AHM Blog

Featured Post October 5, 2018

Discover the Most Valuable Data Source You’re Not Using

Are you leveraging compliance data to inform critical business decisions about your promotional spending? To improve your educational reach and cultivate deeper engagement with...

December 7, 2017

As the year draws to a close, take this opportunity to evaluate and reflect on your career. The new year offers not only a fresh start, but a chance to build on your professional...

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As the year draws to a close, take this opportunity to evaluate and reflect on your career. The new year offers not only a fresh start, but a chance to build on your professional goals and enhance your knowledge: Did you achieve what you wanted to this year? What opportunities for growth and development do you want to pursue for next year?
It pays to take stock by asking yourself these kinds of questions now so that you can put a plan into place: Life sciences education is a growing, fast-moving field, and the day-to-day management of client needs — evaluating venues, overseeing expense reporting and countless other detail-oriented tasks — can sometimes mean your long-term career goals get pushed to the side.
But, just as HCPs need to keep abreast of the medical and scientific developments they need to inform patient care, so too do professionals in the field of managing HCP educational programming.
One key source of professional development is industry conferences. We went to a few really great events this year that we will be at again in 2018. Dreamforce in San Francisco is great for those who want to learn about the de facto technology standards for the life sciences industry, and CBI’s Life Sciences conferences include some leading-edge insights.
One new conference that we found very helpful and will be at next year is CBI’s Comprehensive Strategies for Managing HCP Interactions, a topic that touches on multiple aspects of client services.
Another conference we found very helpful is CBI’s Transparency & Aggregate Spend, which takes a comprehensive, up-to-date look at the complex infrastructure of state and local regulations on which our compliance-centric platform is based, as well as federal and emerging global regulations for HCP spend reporting. This is another conference we are putting on our calendar for 2018!
In addition to conference attendance, consider if you would benefit from joining or renewing membership in an industry association such as Meeting Professionals International, which can be invaluable for networking and growing your opportunities. Professional associations also offer resources if one of your goals for 2018 is to earn an industry-specific certification like the CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) or CMP-HC (Certified Meeting Professional – Healthcare) designation.
And finally, whatever else you set your sights on for your 2018 professional goals, you should add deepening your knowledge of data analytics to that list.
“Big Data” is a catchphrase that gets thrown around a lot, but the buzzword belies the groundbreaking and granular insights today’s technology allows us to undertake with the information we gather. Acquiring a mastery of the tools that allow us to extract more value from the information we gather is a top priority for all of us — this is how we can remain on the cutting edge in 2018 and beyond.
 

Contributed by:


Grazia Mohren, Senior Marketing Manager, AHM

Passionate about digital marketing, social media, and incorporating new technologies into marketing strategy, Grazia Mohren brings more than 12 years of experience in marketing and public relations, to her role as senior marketing manager at AHM. Prior to joining AHM in 2017, Mohren spearheaded campaigns for hundreds of events and conferences, including Oscar and Golden Globe events, film festivals, product launches, and more.

November 24, 2017

There’s an app for that: Today, this catchphrase is truer than ever in the meetings and events industry. Mobile apps that participants can download and access right from their phones can be a valuable...

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There’s an app for that: Today, this catchphrase is truer than ever in the meetings and events industry. Mobile apps that participants can download and access right from their phones can be a valuable enhancement for life sciences companies’ educational programming.
Having a dedicated event app will improve attendees’ access to conference materials, critical updates and their fellow HCPs — and it’s likely to save you money, as well, since mobile apps can be customized in an almost infinite number of ways to meet the needs of your group, and provide numerous branding and sponsorship opportunities.
If you handle event planning logistics, you’re likely to find that an investment in iOS and Android apps is a better use of resources because it frees up the labor and expense of developing, printing, shipping and distributing paper programs, booklets and other materials.
All of an HCP attendee’s agenda details can be loaded right into the app, along with speaker handouts, maps and transportation information. Some apps are even sophisticated enough to give people turn-by-turn directions using a mobile device’s location-based functionality.
A mobile app also give attendees more flexibility and control with regards to scheduling, since they can not only access this information right from their phone or tablet, but they have the capability to control, update and change their agenda as needed. App functionality generally includes scheduling and appointment-booking tools, and some give the organizer the option to integrate this information with third-party digital calendar platforms.
Another reason apps are preferable to paper handouts is because they can be easily and more cost-effectively updated — there are no extra printing costs if the program changes at the last minute, for instance — and attendees can be informed of any changes to schedules or locations of breakout sessions in real time via opt-in push notifications. Push notifications also foster engagement if the functionality is deployed to remind attendees of their upcoming educational sessions.
From an organizational perspective, a mobile app-enabled event has an edge over conferences that don’t use this technology. Apps can assist and streamline operations such as check-in and seating assignments — no more entryway bottlenecks, or need to stand at the doorway with a clipboard, “directing traffic.”
Event apps deliver a key value-add by helping facilitate networking between participants, which research shows helps to engage HCPs. Apps also offer organizers the opportunity to build in gamification features, which can be used to encourage networking or promote sponsor engagement — and you’ll be able to deliver real, empirical results of that engagement, rather than the “fuzzy math” used to estimate impressions of traditional sponsor signage.
Although a mobile app might seem less personal than a face-to-face interaction, it can actually make things easier for participants if they have an issue or need to reach someone on your team.
Best of all, you don’t need to be a technological whiz to build an app today. The platforms on the market make building a custom event app easier and more accessible than ever — and offer a bevy of options to suit any kind of event you’re tasked with orchestrating.


