Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) are a cornerstone of successful pharmaceutical brands, from long before launch to well beyond loss of exclusivity. These important medical players can multiply the effect on market acceptance in a given therapeutic area.

Given the importance of KOLs and the medical affairs programs that seek to engage them, it’s critical to accurately measure a KOL’s relative influence and domain stature for a given disease in an objective way.

While KOL identification, measurement, and outreach programs have evolved over the years, they have failed to keep up with the pace of technical innovation. The availability of useful data has also been a barrier. For example, we often see companies that rely on peer surveys and/or Rx claims as primary datasets.

While peer surveys and claims data helps, without a more holistic way to measure KOL influence and connectivity, a high degree of fidelity, otherwise available to medical affairs and the brand, is lost.

Without using a wider range of data for drawing a better picture of a KOL’s activity and modes of peer influence, many blind spots emerge.

A better way to identify influencers

We often work with brands that end up benefiting from a new, more complete way of understanding and targeting KOLs. When we are initially approached by them, they fall into 2 categories.

The first is existing brand and the second is pre-launch brand.

With existing brand, the companies have significant experience in the disease state and therapeutic area. They typically have a team with decades of experience in running KOL programs in the chosen market.

Over this time, they have cultivated strong relationships and they believe they already know the 100-200 most relevant and connected KOLs.

We help such teams in several important ways.

Track “up-and-comers”

First, by identifying the rising stars or so-called “up and comers” in their market. These are HCPs and researchers that may not have a long history of activity in the space, nor the largest patient loads that they treat directly to date. Therefore, peer reviews and claims data will not surface them as strong influencers.

However, by tracking the slope of their career trajectories using many data sources including their rate of publishing, speaking, joining of committees, patient advocacy, and relevant activity on social media, these future KOLs can be identified before they have forged deep relationships with the competition.

Many rising stars from the younger generation, express their influence on newer forms of media such as twitter.

We also help on the other end of the KOL career spectrum. By monitoring the activity of veteran KOLs, it is possible to note long time KOLs who are nearing retirement and are waning in their clinical and public activity and by extension, their influence.

Another benefit for existing brand is insights about local KOLs at-scale.

Practical insights from networks

Compile’s machine learning and natural language processing technology combines huge datasets from many disparate sources, including claims data, HCP patient referral patterns, CMS, provider websites, news, blogs, social media, industry conferences and events, open payments data, accurate HCP/HCO affiliations data, pubmed, clinical trials, and many more.

Our data machine is able to objectively measure the influence and connections between HCPs, not only at the national level, but also at a localized level for a geographic area. This is simply not possible with conventional approaches, and it unlocks new exciting possibilities for KOL programs at the local level.

A final important value-add of this new approach to existing brand is a detailed map of the KOL network itself.

Compile’s graph database structure not only captures who is influential but also the myriad of ways in which KOLs connect to the HCP community, the “how” of their influence so to speak. This allows brands to make better use of their trusted KOLs - by understanding their paths of influence when planning new influence campaigns.

In the other category is the pre-launch brand.

Perhaps this is even an entirely new market area for a pharma. In this case, we typically generate a day zero deliverable for the team that eliminates the guesswork at the national and local KOL level. We provide a detailed map and framework to the medical affairs team for using as a starting blueprint on all of the KOLs. The KOLs are scored by their relative influence with transparency on the HCP universe.

Compile’s KOL mapping capability provides a better, more objective way for existing brands and pre-launch brands to gain deeper insight into the KOL landscape than conventional methods ever could.

Want to know more on how Compile can help with your commercial strategy? Talk to us.