion of medical information. And by that I mean this is the rate with which it takes for something to be recognized as optimal clinical practice to then be adopted into clinical practice, that’s estimated to be 10 to 15 years. So yeah, sort of it’s a dual challenge of the amount of information coming. And how do we apply that effectively. So, you know, given the enormous amount of information that healthcare professionals are faced with and the limited time with which they have to consume it, the challenge for them is really deciphering what is relevant and what is credible. Like with all this information coming at them, they need to really ensure that they can digest it and consume it and they trust where the information is coming from. So research into preferences for medical information, repeatedly shows that independent sources of information drive greater influence and impact. So this is your professional societies, your associations, your colleges, dedicated HCP information sites, with journals, both print and online being the number one source of credible information outside of personal interactions with colleagues. So look, this is the space that that pharma companies are playing with, they have a huge amount to contribute in furthering medical knowledge and improving patient outcomes. However, creating content that is credible and engaging enough to stand out in this information overload. And drive real clinical impact is extremely challenging. And be interesting to hear the perspectives of Bart and Kevin on this as well, because I’m sure it’s there, they’re experiencing something similar from there. And well,
Garth Sundem 04:11
Thanks for terrifying us. That was a wonderful overview of the challenges that we are facing in delivering medical education. So now Bart and Kevin are gonna save us. So I’m not sure who wants to start here, but we need practical tips. How do we deal with these challenges? You know, Bart, you’re at my upper left. Do you want to do you want to get us started with with what we can do?
Bart Lukowski 04:38
Yeah, I guess. Well, thanks. Thanks again, Angie, for terrifying as you said, this is in a way I like this kind of way of being terrified right? It’s indeed a challenge. Is that indeed a challenge and and surely, you know, we face it every day. So, so basically, I mean, what energy said the amount of information and Oh minutes, in fact, overwhelming to physicians, right? It’s, you know, their days are becoming busier and busier, like everybody’s days are becoming busier and busier, we don’t have so much time recently even to, to sit down and and read the paper properly, in a way, right or even a search for a paper sometimes. Yeah, it’s, it’s becoming really challenging. So So I’ve noticed that you know, a lot of physicians are in a way searching for, for fairly data easy, digestible digital content, and especially if you can provide publications, credible, you know, peer review the literature, peer reviewed materials, you can provide in a more easily easy, let’s say to access way, like infographics, video, video podcasts or video sort of, you know, abstracts, yeah, those those things are in fact, in a way, patchy for them, if I may say, yeah, they, they find they find the interest we find interesting article, they, they they listen, and they judge in two minutes of maybe a video abstract if that article is of interest or not, is it worth me to spend more time on that reading that paper later? And inserting in my free time or not? And and I’ve noticed that that’s kind of, you know, on the go, I would say, abstracts are actually quite effective. And I even even with myself, you know, I take, I take my dog every day in the morning, and you know, what I do I listen to things, right, I listen, and I kind of deep dive what I’m interested in. And then when I get back, and I have some time, I I try to read it more deeply. So I think it happens the same to physicians. And I’ve observed that in my current profession as well. So yeah, that’s that’s what I may add here.
Garth Sundem 06:57
So digital and enhanced content, certainly. But can we always have digital and enhanced content? Kevin, what do you think? Is this just a one off thing for people? Or do we have to do this every time?
Kevin Lim 07:13
I think the points that ng raise raises the importance of being consistently relevant. And pharma companies are probably not the best place to get that consistent relevance, because we tend to focus in a particular disease area at one point in time, and then we move on. So I think companies that provide that independent education that can go wherever the focus of the clinician needs to be the ones who are going to be best placed to serve the needs of the clinician.
Garth Sundem 07:43
Oh, interesting. So not just focusing on the disease space, maybe where you’re currently most aggressively developing, but consistently providing good educational, you know, what programming, so that so that you become known for that consistently? Is that what you’re saying, Kevin?
Kevin Lim 08:02
Exactly, yeah. So there’s this concept of viewing habits, which everybody has, right, everybody goes to the Netflix channel, or the Disney prime channel, etc. They get used to consuming from there. So clinicians want the same thing they want to go to a single place that they know is going to consistently give them relevant information, rather than having to consistently search in many different places for that information. And so providing that consistent relevance is probably the best thing we can do to help clinicians absorb all this quantum of information that they really need to have on their hands to do justice by their patients.
Garth Sundem 08:43
Like trust building and quality that you’re delivering. Okay, so we have we have getting online and being concise, which is this digital enhancement. We have content that is consistent. How do we have oh, and maybe maybe this leads into my next question, you know, I was going to ask, how do we make this content discoverable? Maybe one way is to provide consistent education. So people come back to the place that you are providing to discover it. But you know, with all this information out there, the new forms of information, how do we help people connect with what they need? How do we make things discoverable?
