The 7+ Competencies of Highly Effective MSLs

What are the most important competencies to be an impactful medical science liaison?

  1. Patient centricity
  2. Communication and behavioral change
  3. Relationships building & partnering
  4. Scientific expertise
  5. Prioritization
  6. Digital & Technology Savvy and
  7. be a NINJA

1.Patient centricity: Patient should be at the center of everything we do. Starting from understanding patient-unmet need, designing patient friendly clinical trials, listening to patient voices, capturing patient reporting outcome (PRO), providing patient support program (PSP) and translating the science in a patient friendly language. It means thinking above and beyond the medicine to positively impact the lives of patients, their families, and the society.
Patient-focus mindset is at the center of everything an MSL do!

2.Communication and behavioral change: At the core, the MSL role is a communication role. Being able to constantly adapt our communication styles and content to the audience. Being able to drive positive behavioral change will the ultimate goal to improve patient outcome.

To excel in communication: The MSL needs to be a master listener.
Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood®;

3.Excellence in relationship building & partnering: Improving the treatment landscape takes dedication, time, and collaboration. Building long term trusted relationship with the various external (and internal) stakeholders is critical to achieve this goal.

 Building long lasting internal & external partnerships are key to the MSL success.
Think Win-Win®

4.Being A Scientific Expert: The MSL is the company Subject Matter Expert (SME). The MSL is seen as a scientific expert both internally and externally. The speed at which new products are coming to the market and the complexity of the science surrounding it (eg Digital therapeutics, different types of -omics, companion diagnostics, gene & cell therapies just to name a few) has dramatically increased the complexity of  the MSL role and require a life-long learning mindset.

The MSL is a life-long learner.

Learn every day, always, forever. Sharpen the Saw®

5.Prioritization: Put First Things First®. Easier said than done. Not everything will have the same level of impact. Being able to identify the projects that will have a meaningful impact and being able to say “no” to the others is key.

More is not always better.
Be strategic, prioritize and be confident in saying “No”

6.Digital literacy & Technology Savvy. The new breed of MSL needs to be proficient in the fast moving digital space. From running virtual asynchronous ad-board, mastering different communication platforms, using social media listening, leveraging big data. The MSL also needs to upskill on digital medicine, digital therapeutics, machine learning and AI.

The MSL of the future needs to embrace the digital revolution

7.MSL needs to be NINJA: Although MSLs are not required to be an expert on all the following topics, it will strongly help you succeed as an MSL.  Upskilling on all aspects of the life cycle of a product from clinical trial protocol, regulatory and reimbursement submission, marketing, data generation, publication, writing business cases, managing budget, governance,  leadership and on and on…

Be curious, Be Proactive®, Be a NINJA 





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