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Medical Information Teams and Call Center Management

Abstract

Overview

Sales forces and MSLs may interact with physicians, but medical information teams and call centers answer tens of thousands of inquiries each year. This team acts as an essential point of contact for audiences that vary from medical professionals to patients - not to mention internal clients and stakeholders.

While effective medical information teams embrace patient-centric attitudes, these teams must also work to increase their visibility within the pharmaceutical company. Medical information is a valuable resource for colleagues who know how to leverage the team's expertise. This team acts as a repository for all product information and reference clinical data, positioning them to support not only field forces, but also market access and medical affairs teams.

Of all medical information team responsibilities, call center management remains the most important and costly. These teams must work to ensure that call centers represent the company in the best way. Call centers must be outfitted with the best standard response documents, effective technology, and adequate staffing and budget so that they can evolve to meet the needs of today's changing client base.

Align medical information teams to support internal functions throughout the company. Leverage medical information's unique abilities to inform medical affairs and promotional teams, and to support company-wide library services.

Explore best practices for medical information responsibilities from standard response creation to call center management. See how top-performing companies ensure that all medical information inquiries are answered quickly and accurately.

Measure and react to key performance indicators to improve call center efficiency and increase customer satisfaction. Boost efficiency and customer satisfaction by tracking call center measurements, such as turnaround time, that give a full overview of call center performance.

Table of Contents

9 Executive Summary

  • 13 Study Methodology
  • 14 Study Definitions
  • 16 Medical Information Call Centers: Four Principles for Success

27 Medical Information Team Structure and In-House Staffing

  • 29 Locating Medical Information Teams within the Medical Affairs Function
  • 38 Medical Information In-House Staffing and Leadership

45 Medical Information Team Responsibilities

  • 47 Developing and Disseminating Standard Response Documents
  • 65 Tracking Sources of Medical Information Requests and Responding to Elevated Inquiries
  • 78 Providing Copy-Review Services
  • 81 Monitoring Medical Information Call Centers
  • 86 Library Services, Drug Safety and Other Medical Information Team Responsibilities

91 Medical Information Team Budgets and Outsourcing

  • 114 Outsourcing Medical Information Call Centers

125 Medical Information Call Centers Staffing, Budgets and Performance Tracking

  • 127 Call Centers Staffing
  • 144 Medical Information Call Center Budgets
  • 151 Call Center Performance Measurement

KEY METRICS

Chapter 1: Medical Information Team Structure and In-House Staffing

Chapter Benefits

  • Create more visibility for the medical information team within the organization to promote a patient-first culture.
  • Establish a central resource for medical information that serves all related teams.
  • Position med info at the same level as other medical affairs subgroups.
  • Enable greater cross-functional support.
  • Put the right information into the hands of the right users.
  • Structure your medical information groups to embrace globalization.
  • Staff teams to handle complex medical inquiries.
  • Proactively adjust staffing for inquiry volume and work load.

Chapter Data

  • 8 charts focused on medical information teams and staffing:
  • Medical information FTEs at headquarters and affiliates
  • Percentage of all companies with centralized medical information groups
  • Number of separate medical information groups in decentralized structures
  • Alignment of decentralized medical information groups
  • The medical affairs organization at one company
  • Departments that medical information reports into
  • Level of executive leading the medical information group

Chapter 2: Medical Information Team Responsibilities

Chapter Benefits

  • Develop standard response documents that clearly and concisely communicate medical information to the appropriate audience.
  • Understand your audience, and be prepared to address their concerns and questions.
  • Establish better patient care as the end goal of every standard response document.
  • Outfit field forces to document and submit unsolicited requests.
  • Track medical information requests from field forces to increase team efficiency and compliance.
  • Empower medical information teams to approve promotional copy and provide reference support to commercial groups.
  • Manage library services within medical information teams to conduct more efficient literature searches.
  • Establish a process to monitor drug safety and report adverse events.

Chapter Data

26 charts focused on medical information teams' standard responses, requests, and responsibilities:

Medical Information Standard Responses

  • Number of medical information teams providing written responses to inquiries
  • Period for review/update of standard response documents
  • Number of written responses disseminated monthly per FTE at US call centers and at ex-US call centers

Information Requests

  • Topic of medical information requests (top 20, top 50, small/biotech)
  • Percentage of requests by healthcare professionals and consumers (top 50, small/biotech)
  • Percentage of requests made through field forces (top 20 headquarters and affiliates, top 50, small/biotech)
  • Percentage of requests initiated through the following channels (top 20 headquarters and affiliates, top 50, small/biotech companies)
  • Percentage of requests by healthcare professionals and consumers (top 20 headquarters and affiliates)
  • Percentage of written responses delivered per standard inquiry channel (top 20 headquarters and affiliates, top 50, small/biotech)

Other Team Responsibilities

  • Percentage of companies with public websites housing medical information documents
  • Percentage of medical information groups responsible for documenting incoming medical requests
  • Percentage of companies that house library services within medical information

Chapter 3: Medical Information Team Budgets and Outsourcing

Chapter Benefits

  • Plan medical information budgets and align spending with emerging needs.
  • Learn which departments and functions fund medical information teams.
  • Benchmark medical information budgets across headquarters and affiliates over the last three years.
  • Shift internal resources to address changing needs as products move through their lifecycle.
  • Explore the benefits of in-house and outsourced call centers.

