This publication represents the consensus opinions of the authors and various members of MAPS but does not represent formal endorsement of the conclusions by their organizations
Author: Roma Bhavsar, PharmD
Author: Alicia A. Cadogan, PharmD
Author: Robert T. Hunter, PharmD
Author: Marie-Ange Noue, PhD
Corresponding Author: Stacey Fung, PharmD
Medical Information (MedInfo) Teams provide a vital function for the business, serving as a key resource for both internal and external customers. MedInfo Teams are scientific thought-partners internally and a reliable generator of valuable insights. MedInfo’s unique view into customers’ needs and partnership with internal stakeholders allows filling of data gaps and clarifying of published information. An analysis of data trends of MedInfo inquiries and acting upon the findings are impactful contributions of MedInfo Teams. Additionally, MedInfo Teams bring product knowledge and expertise to Promotional/Medical Review Teams and Product Launch Teams. In a global organization, enhanced efficiency is observed in new markets with existing knowledge of customer needs that can be leveraged. MedInfo Teams contribute to the business with clinical expertise, extensive knowledge of the company products and medical literature, insights of customer needs, and a strong understanding of the business.
Medical Information (MedInfo) Teams provide scientific, therapeutic, and product expertise to support healthcare professionals (HCPs), patients, and payers in making informed patient care decisions.1 In addition to the services provided to external customers, MedInfo Teams bring value to internal business partners, and ultimately to the business. MedInfo Teams work with internal partners in a variety of ways; however, these contributions may not be widely recognized. Awareness of the value that MedInfo Teams can deliver to internal partners can ensure that each organization is able to leverage this expertise and receive maximum TM benefit from the resources within their company. This paper will summarize experiences from phactMITM (Pharma Collaboration for Transparent Medical Information) members relating to the value that MedInfo brings to their companies. phactMITM is a consortium of pharmaceutical companies’ MedInfo Teams dedicated to supporting HCPs in their commitment to provide quality patient care.2
MedInfo Teams are steeped in scientific expertise staffed with members who have healthcare degrees, typically PharmD’s.1,3 The combination of in-depth scientific knowledge, product expertise, and mastery of medical literature makes MedInfo Scientists ideal colleagues to bring value to the organization and support HCP decision making. Add to this an intuitive understanding of customer needs and the ability to identify insights from external customers, and you have a recipe for success.
When MedInfo Scientists receive questions from HCPs or patients, they utilize their vast knowledge, databases of scientific summaries, and the medical literature to respond.1,3 However, this is not enough. The keen understanding of the organizational structure and the ability to navigate its complexities become paramount. MedInfo Scientists must plot a course through internal networks to identify colleagues within the organization who can provide or confirm the lack of information. Calls may be triaged to pharmacovigilance or product complaint departments for support. Alternatively, MedInfo Scientists may consult with internal Clinical/Medical Teams for data that are not readily available but required to respond to the customer in an efficient, effective, and unbiased manner.
Beyond inquiry management, MedInfo Teams contribute to the business in various ways which are vital to the success of the appropriate use of company products. MedInfo collaborates daily with business partners, including Medical Affairs Teams, Development Clinical Research Teams, Customer and Patient Support Program Coordinators, Commercial Business Planning Teams, Launch Planning Teams, Medical Education, Health Outcomes, and others.1
MedInfo has a large impact on internal stakeholders and the business who rely on MedInfo Team’s insights to fill data gaps, clarify key product messages, and support safe and effective use of medicines. MedInfo has different roles and responsibilities in their respective companies; however, these are some of the MedInfo roles that are more consistent across organizations.
