August 18, 2020  

Companies have many factors to consider when switching from in-person to online events.

Much of the corporate world is still feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the life sciences industry is no exception. For companies in this sector, one major point of concern stems from organizing present and future speaker programs with contracted key opinion leaders (KOLs).

In January 2020, the majority of KOL speaker programs would have been held in person; however, stay-at-home orders and social distancing protocols have moved these events online. In fact, a recent Cutting Edge Information webinar poll showed that most webinar participants are moving more than 80% of their upcoming speaker programs to an online format.

As companies make this shift, they have important decisions to make. First is the type of webinar or video conferencing platform to use. Most platforms have similar capabilities, but slight differences can mean that some options are more suitable than others. One example is the level of interaction an audience can have with the speaker and vice versa. Some teams may choose to prioritize audience feedback while others might opt for robust presenting capabilities. More conventional variables, such as cost, security and bandwidth also determine the best fit.

Another aspect to consider before conducting speaker programs online is the level of compensation. Eliminating travel for online speaker programs definitely factors into the payment a KOL receives for a given event. Determining necessary set-up time will vary too, depending on the size of the program and subject matter. Despite these changes however, the service that a contracted KOL provides is the same as an in-person event, so hourly FMV rates should remain consistent with those from 2019 and early 2020.

Other factors, such as a KOL’s schedule or speaker program content, also influence the move from in-person to online programs. The foremost decisions, however, should be payment levels for KOLs and platform selection.

Do you have compliance questions or concerns regarding web-based or in-person speaker programs? Click here to contact Cutting Edge Information.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Todd Middleton is a senior research analyst at Cutting Edge Information. In this position, he provides qualitative FMV information for in-house and external use to ensure compliant HCP engagements. As an analyst, Mr. Middleton affirms that accurate data, in combination with topical research, can ensure successful life science company compliance. He is a graduate of the College of Charleston.

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