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Activate your evidence

Traditional medical education alone is not sufficient to activate true evidence-based behaviour change

activate evidenceEven in the current regulatory environment, healthcare professionals (HCPs) need to be supported with more active enabling strategies, founded on evidence, if long-lasting change is to occur. Pharma's drive for improved transparency, trust and reputation – if it is to be meaningful – must be underpinned by the day-to-day application of evidence-based practices, including well-balanced medical education and scientific exchange.

This presents a challenge even above and beyond regulatory and compliance imperatives. Studies show that conventional accredited medical education does little to effect real change in clinical practice. This is driven by a focus on knowledge acquisition rather than behaviour change; and change is not easily achieved through passive communication alone – no matter how persuasive the argument.

Even when approved guidelines and strong evidence exists, we still see a well-documented clinical care gap, between what the evidence shows and what happens in practice. Known barriers to behaviour change in this context include: treatment guidelines being perceived as constantly changing or inaccessible; busy healthcare professionals (HCPs) having too much information to assimilate; patients not fitting neatly into a diagnostic 'box'; global guidelines not providing meaningful local patient profiles; and the difference between randomised trial design and real-world practice. Not forgetting the reality of cost constraints and reimbursement!

The concept of 'knowledge translation' has evolved as a way of closing this clinical care gap. It can help amplify evidence and differentiate products in the clinical setting, through an applied framework called the Activation of Evidence.

Activation programmes bring evidence to life by focusing on evidence-driven behaviour change. They combine medical education with disease management, evidence-based medicine, market access and change management to help HCPs implement the latest, most relevant knowledge from the most credible sources, including systematic reviews, randomised controlled clinical trials and real-world studies. These programmes are directed to all stakeholders and overcome barriers to behaviour change by taking participants through the full learning cycle, and on to implementation as appropriate.

The practical components of an Activation of Evidence programme include:

1. Integrated medical education and outreach: much more than dissemination of information, but engagement around the science and its implications for practice

2. Systematic evaluation of new data in the context of existing evidence, treatment guidelines and real-world practice

3. Integrated international to national and local communication, dialogue and scientific exchange

4. Engaging experts in developing practical tools to support implementation of treatment guidelines

5. Patient assessment and evaluation tools to generate evidence-based recommendations

6. Personal visits by specialists and thought leaders in the HCP's own clinical setting

7. Patient-mediated interventions and support programmes, including social media and adherence initiatives

8. Defining real-world practice and tracking the effectiveness of evidence implementation.

By working with HCPs to build Activation of Evidence programmes, pharma can support the implementation of evidence-based practice, and take the high ground in doing so. Through this we will provide clear clinical positioning of new treatments, with compelling evidence and real-world utility meeting the needs of regulators, payers and HCPs. In this way, pharma can bring real and lasting benefit to patient care.


Charlie Buckwell

CMG Worldwide
The Author
Charlie Buckwell
is chief executive of Complete Medical Group Worldwide

Email him at:



7th June 2011


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