If your time is short
- ExtendMed collaborated with an oncology-focused biopharmaceutical company and its medical communications agency to boost their interactions with key opinion leaders (KOLs) at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and European Hematology Association (EHA) conferences.
- Using a custom-configured, white-labeled instance of ExtendMed's Health Expert Connect™ (HEC) platform, they tackled various logistical and administrative challenges, ultimately executing a conference engagement program that featured dinner receptions, one-on-one meetings and poster sessions. These engagements enabled the company's management team to conveniently connect with KOLs on a deeper level during both events.
- The biopharma company and its agency enjoyed more efficient, fruitful KOL engagement, better compliance reporting and ongoing collaboration after the conferences. The platform offered centralized scheduling, smooth communication, strong data security and detailed reporting and analytics, leading to higher KOL satisfaction and valuable insights that directly informed the company’s medical affairs and commercialization strategies.
- This case study highlights the power of ExtendMed's HEC platform in overcoming the hurdles faced by companies at major medical conferences and ultimately strengthening their connections with KOLs while raising their profile at these events.
In 2023, ExtendMed collaborated with a biopharmaceutical company and its medical communications agency to optimize their staff's limited time, including the CEO and Chief Medical Officer and maximize engagement with KOLs attending two major medical conferences.
Over 1,600 of the biopharma’s Principal Investigators focused on clinical studies were set to attend the ASCO conference in the US and the EHA conference in Europe. The biopharma company's advisory council and medical affairs team compiled lists of these global investigators. ExtendMed segmented those lists into 22 targeted communities for engagement based on the clinical trials each were involved in.
To facilitate these engagements, ExtendMed customized the HEC platform to enable the biopharma company to engage with investigators in three ways: dinner reception programs, 1:1 meetings and poster presentation sessions.
In the following sections, we dissect the components of this conference program to demonstrate how ExtendMed successfully addressed the challenges of engaging with KOLs at scale, ultimately enhancing the biopharma company's presence at the conferences and fostering valuable connections with KOLs.
Addressing the complexities of engaging key opinion leaders at major medical conferences
The biopharma company, in collaboration with its medical communications agency, faced an array of challenges ahead of these conferences.
One of these challenges was maximizing engagement during short windows of opportunity with limited time and resources. With the ASCO and EHA conferences just days apart, the biopharma company needed to tightly coordinate and control its management team's schedules to ensure these individuals could meet in person with as many KOLs as possible at both events.
This required a thorough understanding of the KOLs' availability and a tool to schedule and reschedule appointments as necessary. With a desire to interact with KOLs in multiple settings to foster deeper relationships, a tailored approach and capable scheduling system were crucial to accommodate the varying preferences and availability of the KOLs.
Another challenge was communicating and coordinating with KOLs at scale. The opportunity to engage with 1,600 investigators presented particularly challenging logistical obstacles; the company needed an efficient way to amalgamate contact lists from 12 different clinical studies and schedule 1:1 meetings between these KOLs and the company's small staff.
With limited conference room capacity and investigators' varying availability, the process for handling inquiries, RSVPs and logistical details for various events and meetings had to be manageable for both parties.
Before implementing ExtendMed's solution, the company relied on large email blasts to hundreds of investigators requesting suggested meeting times during the conferences. This created major logistical problems, as the team received numerous overlapping time preferences, complicating appointment scheduling.
Other challenges included:
- Ensuring privacy and data security: As the biopharma company and KOLs shared sensitive information and discussed clinical studies, safeguarding the privacy and security of their data was essential. This demanded a platform with robust data protection features that complied with both US and European requirements.
- Ensuring compliance: As the biopharma company supplied in-kind benefits such as meals to investigators, it was critical to track each investigator’s attendance at particular events and any compensation they received to comply with reporting requirements.
- Maintaining branding standards and user experience: To preserve consistency and professionalism, the biopharma company required a white-labeled platform that aligned with its branding and provided a seamless user experience for the KOLs.
Implementing a customized conference management platform for streamlined KOL engagement
To tackle these challenges, the biopharma company and its agency turned to ExtendMed for its customized engagement platform, HEC. The resulting conference engagement program included the following elements:
- Dinner Receptions: ExtendMed helped organize dinner receptions during both annual meetings. These receptions allowed the management team, including the CEO and Chief Medical Officer, to engage with investigators informally. ExtendMed configured HEC to manage registrations and RSVPs for the dinner receptions, customizing the platform with the biopharma company's branding, logo, privacy policies and other details. The platform tracked attendance, aiming for around 35 attendees at each reception.
- One-on-one Meetings: ExtendMed configured HEC's scheduling system to allow investigators to choose convenient time slots during the conferences for one-on-one meetings. The system automatically booked conference rooms and tracked the number of meetings scheduled, helping manage limited time and resources effectively.
- Poster Session Opportunities: While poster sessions were not executed in this particular program, the company had the opportunity to manage poster sessions in a digitally interactive format. This feature has been utilized by biopharma companies during conferences to further engage with KOLs. The platform allows attendees to view posters interactively on their devices, listen to audio narrations by lead authors, and leave comments and feedback. This interactive setup not only fosters immediate reactions to study data but also opens avenues for further engagement.
Below, we provide a closer look at how HEC was configured into a comprehensive platform solution, offering a superior alternative to manual planning and organization methods, such as spreadsheets, emails and phone calls.