Angie List 09:23
This is this is a really important point. Actually, ensuring that the medical knowledge is more accessible, but easier to consume is such an important priority and it’s something that Wylie is really passionate about. So as one of the largest medical and scientific producers of content, we are committed to making it more open access to ensure that it’s easier to you know, there’s no walls behind which the information can be found. And we work with the researchers and industry partners to provide the research output in formats that are easier to find to engage with and then utilize in clinical decision making. So to elaborate a little bit more more on what that was saying, you know, we really need to consider the preferences of healthcare professionals how they consume, and how they learn from the published medical knowledge. We know from our own research in this space along with that from global market insight companies that they are increasingly prioritizing the digital sources as we’ve heard, they the format’s vary, but like, you know, the videos, infographics, podcasts like we’re doing now. And they often prefer to consult or validate insights from multiple sources. So the consistency that Kevin was just talking about, which emphasizes the importance of taking an omni channel approach, but I do want to just reflect on that for a second, because there’s a lot of people that probably confuse omni channel with multi channel with the information overload out there, it’s not enough to just simply produce content and then push it out and expect that it’s going to land it’s just going to contribute to the information overload. So really being strategic around how you communicate and engage taking a long term view to ensure that each piece of information that you make it more accessible or more digestible builds on the knowledge that came before and doesn’t just repeat it, but ensures that that knowledge gap or the the area where you’re trying to engage the healthcare professional, it’s really building around a longer term strategy rather than just bombarding them with more information, you want them to engage with it and continue coming back as Kevin shared to continue engaging with the community. The other point to note as well, that the highest source of influence is actually peer to peer interactions. So the number one journals in terms of the channel Absolutely, but the peer to peer interactions are really, really important. So finding a way to leverage that as well. By engaging your most influential Kol is in the spades to help disseminate that information and engage the relevant medical community is also
Garth Sundem 11:52
pretty key. Okay, well, we’ve been talking about how to best leverage our own platforms and our own systems and our own channels for medical education. What about independent sponsorship? Is this. We own it less. That’s a little scary to me. But you know, is this another good option to provide medical education? What do you think Kevin or Bart?
Kevin Lim 12:17
Yeah, absolutely. For from, from my perspective, let me use an analogy, I’ll use a holiday analogy, because many of our listeners today probably going to come to getting decent bonuses soon, and might think about spending it on your family. So if you’re planning a holiday, the last place you’d go to figure out where you want to go is a rental car company or an airline company, you’re probably more more likely to go to TripAdvisor or Expedia or lonely planet to investigate all the different places that you could potentially go. And then once you decide where you’re going to go, then you’re looking to companies that can fly you there, or companies from whom you can rent a car, in order to look around the place while you’re there. And I think the same analogy happens for doctors, right? They’ve got so many other things on top of medications to deal with, they got to worry about what the history of the patient would sound like, what the symptoms and signs are going to be when investigations they should do, what differential diagnosis they should make. And then what treatment, what complications can come from it and where the funding sources might be coming from. So they’re not going to come to a radiology company or apology company or a pharmaceutical company, to understand how to manage the disease, they’re going to probably more likely go to a scientific society, or a journal or a CME provider to get that independent, holistic approach to managing the disease, and then only come to a pharma company, when our treatment is the best one for their patient. So it’s much better for pharmaceutical companies to go and partner with the scientific societies journal and CME providers to provide the best overall medical education for a disease to a pension. What do you think about?
Bart Lukowski 13:59
Yeah, thank you, Kevin. Well, I also want to put it into perspective. And I was just just listening to what you said in terms of, you know, the importance of independent education and how the physicians want to go into one place in the way right. So I’m also thinking that from the perspective of medical the first function, I, as I said, I’m always a really big advocate for MSL function. Right. And I, especially in in Japan, or while we’re living and working in Japan, I, one of my biggest challenges is to elevate the recognition of the Medical Affairs function. Right? There is still some level of, you know, let’s say, confusion in the eyes of doctors between Medical Affairs and other functions right in the way that is congenital Pharma. So I think I think really, you know, partnering and with medical societies with with organizations that provide I independent medical education really gives us an opportunity to stand out and kind of build that trust and credibility in the eyes of physicians at the same time, you know, increasing the value of Medical Affairs, in their, in their perception and in their eyes. And that’s something that I am particularly, you know, challenging. But I also think that it’s not necessarily, you know, just in the part of the world where I’m living now, but I guess it is, in a way, an opportunity for Medical Affairs to, to be and grow as the most recognized function that really is there for patients is there for physicians, to help them you know, educate, help them grow together in the knowledge and then ultimately provide the best care for their patients? So, so I think that there is indeed a strong connection between what kind of channels we choose to provide an education and our growth in terms of the function as pharmaceutical business. Yeah,
Garth Sundem 16:08
that’s interesting about you bring up a very, you brought up a very important word in that word is value. So we’re providing this medical education? How do we know if it’s working? How do we measure the value of medical education? Kevin, do you want to get us started on that?
