I think that I should become an Orthodontic Key Opinion Leader…
I’ve taken my bows and my curtain calls
I am now rapidly approaching full retirement and I need to maintain my income and number of overseas lecturing engagements. Perhaps I should become a Key Opinion Leader?
I have discussed potential changes in my career before. I have thought about becoming a Snake Oil Salesman and decided that this was a step too far. But, should I become a Key Opinion Leader? I have seen them speak and looked at their posts on Facebook and it looks as though they are having a great time. But what do they do?
The definition of a Key Opinion Leader is
“Doctors who influence their peers practice. Including but not limited to their treatment behaviour. They give lectures promoting products and are frequently paid for their time”.
“Key Opinion Leaders are often chosen for their high prescribing habits rather than their knowledge”.
I want fame and fortune and everything that goes with it
I have looked at these definitions and decided that I am not there yet. So what do I need to do to satisfy my ambitions?
First, I need to really get involved with one orthodontic company. I will buy a lot of their products. I will get to know the company representatives and I will offer to do presentations on their products. Hopefully, they will notice me and make me a KOL so that I can
sell their products educate people.
I will also need to forget all the science and evidence base that I have learnt (assuming that I learnt this when I was in training). I shall put all this to the back of my mind so that I can promote our product.
When unfavourable research on our product is published, I will ignore it. I may try to criticize the research, but I will find this difficult because I have forgotten my research knowledge. However, when someone publishes favourable research, I will promote it without any criticism. Even if our company funded it and it is poorly done.
People may challenge me about the research on our product. I will tell them that we are currently working up projects and they will be published soon…..
We are the Champions!
I will appear in slick videos of me being on stage with loud music, flashing lights, and “walls of teeth” with our product. I may even be asked to line up with the other KOLs on stage, so that the delegates can worship at our feet. We will be like an all-conquering sports team. We are “powerhouse” speakers.
I will rock the house…….
When I am asked to speak at orthodontic conferences, I will start talking about the subject that the conference has agreed. However, after about five minutes into my talk, I will change the emphasis and start to talk about our product. Even when it has nothing to do with the presentation. I will be passionate about my new education role and blessed to be honoured as a KOL.
No time for losers
We will post up pictures of my KOL life on social media. I will be sitting in business class seats, dreamily looking at computer screens or sitting on exotic beaches with my KOL chums after a hard day of selling our product and our great company.
Will I sleep at night? Yes, it is only the Snake Oil Salesmen who cannot sleep at night…..
Postscript…Its no bed of roses..
Since I published this I have had several comments suggesting that I am being unfair to most KOLs. This was not my attention and I simply wanted to draw attention to the practices that I have observed over the last couple of years in a light hearted way. I am sorry if I have offended anyone.
Emeritus Professor of Orthodontics, University of Manchester, UK.