The Role of a Medical Information Specialist
Pharmaceutical medical information is a broad term that entails an extensive amount of drug or product data for both on- and off-label uses. The activities of a medical information department revolve around the creation of fair and scientifically balanced materials for patients and health care professionals, including publications, dossier development, and promotional review committees.
A subset of medical information includes reactively responding to unsolicited product questions from external requestors. Pharmaceutical companies have dedicated informational call centers staffed with medical information specialists (MISs). These professionals are product specialists who interface with clients (both the medical community and the public) to provide concise, accurate, and non-promotional data in a timely manner.
It is not uncommon for the MIS to use multiple channels, including email, letters, or even video chat, to communicate. However, a typical day consists of answering clients’ drug information questions verbally through live telephone conversations. This requires phone etiquette, such as tactful oral communication skills and active listening, in order to be successful.
In addition to responding to and documenting calls in compliance with regulatory and legal demands, the MIS also identifies and captures adverse event information and product quality complaints. Depending on the life cycle of the product, an MIS may assist with clinical trial recruitment and patient assistance programs. MISs also routinely attend medical congresses and scientific meetings. Not only do these experiences enhance the MIS’s scientific knowledge, but they also provide the client a face-to-face exchange of medical information with the MIS.
MISs are generally pharmacists or nurses who have many years of related experiences and/or drug information residency backgrounds. More often than not, MISs specialize in one therapeutic area for one company. However, a portion of the MISs at Med Communications have a unique role. With Med Communications’ non-dedicated model option, one pharmacist may be responsible for providing medical information for several pharmaceutical companies. This model provides benefits to both our MISs and clients, as it allows us to offer our clients greater flexibility and cost savings while helping our employees to diversify their skill sets.
MISs are vital to Med Communications as they possess the clinical expertise to communicate complex product knowledge and directly fulfill the needs of our clients and their customers.
Contact Center Health Care Professionals Are Key in Delivering Quality Medical Information
The call center is the epicenter for service in many organizations, as it is the hub for inquiries, concerns, and feedback that come directly from patient, caregiver, and health care professional customers. Ensuring high-quality customer interaction is key in the call center, both to provide accurate and consistent answers for customers and to achieve customer satisfaction and regulatory compliance.
An important element of call center quality is customer service. Med Communications is based in Memphis, the heart of the southern United States, a place known for its hospitality, and in Portugal, one of the friendliest countries in the world. All call center staff are thoroughly trained on customer service and regularly evaluated for customer interaction quality.
An even more important element of call center quality is the selection of staff. In the Med Communications call center, only health care professional staff respond to medical information program inquiries. Our MISs’ deep knowledge of pharmaceutical products and the health care system fosters trust among customers who are health care professionals, and makes communication with patients and caregivers easier as well.
Using only health care professionals as MISs for a medical information program provides many benefits:
- Efficient, effective customer service. Our MISs are already familiar with the real-world experience of working at the pharmacy or hospital, and they understand challenging issues and their urgency, such as infusion problems, device malfunctions, and the environments where these situations occur. The needs of health care professionals can be addressed immediately without further triage to a more highly trained specialist, increasing both efficiency and the caller’s satisfaction with the company.
- Knowledgeable support for physicians, pharmacists, or nurses. Our MISs have experience practicing in various settings, such as community or retail pharmacies and hospitals, so health care professional customers feel that they are talking to a peer. There is no need to explain medical terms or science, as customers might need to with a less experienced specialist.
- Credibility for patient and caregiver customers. Our MISs have experience administering medications, explaining side effects, and helping with copay card assistance, and are thus familiar with supporting patients and caregivers.
- Faster, more seamless training and call center program startup and implementation process. Our MISs’ medical background means they have a deeper understanding of medical information than staff whose experience lies in other areas, which means less background information is necessary during training.
- Experience working with pharmaceutical data. A background in health care means our MISs understand clinical trial data and endpoints and are comfortable discussing this information with patients, health care professionals, and clients.
- High-quality interactions. Because of their background in the health care profession, our MISs score high marks in both customer satisfaction and regulatory compliance with minimal errors. Across all contact center clients, the Med Communications contact center quality score, which measures quality of service, routinely exceeds 99%. Hiring experienced health care professionals and training them well makes this possible.
Our clients expect quality service, and Med Communications’ high standards help us deliver on our clients’ business goals. Our experienced health care professional MISs understand pharmaceutical products and communicate medical information about pharmaceutical products better than call center specialists from other backgrounds. There are no shortcuts; a high-quality medical information interaction with a customer requires a high-quality MIS. Med Communications takes pride in providing that high quality of service to our clients and their customers every day.
In order to serve a broad range of client needs, Med Communications call center also staffs non-health care professional personnel, known as Medical Information Assistants, for handling non-medical pharmaceutical customer inquiries.