A key opinion leader (KOL) is a trusted, well-respected influencer with proven experience and expertise in a particular field. In healthcare, these thought leaders could be physicians, hospital executives, health system directors, researchers, patient advocacy group members, and more.
Because KOLs come from such a wide range of roles and backgrounds, it can be difficult to discern who these thought leaders are. These individuals might have distinguished themselves in one of the following ways:
- Spoken at a national conference or event
- Published their research in a medical journal
- Participated in a significant number of clinical trials
- Held a position as a board member within a respected organization
- Treated or diagnosed a high volume of patients in a single specialty area
Physicians may distinguish themselves as a key opinion leader by finding new treatments for patients with a rare disease and publishing their related research in a peer-review medical journal.