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Pharmaceutical, medical device, and biopharma teams invest heavily in bringing experts together to provide input on everything from trial design to marketing messaging. Put simply, the objective is to gather as much information as possible to enable informed decision-making.

But the reality is more complex. In this context, an expert could be a healthcare professional, a payer, a colleague, even a patient – people with busy lives and conflicting schedules full of other commitments. If finding these experts is difficult, getting them all in one place to have a productive discussion with ramifications far beyond the end of the meeting can seem nearly impossible. And the challenge doesn’t end there, because collected insights need to be reviewed, ingested, and shared. With stakeholders located all over the world, daunting compliance requirements, and pressing timelines, it’s inevitable that the average insight-gathering strategy might be full of holes.

We call this problem the life science insight gap. It occurs when critical information is either not collected, or collected and then not effectively used or shared. It’s an expensive problem: fewer than 10% of drugs in development make it to market from phase I clinical trials, and the average cost to successfully develop a single drug stands at more than $2 billion. With all our technical know-how, R&D efficiency still lags, and ROI for R&D investment at large biotechs has been in sustained decline for more than a decade.

That’s years of wasted time and billions of wasted dollars.

How can life science organizations work to close the insight gap? What do they need to ensure they’re selecting the right people to provide feedback and connecting them in the most efficient manner? And how can they get more from the resulting data?

The power of insight – and what’s holding it back

Used effectively, insights are powerful – they can open new geographic markets, generate opportunities to use targeted messaging, strengthen relationships with KOLs and patients, accelerate product development and other project timelines, and even help identify up-and-coming experts in niche areas.

However, it’s difficult to take advantage of this powerful information if you’re only getting part of the story. This can happen at three key inflection points:

  • Expert selection – choosing who to talk to. Life science teams want to ensure they’re getting the most out of any engagement. While it might be tempting to rely on known experts who have contributed in the past, this isn’t always the best approach. For example, if a medical affairs team wants to understand more about a specific disease, they may reach out to frontline physicians who treat patients living with the disease. But depending on the team’s objective and what aspect of the disease state they are discussing, they might get more actionable information by engaging influential researchers with large networks.
  • Venue – deciding where to engage. As the ability to meet in person returns, it’s tempting to revert to old habits. But all-day advisory board meetings that require travel and hours-long video calls aren’t providing what teams need for effective insight-gathering. Last-minute cancellations, virtual fatigue, dominant personalities, hierarchy influence, and multitasking can compromise the outcome of such meetings. Engaging experts in asynchronous discussions – alone or in tandem with in-person or live virtual touchpoints – can yield 30-40% more insight than live meetings alone. This is a remarkable opportunity to carve out a competitive advantage in a challenging market.
  • Outcome – determining next steps. When an engagement concludes, life science teams are faced with the task of interpreting the insights they’ve collected and boiling them down to key takeaways. But this isn’t effective if they are time-poor or don’t have access to a broader view of what’s happening with the science or among outside market forces. Relying on outside experts to present key findings or technological solutions to ingest and analyze data can streamline the push toward strategic decision-making.

Addressing multiple problem areas may seem daunting, but taking steps to eliminate insight gaps can have a remarkable impact on how life science teams can drive results for their organization and for patients. To learn more about the insight gap – including three questions to help you gauge if your team is at risk – download “Solving the Life Science Insight Gap: What Teams Need Now for Faster, Better Decisions.”

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