Kevin Lim 16:27
Yeah, so the traditional answer is going to be qualitative and quantitative measures. So I think that’s right, I think both are important. But the end result is really whether there’s a change in behavior. And I think more and more, that’s what our our medical teams are expected to show as well. Whether or not you can truly document that, using real world evidence, in most instances, there has been a true change in the behavior of the clinician, so that the patients are getting a better treatment plan, prior to your intervention. To me that is now becoming the gold standard that all pharma, pharma companies should really aspire to.
Garth Sundem 17:05
Well, that’s interesting. So it’s not the it’s not a post session survey. It’s looking at real world evidence to identify behavior change. I mean, are you talking about going to patient records or electronic records or something and seeing a pre and post education? Change?
Kevin Lim 17:23
Yeah, I think more and more, we’re recognizing that just the education on its own is nice to be able to show that we’re doing lots of education, and people might be getting the message. But it’s better to be able to show that the behavior is actually changing. And the message is actually been put into practice. To Andy’s point. If it takes 15 years before a new discovery actually gets put into practice, that’s just too late. I think I joined the industry, passionate about wanting to accelerate the availability of the best practice medicines for patients. And so I’m sensing that the industry is really moving towards analyzing whether the behavior has changed. And the value of being able to show that that behavior has changed is so much more important to our companies than just being able to show that we’ve educated lots of people.
Garth Sundem 18:10
Hmm, interesting. Angie, did you want to add to that I, I, our our listeners can’t see us smiling at each other over zoom. But I can see everyone’s smiling over zoom. Well, yeah,
Angie List 18:23
I mean, just to just continue with the point, like just really ensuring that there is a behavior change is ever the post, you know, the post education surveys that can help indicate whether there will be you know, you can always ask, Will this change your behavior? There are ways you can sort of get that in terms of qualitative but but yeah, really ensuring that you’re closing that knowledge gap and changing that behavior. It’s a real real challenge, getting that real world evidence, and then ensuring, again, ensuring that information is then able to be disseminated. That’s a real challenge. Because a lot of the research that’s published in journals is the the initial trial research, but getting the real world evidence getting that information disseminated and published, and then shared more widely, is an ongoing challenge as well, but but very, very important.
Kevin Lim 19:13
Okay. Don’t get me wrong. I think that those measures that you will take, are still important to show that you’re heading in the right direction. Yeah, really the as we change the behavior, not just show that we’ve educated lots of people, but that they’ve walked out of the education session, being feeling positive about the experience that they’ve had.
Bart Lukowski 19:35
Yeah, I was just about to say that. I mean, you know, the behavioral change Absolutely, ultimately, is our end goal, right? We want to observe the behavior change and how will the patients you know, are being cared for. But in the end, we also have to consider as Kevin and Angie said, it’s a long term objective, in a way, right. It’s quite a long term objective. I will give Say right? So we surely need some short time and midterm midterm measures to be able to understand if we were going at least in the right direction. But again, also not necessarily only externally, I think we are also facing the challenge of proving our value demonstration internally as Medical Affairs, right. So you know, how often we get questions by question by our colleagues in commercial teams or other teams, you know, where, you know, what, what impact are you creating with your medical application? What would what are the measures? How do you track your value? You know, can you please tell us, so we’re also facing that challenge, you know, that we have to learn how we can create, in a way a value story. And there was a very good article on MAPS, as well about KPIs. Once I read, which says that, you know, you need to have a value story, really to be able to demonstrate to your colleagues, as well, that all the efforts that you do within medical education or any other key opinion leader engagement, are, are in a way, you know, bring in value and are aligned with the strategy. So they are also satisfied in a way. So there is the metric piece in in, in this part, and Medical Affairs is always a tricky part. Yeah. Surely, in order to measure that behavior change, we have to stay really on the goal. So we have to believe in one direction and keep going, as Kevin said at the beginning, right, consistent relevancy, right? Kevin? Yeah. So so so that’s important. But in the meantime, we cannot forget that we have to kind of prove in a way and track it. And, and our customers are not just physicians or patients, they are in the way, our colleagues as well, that we have to in a way, you know, satisfied to some extent,
Garth Sundem 22:02
or provide education to, you know. Yeah, that’s, that’s such an interesting way to look at that. So we’re, you know, we’re providing medical education, and we think of that as to HCPs. And physicians and scientists and, but we’re also sort of providing the education of our value internally as well, at the same time through through through a somewhat similar, I don’t know, experience or mechanism. Well, we could go two hours on this very. However, our time is up for today. And I can almost feel a part two coming on because we definitely have more to talk about, but let’s leave it there for today. Thanks, everyone, for joining us, and especially to Bart, Kevin, and Angie. To learn how your organization can partner with Wiley, visit corporatesolutions.wiley.com. MAPS members don’t forget to subscribe, and we hope you enjoyed this episode of the Medical Affairs Professional Society podcast series: “Elevate”.
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