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October 18, 2022

What is the insight gap in life science?

An incomplete view of disease communities and influencers, inefficient engagement methods, and slow decision-making cause teams to waste time, money, and opportunity.
insight gap

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 of the correct information as possible to enable informed decision-making. But what happens when insights aren’t gathered, shared, or used effectively? This is a problem known as the insight gap – and it already affects every life science company.

The reality of insight-gathering is complex. A key expert could be a healthcare professional, a payer, a colleague, or 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: collected insights need to be reviewed, ingested, and shared. With stakeholders worldwide, daunting compliance requirements, and pressing timelines, the average insight-gathering strategy might inevitably be full of holes.

The life science insight gap 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 declined 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 engaging stakeholders effectively? 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, taking advantage of this robust information is difficult if you only get part of the story. This can happen at three key inflection points:

  • Understanding specific disease communities. Life science teams want to ensure they get the most out of engagement. While relying on known experts who have contributed in the past might be tempting, this isn’t always the best approach. With a holistic view of influencers and relationships within a disease community, teams can be more precise in selecting who they’ll engage for insight gathering. 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. Traditional engagement methods, including in-person advisory board meetings, will always be among the ways life science teams get insights. But the industry must now account for a multi-channel world where insights come from social platforms, field discussions, and virtual spaces. Engaging experts in asynchronous discussions – alone or in tandem with in-person or live virtual touchpoints – can yield 30-40% more insight than face-to-face 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 tasked with 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 across other teams and discussions. Applying technology like artificial intelligence and natural language processing can quickly surface key findings to accelerate the push toward strategic decision-making.

Addressing multiple problem areas may seem daunting, but taking steps to eliminate insight gaps can remarkably impact how life science teams drive results for their organization and 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.”

What is the Life Science Insight Gap? from Within3 on Vimeo.

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