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September 6, 2023

Getting insights from allied health: 7 tips to use now

KOLs outside the traditional physician profile can offer critical insight throughout drug development and launch. Here’s how to include this group in your next ad board.
improve allied health engagement

Allied health professionals are uniquely aware of practical challenges and considerations during patient care. If you’re not already harnessing this rich source of insight, how can you start or improve allied health engagement?

In general, healthcare professionals (HCPs) that fall into the allied health category – nurses, PAs, nurse practitioners, technicians, nutritionists, pharmacists, and researchers – can contribute to virtual and in-person advisory boards in much the same way as traditional KOLs. However, some special considerations will help you plan more effectively and get more high-quality insight from these groups.

7 actionable allied health engagement recommendations to use now

Planning your next advisory board? If you’re not thinking of including nurses, pharmacists, or other allied health roles alongside physicians, consider running concurrent ad boards or including these roles for more comprehensive insight gathering.

Create a standing panel of allied health professionals

Establish a standing panel of diverse allied health professionals who can provide feedback on materials, guidelines, and protocols. This ongoing engagement ensures their insights are integrated into the development process.

Engage industry trade groups

Connect with industry trade groups for nurses, pharmacists, and other allied health roles. These groups can offer a platform for dialogue and collaboration, helping to gather insights from a wider range of professionals.

Consider the diversity of settings

When designing trial protocols or treatment guidelines, consider the diversity of healthcare settings where patients receive care. Engaging allied health experts from large university research hospitals and rural clinics alike will ensure that protocols are applicable across various settings to enhance accessibility and quality of treatment.

Podcast: 15 minutes on the benefits of engaging allied health professionals

Incorporate allied health experts early on

Engage allied health professionals early in the process, such as during trial protocol design, to capture their insights and expertise. Their input can lead to more comprehensive and effective treatment approaches.

Engage allied health at multiple points in the product development process

Recognize that engagement with health professionals should occur at various stages, from early development to post-approval and market implementation. Tailor engagement strategies based on the specific objectives of each stage.

Prioritize equitable access

Focus on ensuring equitable access to therapies and treatments by involving professionals administering care on the ground. Consider their perspectives when shaping protocols and guidelines.

Facilitate frequent touchpoints

Create opportunities for frequent discussions and feedback sessions with allied health professionals to maintain an ongoing dialogue and address evolving challenges.


Adding nurses to their ad board helped this team shorten trial design timelines

A women’s health medical affairs team wanted to engage physician and nurse KOLs to obtain insights and perspectives on trial design. Specifically, the team wanted to assess the ability to successfully use a drug in low-acuity settings previously only prescribed in high-acuity settings. Schedules and geographical distance made an in-person advisory board impractical; the team also had concerns about hierarchy influence, in which nurses might be influenced by physicians’ opinions or even refrain from contributing.

Ultimately, the team used Within3’s insights management platform to run concurrent ad boards in separate virtual rooms. Nurses shared critical information affecting the trial design, and the medical affairs team reached its objectives in weeks rather than months. Read the full story.

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