The key learnings from the changes in the working environment during the pandemic that will help MA in the future include:
Anticipating and addressing the changing information needs of HCPs in real time .
Gaining expertise in areas beyond therapy such as evolving guidelines, government regulations, and recommendations of global and local associations.
Priming and equipping the medical information department for the sudden spike in the need for scientific information and inquiries.
Reducing the “global to local” turn-around time with agile cross-functional and cross-affiliate collaborations.
Leveraging multi-channel engagement models and at the same time overcoming webinar and digital fatigue by introducing differentiating and interactive features such as polls and break-out sessions [6, 7].
Exploring sources of agile data generation by using real-world analytics [8, 9].
Apart from the key learnings, MA teams would need to hone specific skills and embrace innovation to be capable to meet the expectations of various stakeholders. These capability building attributes would require an exponential enhancement in the existing skill set, while a few of them would require a radical shift in the approach of working (Fig. 2).
Exponential Enhancement of Existing Skill Set
Adopting Omni-Channel Engagement by Building on a Digital Event Backbone
Medical education programs conducted virtually will continue to play an important role in knowledge dissemination and enhancement for HCPs. Medical affairs teams should direct their efforts to enhance this digital experience by exploring opportunities beyond didactic webinars such as:
Group discussions with peers.
Access to medical information in the webinar platforms.
Access to accreditation programs and certifications.
Online quiz, contests, and gamification.
The challenges towards achieving this experiential outcome could be related to inadequate connectivity, complexity in navigating the deployed platform, and content overload, which needs special attention and course correction, if required.
The pandemic stimulated several organizations to collaborate to respond to the drastically changing environment. In the new normal, this also must be pursued. Some of the areas where the industry can work together are co-opting the service model along with the product-based model, co-organizing medical awareness/education programs, and deployment of data platforms and in capability building exercises within the pharmaceutical physician community. Medical affairs can be an instrumental force in managing and developing such partnerships with other organizations in line with the internal compliance and legal frameworks.
Evidence Generation in Real-World Settings
At the onset of the pandemic, many MA organizations had to instantly support real-word evidence generation studies and investigator-initiated studies in patients with COVID. In the post-COVID-19 scenario, the emphasis on real-world evidence and investigator-initiated studies is likely to persist and amplify. Medical affairs will need to be familiar with multiple data platforms, means of collecting real-world data (which includes electronic health records), connected systems including wearables, regulations around real-world studies, designing, analyzing, and interpreting results, and effective communication of real-world evidence.
Radical Enhancement of Existing Skill Set
Further to the exponential enhancements outlined above, there is a need to radically build upon the following competencies.
Technological Expertise 
This is a growing requirement for the MA professionals in the future as technological evolution is driving the transformation in treatment patterns and HCP behaviors. Apart from using digital channels for scientific communication, it involves understanding the application of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analytics.
Beyond the Pill Mindset
With a growing emphasis of patient centricity, MA teams need to think beyond the product and embrace the service model that would augment the product and ensure optimal outcomes for the patients. Medical affairs team should be subject matter experts of the medical offerings that will come under the scope of the service model and consider developing content around the same.
Agility, Adaptability, Collaboration 
To be successful in the current scenario, which brings with it changes in the system of working and new expectations from HCPs, MA teams will have to be agile, quick in adapting to the changing working environment, embrace cross-functional collaborations, be apprised of developments in the external environment, assess the impact of situations, and provide new approaches and ideas to improve the quality of care. They will also need to focus on business leadership and strategic vision coupled with a need to assimilate the current learnings and adapt these to future use both within and outside the core medical domain.