Chapter Data

28 charts focused on medical information funding, budgets, and outsourcing:

Funding

  • Percentage of companies that fund medical information team through related departments
  • Average percentage of medical information budget coming from related functions at company headquarters and company affiliates

Budgets

  • Medical information team budgets and year-over-year change for headquarters groups (2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013)
  • Medical information team budgets and year-over-year change for affiliate groups (2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013)

Chapter 4: Medical Information Call Centers Staffing, Budgets and Performance Tracking

Outsourcing

  • % of headquarters teams using outsourced and in-house call centers
  • % of affiliate teams using outsourced and in-house call centers
  • % of headquarters budgets outsourced: 2010, 2011, 2012
  • % of affiliate budgets outsourced: 2010, 2011, 2012

Chapter Benefits

  • Explore US and Ex-US call center staffing and operations.
  • Staff call centers with capable employees and provide regular training to drive compliant, effective service.
  • Examine the benefits of advanced call center technology and automation.
  • Benchmark in-house and outsourced call center budgets in the US and worldwide.
  • Learn which performance measurements to track to improve call center performance and increase customer satisfaction.

Chapter Data

  • 45 charts focused on medical information call centers. Metrics are provided for both US and Ex-US call centers:

Call Center Employees

  • Staffing levels
  • Total call load per FTE (monthly)
  • Education level for typical call center employees

Call Center Operations

  • Call centers daily hours of operation
  • Call centers days per week of phone coverage
  • Medical information teams offering on-call services after hours
  • Times on-call services are available
  • Level of interactive voice response (IVR) system in place
  • Automated delivery response systems use for specific kinds information requests

2012 Call Center Budgets

  • Total call center budgets
  • Budgets per FTE
  • Budgets for outsourced call centers
  • Budgets for in-house call centers

Call Center Performance Metrics

  • Feedback mechanisms used by medical information teams
  • Performance measurements among different company 50, small/biotech)
  • Inbound calls per month
  • Inbound calls per FTE per month (outsourced and in-house
  • Target vs. actual turn-around times
  • Average abandonment rates
  • Average customer satisfaction ratings
  • Average hold times
  • Outbound calls per month
  • Ratio of outbound calls to inbound calls
  • Cost per call

CHARTS AND GRAPHICS

Executive Summary

Medical Information Call Centers: Four Principles for Success

  • 21 Figure E.1: Number of FTEs at US Call Centers
  • 21 Figure E.2: 2012 Budgets: US Call Centers
  • 22 Figure E.3: Total Call Load per FTE (Monthly): US Call Centers
  • 23 Figure E.4: 2012 Budgets per FTE: US Call Centers
  • 25 Figure E.5: Call Center Performance Measurements Collected: All Companies

Medical Information Team Structure and In-House Staffing

Locating Medical Information Teams within the Medical Affairs Function

  • 31 Figure 1.1: Percentage of All Companies with Centralized Medical Information Groups
  • 32 Figure 1.2: Number of Medical Information Groups at Decentralized Companies
  • 33 Figure 1.3: Alignment of Decentralized Medical Information Groups
  • 34 Figure 1.4: Reporting Function for Medical Information Group
  • 35 Figure 1.5: Company B's Medical Affairs Organization

Medical Information In-House Staffing and Leadership

  • 39 Figure 1.6: Numberof Medical Information FTEs at Company Headquarters
  • 40 Figure 1.7: Number of Medical Information FTEs at Company Affiliates
  • 42 Figure 1.8: Level of Executive Leading the Medical Information Group

