COVID-19: Best Practices & the Future of Medical Affairs – Field Medical

Field Medical Best Practices During COVID-19

COVID-19: Best Practices & the Future of Medical Affairs – Field Medical

May 11, 2020

As the external face of the pharmaceutical and medical technology industries, field-based medical teams are uniquely placed to help the industry and healthcare community navigate through these unusual times. While remaining flexible and agile to meet changing needs and requirements today, we can also begin to look forward to see how to flourish in the new normal.

Turning challenges into opportunities

The pandemic has severely impaired our usual ways of working. But these challenges yield opportunities:

  • Reaching a wider audience through utilizing remote meetings
  • Broader participation and interaction opportunities with live streaming for congresses
  • More focused attention of the healthcare provider (HCP), due to flexibility of venue and meeting time
  • Building expertise in conducting virtual engagements with the potential for providing more real-time responsiveness
  • Time to focus on professional growth opportunities
  • Increased internal cross-functional partnering activities


Best practices during the pandemic

We are all getting accustomed to working virtually—here are some best practices to help you and your colleagues:

  • Encourage, rather than demand, virtual HCP interactions
  • Field Medical managers can join virtual HCP interactions for engagement and coaching opportunities
  • Select the most appropriate virtual platform and know how to use it beforehand
  • Be flexible and tolerant should technical issues arise during an engagement
  • Master the four Cs of virtual engagement: CONFIDENCE, CONTROL, CREDIBILITY, and CONNECTIVITY
  • Be aware of meeting fatigue, for yourself and others


Without travel, field-based teams may be able to offer their valuable time elsewhere:

  • Assist colleagues from other teams, e.g. with developing training materials
  • Upskill—focus on scientific or functional skills training and attend virtual congresses
  • Review/revise your HCP/key opinion leader lists and take time to learn more about them
  • Keep up to date with new treatment guidelines and recommendations



The pandemic is likely to have a long-term impact on how Field Medical teams work. By anticipating the changes, we can ensure we will flourish in the new normal.

  • React to the new culture—do your HCPs still want face-to-face visits, or do they prefer the flexibility of virtual meetings?
  • Build on the strong HCP relationships you have built during the pandemic—keep interactions focused and useful for your HCPs
  • Consider what pressures your HCPs will have after the pandemic and how you can support them
  • Prepare for institutions to have new access policies, including the need for personal protective equipment
  • Implement metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) suited to the new environment
  • Use your new expertise with virtual meetings to become a leader in digital solutions
  • Create flexible internal policies and processes that allow adaptation to the new ways of working


Based on presentations given by Dr. Charlotte Kremer, Dr. Robin Winter-Sperry, Dr. Tamas Koncz, Dr. John Pracyk, Dr. Peter Piliero, and Dr. Joseph Eid during the MAPS Global Town Hall webinar on April 21, 2020.