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Medical Science Liaisons and iPads make Ideal Team for Interactions with Thought Leaders, New Study Shows

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Nov. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In a trend that many see continuing through 2015, the pharmaceutical industry continues to add Medical Science Liaisons (MSLs) to the medical affairs organization. Despite this growth in MSL staffing, some companies have been slow in updating their MSL onboarding training programs to reflect the presentation and communication skills that are needed to succeed in the marketplace.

iPads have become a critical component of MSL presentations and therefore need to be part of any training program for medical field team members.

A study by Best Practices, LLC found that the training format plays an important role in shaping the call quality that MSLs will have when using an iPad. A quarter of study participants who reported great improvement in call quality employed a combination of live-in-class and home study as part of their MSL training; other companies mainly used distance learning.

The iPad - with its wide-ranging capabilities - has become a principal tool for enhancing Medical Science Liaisons' interactions with thought leaders. In addition to allowing MSLs to run educational animations, iPads serve as an excellent way to manage interactions with KOLs across multiple geographic locations and therapeutic areas. While the iPad brings many attributes to the table, its use also comes with challenges such as issues around security and CRM integration.

Topics addressed in "The iPad: How MSLs Use it to Deliver Science and Data to HCPs" include:
  • Training
  • Content Delivery and Usage
  • Syncing Tablets with CRM Systems
  • Security and Compliance Concerns
  • Measuring Effectiveness
  • Challenges and Best Practices

The study found that training is a critical part of making the iPad a successful investment for MSLs. Two-thirds of respondents chose training related activities as one of the top three best practices to ensure success.

While 92 percent of MSLs use iPads to present data to KOLs, only 12 percent receive training on presentation skills, according to the study.

Best Practices, LLC engaged 25 Medical Affairs leaders at 18 companies through a benchmarking survey instrument. All participants share leadership and oversight of Medical Science Liaison (MSL) groups at their companies.

To learn more about this report, download a complimentary report excerpt at

For related research, visit our Best Practices, LLC Web site at


Best Practices, LLC is a leading benchmarking, consulting and advisory services firm serving biopharmaceutical and medical device companies worldwide. Best Practices, LLC's clients include all the top 10 and 48 of the top 50 global healthcare companies. The firm conducts primary research and consulting using its comprehensive proprietary benchmarking tools and analysis. The operational insights, findings and analysis form the basis for our Benchmarking Reports, databases and advisory services to support executives in commercial and R&D operations.

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