MedInfo supports customers in making informed care and treatment decisions with a goal of being a trusted resource which builds goodwill and company credibility. MedInfo is uniquely positioned to learn and understand external consumers by having direct knowledge of product-related scientific needs of HCPs and consumers who have previously contacted them.1,3,4,5
It is the connection with external customers that puts MedInfo in the ideal position to identify customer insights. MedInfo provides detailed metric reports and insights on the volume and type of interactions for each product with customers to internal partners. Some of these metrics include HCP type, question category, usage of scientific response documents, and publications. Layered on top of the metric report is MedInfo’s critical analysis of observations, trends, data gaps, and opportunities. These insights are valuable resources sourced directly from the HCPs and consumers; and can fill data gaps, clarify messages, and support safe and effective use of medicines. MedInfo insights may lead to evidence generating activity when knowledge gaps are identified. (See Table 1 for examples)
MedInfo knowledge of customer information needs are communicated internally via cross-functional discussion forums impacting strategy (i.e., medical plans, life-cycle planning, and revenue-driving activities). The insights and customer stories are shared to initiate change at product, portfolio, and process levels. This can lead to opportunities for product improvement, data generation, actionable insights, education, improved customer experience, and development of patient focused content.6
Globalization efforts allow for the alignment of MedInfo scientific content globally including scientific response documents adaptable for local use.5 Global customer insights generated by global medical information (GMI) help to inform preparation for local launches and inquiry trends. The insights gained via direct patient/HCP access gives MedInfo the opportunity to streamline resources for the local markets. Often, smaller affiliate MedInfo Teams are staffed with fewer specialists with limited access to information on new products. Sharing of developed launch materials and other core documents eliminates recreating the wheel and ensures consistent product information globally.4 The value of identifying trends at the local/global level and sharing actionable insights is immeasurable.
Another role MedInfo provides is medical review for promotional and medical materials used by field teams.1 As reviewers and/or approver of field materials, MedInfo brings scientific expertise and mastery of relevant literature to the table. MedInfo reviews material for scientific accuracy, relevancy, and appropriate scientific context. In addition, they ensure that materials are consistent with product labels and MedInfo scientific response documents in terms of references and data sources. In turn, MedInfo benefits from this role via enhanced understanding of the business which allows for a more informed and connected medical team.
MedInfo is involved in strategic planning for product launch and is integral to launch planning and readiness.1,4,7 MedInfo serves as an initial touchpoint and can assist with rapid interventions and resolutions to provide key wins at launch. Questions received from external customers usually begin months before product approval, and a well-informed MedInfo Team may better respond to questions. MedInfo often collaborates with colleagues in Medical Affairs, Clinical Development, and others to predict topics of interest and ensure preparedness of appropriate responses. MedInfo also contributes to launch preparedness by sharing product- and process-expertise in training field sales, medical teams, and MedInfo contact center agents,1 ensuring consistency of knowledge and familiarity of resources available in the scientific response document database. MedInfo may review customer trends from previous approvals of products in similar categories or therapeutics to predict anticipated question types and volume. Based on anticipated volume, additional staff or writing support may be needed. Providing feedback regarding inquiry volume and the types of questions received by the Commercial Team also helps the Launch Team maintain a sense of what is happening in the field.4 (see Table 1)
In support of medical congresses, MedInfo Teams address questions from attendees seeking product information, which may enhance the relationship between HCPs and the pharmaceutical company. For each congress, MedInfo works with the planning team to become familiar with the data that will be presented and to update respective scientific response documents. On site or virtually, MedInfo responds to unsolicited requests via discussions with HCPs and sharing of medical data.
MedInfo may help patients obtain access to therapy by assisting with the development of dossiers and managing requests for dossiers from healthcare organizations and payors. MedInfo Teams support product acceptability through submission of clinical data to drug compendia and treatment guidelines, and development of Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) dossiers.1,4 MedInfo teams may have various roles in support of the AMCP dossier from creation and maintenance, including coordination with internal departments, to reviewing or disseminating the dossier upon request.
Some MedInfo Teams may struggle to demonstrate their value to the business. It may not be obvious to internal partners that MedInfo is far more than a cost center for the business. To improve patient experiences and outcomes, the wealth of interactions and data MedInfo Teams collect should be used strategically to generate important insights for Medical Affairs Teams and the entire organization. MedInfo should be a key partner in shaping the thinking around patient journeys, potential difficulties with drug application, or uncovering additional indications for clinical trials, to name a few areas of contribution. It is critical that MedInfo leadership strategically prioritizes showcasing the capability of this function and communicate the value of their function internally. Some of the areas in which MedInfo delivers value and which may be communicated internally are summarized in Table 2.8 If done right, communicating the value of the MedInfo function will allow the team to be a true scientific thought-partner internally, and a reliable generator of insights for global stakeholders.
MedInfo Teams contribute in various ways to the business when working with internal business partners. MedInfo Teams have clinical expertise, extensive knowledge of the product and literature, insights of customer needs, and a strong understanding of the business. These traits enable MedInfo Teams to provide value to both external and internal customers.
Table 1. Examples of Activities and Impact
Table 2. Examples of Communicating the Value of MedInfo Teams across the Organization 
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- phactMI: Pharma Collaboration for Transparent Medical Information website. https://www.phactmi.org/PortalAboutUs.
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