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7 Reasons You Need a Plan for Managing HCP Speakers

Here’s an excerpt from a new book educating planners and suppliers on the terminology, compliance and ethics issues, and other concerns when designing events for life-sciences companies.

Just because you’ve contracted and managed speakers before doesn’t mean you know exactly what you’re doing when it comes to speakers who are healthcare providers. That’s clear from the excerpt below from the new book How to Plan Medical Meetings and Events, co-authored by life-sciences meeting professionals at Meetings & Incentives Worldwide and Pat Schaumann of Schaumann Consulting Group.

Among other concerns, planners need to consider regulatory compliance, continuing medical education credits, and an HCP’s scientific expertise. The new book lays out the basics of these HCP speaker issues as well as many other life-sciences-specific meeting topics, with a focus on educating planners and suppliers who have less than three years of medical-meeting experience. The book includes test questions, key terms, and international considerations in every chapter as a learning resource for any experience level.

The following excerpt, reprinted with permission, provides seven points that address a test question later in the book that asks, “Why is it important to develop a comprehensive plan for managing HCP speaker contracts and payments?”

In the realm of HCP speaker contracting and management for meetings, several key considerations have emerged in recent years. They reflect the evolving landscape of regulatory requirements, transparency initiatives, and changing industry dynamics. Here are some of them:

Increased Regulatory Scrutiny: Regulatory bodies, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA), have implemented stricter guidelines for HCP engagements. These regulations aim to ensure transparency, avoid conflicts of interest, and prevent undue influence on prescribing practices. As a result, speaker contracting and management practices must align with these regulations, including clear disclosure of financial relationships and adherence to spending limits.

Compliance and Transparency Initiatives: There is a growing emphasis on compliance and transparency within the pharmaceutical and medical-device industries. Companies are adopting comprehensive compliance programs to ensure adherence to regulations and ethical standards. This includes implementing technology solutions to track and report HCP engagements, capturing and disclosing financial transactions, and implementing systems for managing speaker contracts.

Digital Engagement and Virtual Meetings: The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of virtual meetings and digital engagement platforms. Some HCP speaker programs have transitioned to online formats, enabling remote participation and widening access to a broader audience. Virtual meetings can offer flexibility, potential cost savings, and some reduced logistical challenges, and are likely to remain a significant component of HCP engagement.

Focus on Scientific Expertise: There is a shift towards engaging speakers based on their scientific expertise and thought leadership rather than purely their speaking skills or popularity. Pharmaceutical and medical-device companies are seeking speakers who can provide meaningful and unbiased scientific content to health care professionals. This trend aligns with the emphasis on evidence-based medicine and the need to enhance educational value in speaker programs.

Data-Driven Insights: Organizations are leveraging data and analytics to gain insights into the effectiveness and impact of speaker programs. By analyzing data on speaker performance, attendee feedback, and engagement metrics, companies can refine their strategies, improve program outcomes, and optimize resource allocation. Data-driven insights also support compliance efforts by enabling monitoring and auditing of speaker engagements.

Collaboration and Strategic Partnerships: Collaboration between pharmaceutical companies, medical societies, and health care institutions is becoming more prevalent in speaker contracting and management. Partnerships enable shared expertise, pooled resources, and the development of standardized processes. These collaborations foster best practices, facilitate compliance with regulations, and enhance the overall quality of speaker programs.

Continuing Medical Education (CME) Accreditation: HCP speaker programs increasingly seek accreditation from CME bodies to ensure educational rigor and facilitate health care professional participation. Compliance with CME accreditation requirements adds credibility to the programs and helps demonstrate the commitment to high-quality education. Companies are aligning their speaker contracting and management processes with CME standards to facilitate accreditation.

Related education is planned for Sunday, March 24, 2024, in connection with Pharma Forum, March 24-27, 2024, at the Tampa Marriott Water Street. The pre-conference Medical Meeting Planners (MMP) certificate program, hosted by Meeting Professionals International, will cover many topics from the book, and is similarly geared towards medical-meeting professionals with less than three years of experience.

“After the industry reset of Covid, there was a tremendous shift in the medical meeting space that welcomed many individuals from different disciplines,” says Jill Gallagher, vice president, event management services at M&IW. “The book was created out of a need to quickly and thoroughly educate these new and new-to-this-industry planners on the basics, but we have identified that many industry veterans have benefited from this book and the MMP course as well.”

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