Medical Information Team Responsibilities

Developing and Disseminating Standard Response Documents

  • 47 Figure 2.1: Medical Information Teams Providing Written Responses
  • 52 Figure 2.2: Period for Review/Update of Standard Response Documents
  • 55 Figure 2.3: Number of Written Responses Disseminated Monthly per FTE at US Call Centers
  • 56 Figure 2.4: Number of Written Responses Disseminated Monthly per FTE at Ex-US Call Centers
  • 57 Figure 2.5: Topic of Medical Information Requests at All Top 20 Companies
  • 58 Figure 2.6: Topic of Medical Information Requests at All Top 50 Companies
  • 58 Figure 2.7: Topic of Medical Information Requests at All Small/Biotech Companies
  • 60 Figure 2.8: Percentage of Written Responses Delivered Through Communication Channels: Top 20 Headquarters
  • 61 Figure 2.9: Percentage of Written Responses Delivered Through Communication Channel: Top 20 Affiliates
  • 62 Figure 2.10: Percentage of Written Responses Delivered Through Communication Channels: Top 50 Companies
  • 63 Figure 2.11: Percentage of Written Responses Delivered Through Communication Channel: Small/Biotech
  • 64 Figure 2.12: Percentage of Companies with Public Web Sites Housing Medical Information Documents
  • 65 Figure 2.13: Percentage of Medical Information Groups Responsible for Documenting Incoming Medical Requests

Tracking Sources of Medical Information Requests and Responding to Elevated Inquiries

  • 68 Figure 2.14: Percentage of Requests by Healthcare Professionals and Consumers at Top 20 Headquarters
  • 69 Figure 2.15: Percentage of Requests by Healthcare Professionals and Consumers at Top 20 Affiliate
  • 70 Figure 2.16: Percentage of Requests by Healthcare Professionals and Consumers at Top 50 Companies
  • 71 Figure 2.17: Percentage of Requests by Healthcare Professionals and Consumers at Small/Biotech Companies
  • 74 Figure 2.18: Percentage of Requests Made through Field Forces at Top 20 Headquarters
  • 75 Figure 2.19: Percentage of Requests Made through Field Forces at Top 50 Companies
  • 76 Figure 2.20: Percentage of Requests Made through Field Forces at Top 20 Affiliates
  • 77 Figure 2.21: Percentage of Requests Made through Field Forces at Small/Biotech Companies

Providing Copy-Review Services

Monitoring Medical Information Call Centers

  • 82 Figure 2.22: Percentage of Requests Initiated through the Following Channels at Top 20 Company Headquarters
  • 83 Figure 2.23: Percentage of Requests Initiated through the Following Channels at Top 20 Company Affiliates
  • 84 Figure 2.24: Percentage of Requests Initiated through the Following Channels at Top 50 Companies
  • 85 Figure 2.25: Percentage of Requests Initiated through the Following Channels at Small/Biotech Companies
  • 86 Figure 2.26: Percentage of Companies that House the Library Services Function within Medical Information

Library Services, Drug Safety and Other Medical Information Team Responsibilities

Medical Information Team Budgets and Outsourcing

  • 91 Figure 3.1: Percentage of Companies that Fund Medical Information Team Through the Following Departments
  • 92 Figure 3.2: Average Percentage of Medical Information Budget Coming from the Following Functions at Company Headquarters
  • 93 Figure 3.3: Average Percentage of Medical Information Budget Coming from the Following Functions at Company Affiliates
  • 95 Figure 3.4: Medical Information Team Budgets at Company Headquarters: 2010
  • 96 Figure 3.5: Medical Information Team Budgets at Company Headquarters: 2011
  • 97 Figure 3.6: Percentage Change in Medical Information Team Budgets at Company Headquarters: 2010-2011
  • 98 Figure 3.7: Medical Information Team Budgets at Company Headquarters: 2012
  • 99 Figure 3.8: Percentage Change in Medical Information Team Budgets at Company Headquarters: 2011-2012
  • 100 Figure 3.9: Percentage Change in Medical Information Team Budgets at Company Headquarters: 2010-2012
  • 101 Figure 3.10: Medical Information Team Budgets at Company Headquarters: 2013
  • 102 Figure 3.11: Percentage Change in Medical Information Team Budgets at Company Headquarters: 2012-2013
  • 104 Figure 3.12: Medical Information Team Budgets at Company Affiliate: 2010
  • 105 Figure 3.13: Medical Information Team Budgets at Company Affiliate: 2011
  • 106 Figure 3.14: Percentage Change in Medical Information Team Budgets at Company Affiliate: 2010-2011
  • 107 Figure 3.15: Medical Information Team Budgets at Company Affiliate: 2012
  • 108 Figure 3.16: Percentage Change in Medical Information Team Budgets at Company Affiliate: 2011-2012
  • 109 Figure 3.17: Medical Information Team Budgets at Company Affiliate: 2013
  • 110 Figure 3.18: Percentage Change in Medical Information Team Budgets at Company Affiliates: 2010-2012
  • 111 Figure 3.19: Projected Change in Medical Information Team Budgets at Company Affiliate: 2012-2013
  • 114 Figure 3.20: Percentage of Medical Information Teams at Company Headquarters Using In-house Call Centers

