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Trends in Pharma

How to run an interactive MSLs training in a virtual format

Written by Natalia Denisova, PhD VP, Head of Medical Affairs, MphaR
September 26, 2022

How to run an interactive MSLs training in a virtual format for continued efficiency and excellence

Before Covid-19, medical science liaison teams (MSLs) across pharmaceutical industries throughout the world were already at a limit. Due to the complexity of the products, a more comprehensive engagement was expected from the healthcare professionals. In contrast, the KOLs (key opinion leaders) required by the MSLs were also time-bound. After all, due to the pandemic, a damper had been placed over business-related travels. Hence, MSLs are now moving towards a virtual way of work while respecting KOLs simultaneously. 

As the pressure continues to intensify post-covid, digitalizing learning platforms across the board is becoming the new norm. One-off, inflexible meetings are not feasible for KOLs due to time constraints.

A range of skills has always been required of MSLs. Their job is to stay ahead of the curve in scientific acumen, business leadership, communication, and soft skills. This, keeping field medical teams a step forward, both in terms of outputs and efficiencies, may not come naturally, so how can they stay on top?

This article will teach how industries can train their MSL teams to perform efficiently, leveraging modern digital and virtual platforms. However, let's first look at what the pharmaceutical industry expects from today's MSLs: 

  • The ability to effectively translate and communicate scientific research and information to clinical practice.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and strong scientific acumen and medical knowledge.
  • Practical and forward-thinking business knowledge and leadership qualities.

How You Can Leverage Interactive and Customized Methodologies to Train your MSL Team for Continued Efficiency and Excellence 

First, it's important to highlight that modern MSL teams comprise of young, forward-thinking, and digitally proficient professionals (Gen Z). It's safe to say this fact alone addresses a big chunk of the problem, which is engagement and adaptation. 

Why? Well, Gen Z MSLs are well-versed and equipped for digital learning and have the skills and talent to implement and adapt to consistently changing digital platforms and tools, using the technology to quickly understand who key opinion leaders are, how they can proactively engage those KOLs, and ultimately, propose streamlined strategies to redefine how clinical trials are run. They have the power to change the future of healthcare.

If you want your MSLs to feel comfortable and enjoy working with you, it is high time to learn about how you can gather actionable insights from your KOLs digitally. When the KOLs are satisfied with you, they are more likely to share their opinions while offering valuable feedback. Keep reading the article below to learn how to effectively train your MSL team in the virtual world to become more efficient in relationship-building skills.

Combining Expertise and Medical Insight via Streamlined Online Lectures

Working on a one-stop virtual portal is a great way to gather insight and knowledge from multiple experts positioned across the globe, bringing you together for a more seamless and concentrated effort. Participants can be sent individual emails for invitations along with unique credentials. Upon logging in, MSLs will have the opportunity to participate in joint lectures and Q&A sessions, and access curated lectures including online polling and critical case discussions.   

This way, you'll have the chance to personalize your virtual collaboration and access tools without any restrictions and delays. However, it's recommended to notify your KOLs to download any extensions or apps if necessary. You can simply send an invitation to their emails with a login ID and password to save time and hassle during the meeting. 

Creating a "to-the-point agenda" for your MSLs Leveraging a Knowledge Hub

Every face-to-face or online meeting should have a clear and to-the-point purpose. In the post-COVID era, where everything is digitalized and time-limited, ensure you do not waste your KOLs' precious time during the meeting. One of the best things about a digital learning environment is that you will have the opportunity to combine multiple activities and interactions with colleagues using pre-read materials. Participants will have the chance to access several published educational modules and will be able to select articles based on their agenda and objectives. 

Gamified Training Sessions in Real-Time

Rewards-based and gamified modules on the digital portal can be used to host a diverse range of MSL training and learning programs. For example, the company can introduce a broad-spectrum hybrid or virtual training event – adding to it a panel of external/internal guest KOL professionals and speakers for the main stage. You can easily create workshops featuring exhibition halls and annotation in real time. There's no question including gamification as a part of your MSL training can be highly effective when it comes to streamlined engagement, driving real-time participation, helping participants absorb knowledge, and offering a satisfactory and productive environment.  

Personalized and Self-Paced Training Sessions 

A dedicated virtual platform will also allow you to design self-paced virtual sessions for MLS training that can easily be hosted on a private portal, uninterrupted. This is an excellent way to supplement real-time events and parallel activities at the same time. Design quizzes to evaluate the group's knowledge retention and comprehension, keeping everybody engaged in problem-solving assessments. These examinations can also be used to augment your overall learning objectives, gradually improving the MSL's confidence in peer-related medical materials. 

The one-point learning platform will enable you to develop a series of micro-modules MSLs can voluntarily choose from, allowing for a more comprehensive and personalized training experience. It will also serve as a threshold for participants that are not on the same level. 

Digital Journal Clubs

Introducing digital journal clubs into the equation can be another efficient methodology to keep MSL trainees and participants remain up to date and perform an in-depth analysis of new medical research and data, which can also include various competitor products and services. You can customize the virtual journal club in accordance with various types of medical research texts such as peer manuscripts, abstracts, medical webinars, videos, podcasts, and much more. 

Bottom Line

In all, leveraging the power and efficiency of a virtual platform or format to train MSLs is an excellent way for driving motivation and professional learning, allowing participants to learn from a diverse range of formats. In addition, digital platforms also provide a variety in terms of catering to every participant's unique style of learning.

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