Involving Multiple Stakeholders in Ad Boards

I will build a case for why inclusion of multiple stakeholders throughout the healthcare system (MDs, PAs, RNs, NPs. PharmDs, Formulary Decision Makers, Managed Care Executives, Hospital Administrators, Patients, Caregivers, etc.) makes sense at a given ad board and why these ad boards can be moved online and held in a “virtual” setting.


To be clear, not every ad board must, or even should, involve multiple stakeholders. The decision on who to involve is driven by the questions asked in the business case and the feedback desired.  However, asking the right questions is an acquired skill – and different, broader, and more probing questions might be asked if the company is not thinking of ad boards comprised of merely one type of stakeholder (KOL MDs, most often).  The model of including multiple stakeholders differs from the traditional model where KOL MDs are confirming company hypotheses and fail to uncover many novel ideas or pain points. Ask yourself in the last ad board you attended, how many truly novel ideas were developed and then implemented? What was their impact?  Probably less than you had wanted.

First, it must be understood that this is a more difficult exercise to execute because of different interests and incentives from each stakeholder. However, in order to overcome these different interests and incentives, stakeholders must be aligned, typically under the common goal of increasing patient outcomes.  This requires both a discussion and an understanding of each position that will be recruited to the ad board. This exercise alone can uncover understandings as it is uncommon to have any position dedicated to looking across constituents for broader solutions.

Second, the use of these different stakeholders is an inherently attractive idea as they provide:

  • Multiple perspectives which spawn multiple ideas on how to solve a problem and
  • Multiple insights into potential risks.
  • With multiple perspectives comes a better understanding of the entire ecosystem and the patient journey. New ideas, new perspectives, new partnerships, and new messaging to a broader audience can address newly discovered pain points that have unknowingly adversely affected adoption of a product or limited ideal patient outcomes

Third, multi-stakeholder advisors are typically looking for more than a one-off transaction, but rather an ongoing relationship. Consulting leads to engagements. Engagements lead to emotional connections, which are crucial and essential for productive two-way honest feedback that leads to insights and novel ideas.