Outsourcing Medical Information Call Centers

  • 115 Figure 3.21: Percentage of Medical Information Teams at Company Headquarters Using Outsourced Call Centers
  • 115 Figure 3.22: Percentage of Medical Information Teams at Company Affiliates Using Outsourced Call Centers
  • 118 Figure 3.23: Percentage of Budget Outsourced at Company Headquarters: 2010
  • 118 Figure 3.24: Percentage of Budget Outsourced at Company Affiliates: 2010
  • 119 Figure 3.25: Percentage of Budget Outsourced at Company Headquarters: 2011
  • 120 Figure 3.26: Percentage of Budget Outsourced at Company Affiliates: 2011
  • 121 Figure 3.27: Percentage of Budget Outsourced at Company Headquarters: 2012
  • 122 Figure 3.28: Percentage of Budget Outsourced at Company Affiliates: 2012

Medical Information Call Centers Staffing, Budgets and Performance Tracking

  • 127 Figure 4.1: Number of FTEs at US Call Centers

Call Centers Staffing

  • 128 Figure 4.2: Number of FTEEx-US Call Centers
  • 130 Figure 4.3: US Call Centers Total Call Load per FTE (Monthly)
  • 130 Figure 4.4: Ex-US Call Centers Total Call Load per FTE (Monthly)
  • 132 Figure 4.5: Acceptable Education Level for Typical Call Center Employees
  • 134 Figure 4.6: Daily Hours of Operation: US Call Centers
  • 135 Figure 4.7: Daily Hours of Operation: Ex-US Call Centers
  • 136 Figure 4.8: Days per Week of Phone Coverage: US Call Centers
  • 137 Figure 4.9: Days per Week of Phone Coverage: Ex-US Call Centers
  • 138 Figure 4.10: Medical Information Teams Offering On-call Services after Regular Business Hours
  • 139 Figure 4.11: Times On-call Services are Available
  • 141 Figure 4.12: Level of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System in Place: All Companies
  • 142 Figure 4.13: Automated Delivery Response Systems Used for the Following Medical Information Requests
  • 144 Figure 4.14: 2012 Budgets for US Call Centers

Medical Information Call Center Budgets

  • 145 Figure 4.15: 2012 Budgets: Ex-US Call Centers
  • 146 Figure 4.16: 2012 Budgets per FTE: US Call Centers
  • 147 Figure 4.17: 2012 Budgets per FTE: Ex-US Call Centers
  • 148 Figure 4.18: 2012 Budget: Outsourced US Call Centers
  • 149 Figure 4.19: 2012 Budget for In-house US Call Centers
  • 149 Figure 4.20: 2012 Budget for Outsourced Ex-US Call Centers
  • 150 Figure 4.21: 2012 Budget: In-house Ex-US Call Centers

CHARTS AND GRAPHICS

Call Center Performance Measurement

  • 152 Figure 4.22: Call Center Performance Measurements Collected: All Companies
  • 153 Figure 4.23: Call Center Performance Measurements Collected: Top 20
  • 154 Figure 4.24: Call Center Performance Measurements Collected: Top 50
  • 154 Figure 4.25: Call Center Performance Measurements Collected: Small/Biotech
  • 155 Figure 4.26: Call Center Metrics Tracked (2009)
  • 156 Figure 4.27: Inbound Calls per Month: US Call Centers
  • 157 Figure 4.28: Inbound Calls per Month: Ex-US Call Centers
  • 158 Figure 4.29: Inbound Calls per FTE per Month: Outsourced US Call Centers
  • 159 Figure 4.30: Inbound Calls per FTE per Month: Outsourced Ex-US Call Centers
  • 159 Figure 4.31: Inbound Calls per FTE per Month:In-house US Call Centers
  • 160 Figure 4.32: Inbound Calls per FTE per Month for In-house: Ex-US Call Centers
  • 162 Figure 4.33: Target vs. Actual Turn-Around Times: US Call Centers
  • 162 Figure 4.34: Target vs. Actual Turn-Around Times: Ex-US Call Centers
  • 163 Figure 4.35: Average Abandonment Rates: US Call Centers
  • 164 Figure 4.36: Average Abandonment Rates: Ex-US Call Centers
  • 166 Figure 4.37: Average Customer Satisfaction Ratings for US Call Centers
  • 167 Figure 4.38: Average Customer Satisfaction Ratings: Ex-US Call Centers
  • 168 Figure 4.39: Feedback Mechanisms Used by Medical Information Teams
  • 170 Figure 4.40: Average Hold Times: US Call Centers
  • 171 Figure 4.41: Average Hold Times: Ex-US Call Centers
  • 172 Figure 4.42: Outbound Calls per Month for US Call Centers
  • 173 Figure 4.43: Outbound Calls per Month: Ex-US Call Centers
  • 174 Figure 4.44: Ratio of Outbound Calls per Inbound call: All Call Centers
  • 175 Figure 4.45: Cost per Call
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