(c) Jane Chin, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.

Throughout the product life-cycle, key contributions from field medical teams included thought leader identification, competitive intelligence, therapeutic landscape monitoring, clinical site/investigator identification, and facilitating knowledge exchange within the company and between company and its thought leaders.

Throughout the product life-cycle, key metrics from field medical team activities may include outcomes-based measurements including scientific publications and qualitative survey instruments for satisfaction indicators in thought leader interactions, company awareness and perception, and quality/timeliness/completeness of disseminated information. Clinical metrics may include percent of accepted clinical sites recommended by the field medical team.

Field medical activities and MSL metrics across product life cycle

Criticisms of Reach-and-Frequency Metrics

A criticism of “reach-and-frequency” metrics is these metrics are generally associated with field-sales activities, although field-sales activities are tied to short term outcomes of market share change or sales goal attainment.

A reach-and-frequency metric for field-medical activities are not readily tied to short term outcomes to satisfactorily answer the question of MSL program value, and may additionally confer a perception of the nature activities of the MSL team as analogous to field sales. When MSLs are given a role in field-based responses to unsolicited medical queries that can include unapproved (off-label) uses, forcing uniform call quotas on MSLs may encourage solicitous activities from MSLs who need to reach their call quotas.

Reach-and-frequency parameters should be individual to the MSL based on each MSL’s clinical objectives and unique geographical profile, and used as individual performance indicators rather than as a reflection of the entire MSL program value.

In other words, based on the outcomes desired (the “end”) by the MSL program, members of the MSL team may gather executive input and jointly determine objectives that will include appropriate thought leader profiles and interaction frequencies (“means” to the end). To avoid misinterpretation or misuse of reach-and-frequency metrics in MSL programs, many executives still manage by objectives (“MBO”) and demonstrate the value of their MSL programs with attainment of goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (“SMART”).


The rationale behind a Medical Science Liaison Program Metric Consensus initiative is to assess the unique contribution of field-based medical teams across a product life-cycle spectrum, and propose value indicators of MSL program contribution. Rather than dictating metrics to MSL programs, this information allows companies to assess the level of involvement of their field-based MSL program across product development and review associate metrics that are perceived by industry executives as appropriate for and reflective of MSL program contribution. Companies may then customize these MSL metrics recommendations for their own MSL programs through input from internal stakeholders, including those from legal, compliance, regulatory, medical affairs, and commercial departments. MSLQ


Field-Medical Science Metrics

  • % accepted of MSL recommended clinical sites
  • Qualitative survey instruments for Overall satisfaction, Awareness, Perception, Quality/timeliness/completeness of information
  • Outcomes measures including publications, corporate goal attainment (MBO, SMART goals)
  • Timeliness of product launch
  • Qualitative survey instruments specific to projects including Managed care support, speaker support, clinical content development, advisory board support

Field-Medical Science Activities

  • Thought leader identification
  • Competitive intelligence
  • Therapeutic landscape monitoring
  • Clinical site/investigator identification
  • Facilitating knowledge exchange within company and between company and thought leaders
  • Generate awareness for companies new to industry or new to therapeutic category
  • Scientific representation of company at scientific meetings
  • Working with patient advocacy groups
  • Assistance with clinical education, publication, communication, training, and advisory programs
  • Identification of clinical training needs for company to support product launch
  • Support of IIT programs
  • Support of patient registry initiatives
  • Specialized focus on allied healthcare professionals, including NPs, PAs, and clinical pharmacists
March 24, 2019