Importance of KOL Analytics in the Healthcare domain

A Key Opinion Leader (KOL) is an influencer, who is trustworthy due to his/her proven experience and expertise in a particular field. In healthcare, these influencers could be hospital executives, physicians, healthcare professionals, patient advocacy group members, researchers, and so on.

Because Key opinion leaders are derived from such a broad range of roles and backgrounds, it can be challenging to discern who these thought leaders are. These individuals might have recognized themselves in one or more of the following ways:

  • Addressed a national conference or event
  • Published their research in a medical journal
  • Engaged in a significant number of clinical trials
  • Appointed as a board member within a respected organization
  • Treated or diagnosed a high volume of patients in a specific specialty area

Importance of Key Opinion Leaders in Healthcare:

KOLs play a very significant role in influencing the opinion of various stakeholders in the healthcare sector. The reach and impact of KOLs’ opinions are directly associated with creating the right influencer pool.

KOLs not only provide insight into a specific disease state, including existing treatments or areas of continued research, but can also help in clinical trial designs, product improvements, and go-to-market messaging based on their experience with various stakeholders.

Pharmaceutical and medical device companies might also leverage their relationship with KOLs in the development process and gain buy-in for a product or service in their network.

Traditional vs Digital KOLs:

Based on their presence KOLs can be broadly classified as traditional or digital experts.

Traditional KOLs often share thought leadership by publishing their research or speaking at conferences.

Digital Opinion Leaders use social media channels to share information and collaborate with peers. Perhaps it’s even more important for them to connect with healthcare audiences and share information than to produce expert information.

Both traditional and digital KOLs often engage in events as speakers due to their influence on the audience.

KOL Analysis:

Key steps involved in KOL analysis:

KOL Identification: This is done either by conducting a survey or by identifying important persons in Articles, Magazines, Newspapers, Journals, and Conferences

KOL Profiling: Desk-based research is performed for tracking activities like publications, scientific conferences, congresses, medical associations, and clinical trials. Creating KOL profiles may include physicians’ names, educational background, affiliation, Congress attended, publications, association memberships, etc.

KOL Tracking involves tracking clinical trials, PubMed, media sites, and CME.

KOLs Influence Mapping: Identifying who is influential in a therapeutic area and rating these key opinion leaders according to their level of influence and interest

Conclusion:

KOLs effect on influencing the behavior of fellow healthcare professionals is gaining importance; hence, Healthcare organizations are increasingly focused on understanding the KOLs’ profiles, behaviors, and engagement outreach. Detailed and effective KOL analytics can help the companies identify these attributes, which in turn would help them develop new strategies and effectively communicate them to their target audiences, thereby ensuring effective execution and leading to a considerable impact on patient lives.