Centralized scheduling, calendar management, and data integration
The platform united lists from the company’s 12 clinical studies and stored them in a single accessible location. In addition, the platform loaded the client's internal team data, creating a comprehensive and organized database. This function eliminated the need for manually sorting and merging various datasets, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing the risk of errors.
The platform then provided centralized scheduling and calendar management—streamlining planning and coordination with KOLs. By integrating with KOLs' calendars via Calendly, the platform facilitated real-time updates on availability and automatic appointment rescheduling, optimizing the limited time at the conferences. This replaced the inefficient and error-prone method of manual email coordination.
Without centralized scheduling and calendar management, teams often resort to manually managing schedules and calendars for KOLs. This leads to more administrative work and a high likelihood of errors. Accomplishing these tasks otherwise requires using separate scheduling tools or relying on back-and-forth email communication to coordinate appointments, which is time-consuming, inefficient and invites mistakes.
Customizable engagement modules
The platform offered customizable modules for each engagement venue, allowing the biopharma company to create tailored approaches to engage KOLs based on preferences and availability.
Without the platform's customizable modules, teams often have to create their own ad hoc systems for managing different engagement opportunities. This typically involves a combination of spreadsheets, documents and email chains, making it difficult to track and coordinate the various engagements.
Seamless communication and coordination
HEC enabled efficient communication between the biopharma company, agency and KOLs. Features such as automated invitations, text reminders and RSVP management ensured effective event and meeting coordination. To engage a large international audience, WhatsApp was offered for message reminders. The platform also provided a centralized repository for all relevant documents, facilitating easy access and sharing.
Without the platform's communication features, teams have to rely on individual email threads, phone calls, or text messages to coordinate with KOLs—a cumbersome and disorganized alternative. Document sharing and collaboration would likely be spread across multiple tools and platforms, leading to inefficiencies and the potential for lost information.
Robust privacy and data security
The platform emphasized privacy and data security with robust data protection features, meeting compliance requirements for both the US and Europe. End-to-end encryption and strict data handling policies ensured the security of sensitive information.
Without the platform's built-in privacy and data security mechanisms, companies have to independently ensure their communication and data storage methods meet compliance requirements. In practice, this means investing in additional security tools and resources, which can be costly and time-consuming to implement and maintain.
White-labeled platform with seamless user experience
The platform's white-label capabilities allowed full customization with the biopharma company's branding, creating a consistent and professional appearance. An intuitive interface and user experience enabled easy navigation and engagement for KOLs.
Without the ability to white-label a procured engagement platform, companies have to either develop their own branded interface for KOL engagement or use generic tools that lack personalization. This can result in a massive (and expensive) development lift, a less professional appearance and a more challenging user experience for KOLs who’ve come to expect digital conveniences.
Comprehensive reporting and analytics
By tracking key metrics such as attendance rates, meeting outcomes and KOL satisfaction, the biopharma company and agency could assess their approach and identify improvement areas. Live presentations at ASCO had attendees scanning QR codes to answer questions, offering client insights.
Without the platform's reporting and analytics capabilities, companies have to manually gather and analyze data from various sources to assess the success of their engagement efforts. This process is time-consuming and may not provide the same level of insights or accuracy as a centralized platform.
Enhanced KOL engagement and continuous collaboration beyond the conferences
The customized conference management platform not only addressed logistical challenges faced by the biopharma company and agency but also led to several value-added outcomes and benefits, summarized below
- Streamlined KOL engagement: Automating tasks such as scheduling, tracking and coordinating meetings eliminates the time-consuming process (and risks) of individually sending and managing hundreds of emails.
- Improved compliance reporting: The platform's robust tracking capabilities facilitated accurate reporting of compliance-related information, such as meal benefits provided to KOLs at dinner receptions. These features ensured adherence to government regulations and reporting requirements like CMS sunshine reporting.
- Continued collaboration after the conferences: With all KOL contact information and engagement history centrally located in the system, the biopharma company can now easily reach out to investigators for various purposes, such as for sharing new study data, soliciting feedback on study designs, or addressing patient retention issues in specific studies. This level of engagement was not feasible when managing contacts manually through spreadsheets and emails.
- Higher KOL satisfaction: The platform's seamless and user-friendly experience boosted KOL satisfaction during their interactions with the biopharma company. The ease of communication, scheduling and access to relevant information ensured KOLs felt valued and well-supported.
- Valuable insights for future engagement efforts: The platform's comprehensive reporting and analytics capabilities allowed the biopharma company to gather feedback from KOLs through post-conference evaluations, identifying areas for improvement and insights for future engagement.
ExtendMed’s platform not only resolved the logistical challenges faced by the biopharma company and the medical communications agency at the ASCO and EHA conferences but also led to enhanced KOL engagement, improved compliance reporting and ongoing collaboration beyond the conferences. The platform's extensive capabilities allowed the company to establish and maintain valuable relationships with KOLs, ultimately supporting their clinical research and drug development initiatives.
Maximize your conference impact with ExtendMed's Health Expert Connect™ platform
ExtendMed's Health Expert Connect™ platform is an ideal solution for medical communications agencies and pharmaceutical companies looking to optimize their engagement with KOLs and maximize the value of their presence at crucial industry events. By leveraging the power of ExtendMed's technology, companies working with us establish themselves as industry leaders, foster meaningful relationships and drive their strategic initiatives forward.
Experience the benefits of ExtendMed's platform for yourself. Contact us today to schedule a demo and see how our platform can elevate your company's presence in the competitive world of healthcare and pharmaceuticals.