What is Clinically Relevant Thinking?

8 February 2022

What drives our approach to medical communications at Wave?

When reflecting on this question we realised that we are always striving for our programmes to be clinically relevant; founded on solid, compelling scientific platforms that reflect the beliefs of clinicians and are sympathetic to the challenges faced while optimising patient care. A good understanding of the science alone isn’t enough; a thorough understanding of current healthcare professional practice and the attitudes driving treatment behaviour is critical, meaning much of our focus when developing programmes is on building successful collaborations with healthcare professionals.

So, we put a name to the process at our core: Clinically Relevant Thinking. It’s the bedrock upon which we build our medical education strategies and programmes.

How does Clinically Relevant Thinking drive our programmes?

Clinically Relevant Thinking means we focus on creating medical communication programmes which help healthcare professionals make optimal treatment choices and share clinical experiences to improve patient outcomes.

We first establish a programme’s fundamental principles, then build them into the way we work; designing plans based on identifying and addressing key clinical questions rather than presenting extensive data sets. As a result, we dedicate more time to determining the real educational needs of a disease-area and/or product and ensure these maintain a crucial role in our programme development.

To start, we review the key questions clinicians have when considering new treatments. These will vary depending on the disease, but typically they are practically focused. For example:

  • Which patients will benefit most?
  • How do we start treatment?
  • When do we switch treatment?
  • What should we know about monitoring and managing side effects?
  • What do we tell patients about what to expect from the treatment?

With this established, we set about understanding and shaping the broader context: the disease-area picture, clinical story and the clinicians’ perspective. To do this, we listen to the clinicians; not just our advocates or clinical leaders, but generalists and detractors, to ensure we fully understand the barriers and challenges of a programme.

With this groundwork, we tell the story via multichannel programmes tailored to “how” and “where” healthcare professionals are engaging, utilising the most appropriate routes and the most relevant content.

This produces far more integrated digital customer journeys which are tailored to healthcare professionals’ needs and include materials designed around actionable education and bringing customers into this journey though substantial marketing campaigns.

Ultimately, this produces programmes which make sense and resonate with clinicians – because they’re what clinicians want and, more importantly, what clinicians can apply in practice.

How is Clinically Relevant Thinking incorporated by the team?

We asked our teams how they apply Clinically Relevant Thinking day-to-day; it’s more than a process, we incorporate it into our behaviours, too. Each of our departments have a unique point of view.

Client Services

...really focus on putting themselves in the shoes of healthcare professionals and clinicians so they can understand their beliefs and barriers, and identify key areas of unmet needs. They can then apply a ‘Where are we now?’ vs ‘Where do we want to be?’ framework to each scenario based on this understanding.

Our Client Services colleagues aren’t afraid to challenge clients to add the most value to programmes, ensuring they remain as clinically relevant as they can possibly be.

I make sure I understand what is needed for us to get the message across to the target audience; for example, understanding the best channel for communications, or knowing the barriers — Senior Account Executive
I compare the healthcare professionals’ needs against the client’s requirements to deliver clinically relevant activities — Account Director

...weave Clinically Relevant Thinking into their briefs, and then take whatever opportunities they can to work closely with clinicians, engaging with them for feedback to better answer the key questions of a project. Our writers take a step back from the data, looking and thinking about what it means and how clinicians will interpret it. Then, because they’re thinking about clinicians and patients, they can produce clear, actionable content that addresses real needs.

I focus on creating content that is clear, concise and actionable —  Associate Medical Writer
I try to step back from the data and think more broadly about the needs of the target audience — Medical Writer

...ensure the key clinical messages for each material are never lost or dropped; so Wave can produce materials that are clinically relevant and successfully deliver core product messages. Our team of editors also evaluate and assess how well the clinical messages were addressed during a project and apply this information to future projects for continuous improvement.

My job is to think about the bigger picture. I am building my confidence to challenge the team if our core messages aren’t being met — Editorial Assistant
What does Clinically Relevant Thinking look like in action?
A case study on an award-winning webinar programme 

We were tasked with developing education to build advocacy, share practical knowledge, develop confidence and accelerate adoption. Initially we approached it in a very traditional manner; a live broadcast with a chairman and speakers presenting data and case studies, followed by discussions and questions. But we felt we could do better. So, we discussed the content with an international steering committee and identified the programme’s key clinical questions so we could create truly relevant content.

We transformed the programme into a unique, multi-layered and cross-functional format that delivered core education through a variety of live and on-demand channels. This provided clinicians with the information they needed when, where and how they wanted it.

Live online events were produced, featuring evolving topics and guest speakers. These were broadcast through local web pages to drive traffic to available resources, and were supplemented with interactive product training meetings with individual country workshops. A variety of on-demand formats were also included for optimal flexibility:

  • Interactive KOL videos enabling clinicians to explore real-world patient cases and clinical decisions;
  • Directories to connect clinicians with more experienced healthcare professionals;
  • Short animations explaining data simply and compellingly; and
  • Podcasts to suit clinicians on the move.

This produced outstanding feedback:

In summary, we know that taking a Clinically Relevant Thinking approach produces programmes that engage clinicians and address their educational needs and beliefs.

We’ve been collecting evidence proving this for years, and now we want to shout about Clinically Relevant Thinking to the medical communications world. If you’re interested in finding out more, please contact us.