By Mark Schoeman

When this pandemic began, we understood that it was going to have a significant impact on the pharmaceutical industry, but we’re just now realizing the full impact. Clear Point Health created and distributed a survey to key opinion leaders (KOLs) in medicine, and we received one hundred and twenty responses from healthcare providers around the country. These KOLs represent approximately 15 to 20 therapeutic areas and overall, about a third were currently treating COVID-19 patients.

Major Shifts in KOL Engagement Preferences Due to COVID-19

The survey asked KOLs how likely they were to engage virtually or digitally with patients, medical science liaisons, other physicians or healthcare workers, pharmaceutical representatives, and other parties in a professional capacity. The results tell us a lot about where the industry is heading in the next few years. As a benchmark, we utilized data we collected back in 2018 regarding similar research questions to observe the effect that COVID-19 is having on the opinions of these KOLs.

Here is a summary of our findings from these two surveys:

2018 Survey

  • 30 percent of respondents actively want to engage virtually
  • 30 percent of respondents do not have a strong opinion for or against engaging virtually
  • 40 percent of respondents are against engaging virtually

2020 Survey

  • 55 percent of respondents actively want to engage virtually. This is a 25 percent jump since 2018
  • 25 percent of respondents do not have a strong opinion for or against engaging virtually. This is a five percent drop since 2018
  • 20 percent of respondents are against engaging virtually. This is a 20 percent drop since 2018

In the span of two short years, the attitude of KOLs toward engaging virtually with industry has changed significantly. With the new hygiene concerns brought up by COVID-19, KOLs have become more open to and accepting of virtual communication made possible by tools like Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime.

Telemedicine Skyrockets

Before the outbreak, many health systems saw a very low rate of use for telehealth in providing routine care. In a study published in May of this year, figures show that before the outbreak, telehealth visits accounted for less than one percent of the total visits. By April of 2020, this percentage had spiked to 70 percent and the numbers only continue to grow.

The federal government eased HIPAA requirements, and simultaneous changes to medical provider liability, state licensing laws, and quality standards have made comprehensive telehealth visits more readily available to patients. Since then, the telehealth industry has seen massive growth that has no end in sight. In 2020 alone, the telehealth market is estimated to experience an increase in demand of 64.3 percent.

This is only the beginning of a massive paradigm shift in the healthcare industry, and it’s imperative for medical practices to adapt, and make changes in response to this worldwide pandemic. Clear Point Health is here to help your business navigate the unfamiliar, quickly-changing landscape we all find ourselves in. Contact us today to learn how we can help you modernize your practice, provide exemplary service to your patients, and expand your business.



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