In 2010, the total volume of information in the world passed one zettabyte, roughly equivalent to one hundred million Libraries of Congresses. In 2018, we surpassed 18 zettabytes. This is predicted to increase to 175 zettabytes by 2025. These are truly staggering numbers which our human minds are not able to comprehend.
In this age of information, competitive advantage is no longer defined by the accumulation of data, but by the power to understand data. Leaders across all industries are investing heavily in sophisticated data models built to deliver actionable insights and clarity from troves of data, much like the blast of a lighthouse’s horn provides direction to ships when the horizon and stars are hidden behind a dense shroud of fog.
Disambiguation is the process by which one establishes order from chaos.
In the not-so-distant past, the Pharmaceutical industry and specifically Medical Affairs relied on expert profiling & consulting companies to deliver insights regarding which experts were driving the advancement of scientific innovation and medical research. Teams of consultants would utilize primary and secondary research, often speaking with known experts to further their understanding and even organizing discussion panels on the subject. At the end of a lengthy process lasting several months and costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, the consultants would deliver a list of 50-100 experts which were recommended as the most relevant experts for the engagement criteria their customer laid out.
As we entered the second decade of the new millennium, consultants realized the power of automated methods, heralding in a new way of working. These methods and tools allowed for much more expansive research, often building repositories of hundreds of thousands or even millions of profiles on the world’s researchers and physicians. However, customers were still faced with slow delivery, a lack of actionable insights, and an increasing error rate in the profiles. Volume was replacing accuracy and relevancy as the age of information blinded profiling providers to the true needs of their customers: clarity and insights in real-time.
Since Congress passed the Physician Payments Sunshine Act in 2010, industry payments to American physicians have been disclosed in a publicly available database, each payment verified and linked to an NPI (National Provider Identifier), making this an easy source for vendors to match to profiles. Industry payments are vital when acknowledging and understanding the relationship between pharmaceutical companies and scientific experts. Imagine a leading public figure such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, responsible for the United States’ public health direction during the coronavirus pandemic, being shown to have strong ties to the pharmaceutical industry when in fact this is not the case (zero payments disclosed by the CMS Open Payment database).
A recent analysis by Monocl of an emerging software profiling vendor with an initial focus on the US market found that only 22% of profiles in their sample group had correct industry payments. Furthermore, it was also revealed that the profiles with incorrect payments were in fact missing 81.36% of industry payments tied to the experts in question. The same analysis also found errors in the profiling of Rising Stars, for example connecting a young researcher with thousands of publications when in fact they were only involved with 40, as well as errors in matching Japanese journals with the correct Japanese authors. Missing or incorrect insights can have a detrimental effect on strategic engagements by connecting research with the wrong expertise, delaying or even derailing much needed progress for improved treatment. Research is global, interconnected, and advancing at a rapid pace. Medical Affairs must act rapidly to proactively engage the world’s experts, and whatever products they partner with should strengthen their ability to do so.
The strategic costs of partnering with a profiling vendor has not been lost on customers.
In a recent conversation with the members of the Medical Affairs department for one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, it was revealed that 3-day internal scoping workshops required by traditional profiling vendors to understand engagement criteria were costing their customers nearly a million dollars in diverted man hours annually on top of the existing license fee. Not only does this archaic approach burden customers with high hidden costs, but it also causes a significant lag in access to critical data for strategic decision making, as the subsequent research period following the workshops lasts more than 3 months. What’s worse, even after delivery was delayed due to unmet criteria, the profiles included inaccurate data and what few insights were provided weren’t real-time, only seeing information refreshed on a periodic basis, often at an additional cost.
Automation capabilities unlocked an immense amount of data, but profiling vendors are having such difficulty delivering insights to their customers that they burden users with lengthy and costly workshops to understand what their customers want. Not only is this costing customers significantly in terms of dollars but pulling specialized medical affairs staff out of the field for days at a time to assist vendors in setting up projects is resulting in lost opportunities and a degradation of expert relationships. Profiling vendors offering bloated databases position their value for Medical Affairs and Pharma as volume is king; the more information provided, the more value the customer receives. However, their continuous failure to understand that relevant, accurate, and actionable insights delivered in real-time completely unrestricted are what the industry yearns for.
The business models of consulting firms and profiling vendors have long dissatisfied customers, providing an ideal environment for disruption spearheaded by innovation and customer-centricity.
Monocl has invested significantly in profile quality which sets us apart from other providers. Leveraging sophisticated machine learning and customer-centric product development focused on pinpointing existing pain points for Medical Affairs and building intuitive solutions, Monocl is rapidly becoming the number one partner of Medical Affairs teams. Whereas profiling vendors have long been the cause of frustration for customers due to their inaccurate profiling methods and lack of actionable insights, Monocl offers the only instant value and real-time solution on the market that delivers a high degree of accuracy across all profiles. This methodology ensures actionable insights delivered when Medical Affairs needs them regardless if they are at the home office, HQ, or out in the field. Monocl’s VP of Global Medical Strategy, Robert Groebel, recently authored an article on evolving the approach to scientific insights to demonstrate value that is highly relevant for anyone considering this subject.
If you would like to learn more about how Monocl differs from your existing solution or you are searching for a product built to empower you and your team to identify and engage experts in the life sciences, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team.