Key performance indicators (KPIs) help medical affairs teams track progress and measure success. KPIs also help an MA team demonstrate value when those key performance indicators align with the overall strategic plan.
Choosing the right metrics to track can be challenging for MA teams. Medical affairs teams “must track not only the quantitative aspects of how many times an action is performed but also the qualitative aspects of those actions’ impact,” write Nancy Ortiz and fellow medical affairs professionals. Identifying the most commonly-used KPIs can help medical affairs teams create their own metrics and benchmarks.
Why Measurements Matter
Without KPIs, it’s difficult to coordinate any team toward a common goal. Each team member is left to determine for themselves which goals matter most and how to measure progress.
Ortiz, et al. recommend asking several questions to kickstart the KPI planning process:
Do our chosen metrics and KPIs explain the value of work done as well as track it? Do they include both quantitative and qualitative measures?
How do our chosen metrics and KPIs demonstrate the alignment of team efforts with strategic goals?
How will we use KPI data to analyze and improve the strategy and tactics we use?
Asking these questions and finding answers is not a one-time event. Rather, these questions should be explored regularly as KPIs are chosen, data is collected and work unfolds.
There is no one set of key performance indicators that all medical affairs teams must use to measure their work. By thinking of KPIs as a framework for understanding efforts and their value, MA teams can adapt as necessary to describe and explain the value of their work.
KPIs for Medical Affairs Success
Johnson & Johnson VP of U.S. Oncology Medical Affairs Luca Dezzani, M.D. recommends a four-step approach (set, define, monitor, refine) when choosing KPIs for medical affairs teams. The first step is to set goals, priorities, and strategies. MA teams may use questions like those outlined above to develop a general sense of what needs to be measured.
The next step is to specifically define the metrics. Dezzani breaks down this process into four categories, or “cornerstones of medical affairs,” to allow teams to focus on building a comprehensive set of meaningful performance indicators. These categories and commonly-used KPIs in each include:
Decision-making based on insights, tracked by timely generation of new understandings based on identifying knowledge gaps, actions taken in response to these insights and feedback from stakeholders.
Data generation and its impact on clinical practice, tracked by types and work in studies, the needs those studies seek to meet, publications and conference presentations, and updates to guidelines and practices.
Use and work within the scientific platform (SP), tracked by developments and updates, actual use of the SP and feedback from stakeholders.
Improved patient outcomes linked to medical education, tracked by the number and type of medical educational activities, incorporation of current scientific data and best practices, and feedback from affected parties.
Once KPIs are selected and defined, steps three and four – monitoring and refining – move hand-in-hand. The insights discovered from the metrics can then be implemented to improve your medical affairs processes, and concurrently help fine-tune your KPI process.
The role of medical affairs teams in an era of big data is a constantly changing one. Teams that take a proactive approach to this change with dynamic KPIs better position themselves and their organizations for success in the pharmaceutical industry, write Loic Plantevin, Christoph Schlegel and Maria Gordian at Bain & Co.
By focusing on each stage of medical affairs work and tailoring KPIs to include both quantitative and qualitative measures, MA teams can generate better understanding and establish their own value.