Contributed by:


Matthew Derner, Director, Strategic Meetings Management, AHM

Matthew joined AHM in 2016 and has 18 years of Life Sciences experience. He leads AHM’s Stragetic Meetings Management (SMM) Department and is responsible for engaging current and prospective clients about our SMM compliant meeting solutions across their organizations. Matthew also leads a team of Event Managers & Coordinators that are responsible for the planning and execution of any meeting type outside of Speaker Bureau. Prior to joining AHM, Matthew has worked for Pharmaceutical Companies as well meeting planning agencies in various roles.

November 9, 2017

Life sciences companies rely on speakers to educate HCPs about their products. These presenters — often esteemed KOLs in their respective fields — are an invaluable link between clients and the medical community; as...

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Life sciences companies rely on speakers to educate HCPs about their products. These presenters — often esteemed KOLs in their respective fields — are an invaluable link between clients and the medical community; as such, these relationships come under a higher degree of regulatory scrutiny today than they might have in the past.
Managing speakers is a multifaceted and complex process: They need to be regularly updated and trained on the material they will be presenting for educational as well as compliance purposes, and all expenses and payments associated with those efforts need to be meticulously gathered and documented, even when they cross disciplines, business units or geographic borders.
Training can take place for many reasons: New therapies are introduced all the time, and HCPs need to be kept abreast of these innovations, as well as developments pertaining to the use and applications of existing products. Training can be as simple as a brief update conducted virtually to a weekend-long intensive curriculum covering a wide swath of knowledge.
Speaker messaging is of utmost importance: Speakers need to be trained to know all aspects of approved pharmaceutical uses for the product on which they are educating HCPs, and — more importantly — they need to know the limits of those uses. If a speaker recommends a drug for an “off label” use while acting at the behest of a life sciences client, that client can be open to penalties.
Therefore, it is imperative for companies to know with absolute certainty that their speakers have received the training they need. Verifying this takes different forms, depending on whether the training takes place virtually or in-person. In-person sessions require real-time badge-scanning to verify that trainees are in attendance, while virtual training uses sophisticated tracking technology for both voice and web connectivity to verify participation.
This all sounds — and is — complicated, but government regulations to which life sciences companies must adhere requires them to track and collect all this data, and more.
Since speakers are compensated for their time and services, the “Sunshine Act” mandates that life sciences companies must report on all transfers of value to speakers undergoing training, a requirement that encompasses everything from honoraria to travel expenses and the cost of meals served during face-to-face training sessions.
Creating and executing compliant speaker training isn’t an insurmountable challenge, but it is daunting for a company whose core competency lies in lifesaving medical devices or critical drug therapies — not logistics, analytics or technology — to do so seamlessly and cost-effectively.
As the pace of pharmaceutical advancement continues to accelerate, more firms are electing to partner with experienced providers of technology, communications and event management. The value proposition these firms offer is ensuring that compliance issues don’t ensnare the content delivery apparatus that informs and educates HCPs throughout the industry.


Contributed by:


Matthew Derner, Director, Strategic Meetings Management, AHM

Matthew joined AHM in 2016 and has 18 years of Life Sciences experience. He leads AHM’s Stragetic Meetings Management (SMM) Department and is responsible for engaging current and prospective clients about our SMM compliant meeting solutions across their organizations. Matthew also leads a team of Event Managers & Coordinators that are responsible for the planning and execution of any meeting type outside of Speaker Bureau. Prior to joining AHM, Matthew has worked for Pharmaceutical Companies as well meeting planning agencies in various roles.

October 27, 2017

When HCPs attend your events, they aren’t just coming for the education, although that is of course a key component. They are also there to seek knowledge from their fellow industry professionals in the...

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Casual Catering Discussion Meeting Colleagues Concept
When HCPs attend your events, they aren’t just coming for the education, although that is of course a key component. They are also there to seek knowledge from their fellow industry professionals in the audience. To that end, a strategic meetings management plan also should facilitate interactivity among participants.
For today’s multi-tasking attendees, this isn’t just a nicety; rather, peer-to-peer networking is a critical value-add that will attract professionally engaged HCPs who prioritize communication — which also just so happens to be the ideal audience for a life sciences client.
Recent studies make it clear: HCPs crave a higher level of participation in programs, so give them the opportunity to build value by connecting with their peers. Do so by incorporating pre-planned icebreaker, team-building or other collaborative activities — whether led by participating HCPs, speakers or professional facilitators — to foster the sharing of professional insights and personal experience. Engaging attendees will both make them feel valued and cultivate an environment where organic interactions can take place.
Peer-to-peer interactions depend on time and space, so make sure you allow for both. Classroom or theater-style seating might be ideal for delivering educational content, but it can make for awkward and limited conversation between participating HCPs. The right setting, though, can encourage professional camaraderie. Set aside a designated space in your venue — break areas can be ideal if they are outfitted with comfortable seating configured in zones so that attendees can face each other and enjoy a modicum of privacy while they chat.
And give them time to connect: Savvy meeting planners actually structure their schedules to allow for longer breaks between sessions specifically so attendees have time to network even after checking email, calling in for messages and taking care of other out-of-office chores.
Another way to encourage peer-to-peer activity is to give attendees tools that will help them identify like-minded participants. Depending on the particulars of your program, you might employ a color-coded system of badges, buttons or stickers that give attendees the option of identifying their skills and interests, or give them the opportunity to share this information during a facilitated icebreaker. Technology can also assist you: If you have a designated mobile app for your event, ask your vendor or developer if they can build in functionality to allow for participating HCPs to connect with one another after the program has completed.
One final note about high-tech tools: They also offer you, the organizer, the ability to track connections made by your attending HCPs. Gathering these metrics will help you establish a benchmark and best practices around this often-overlooked but valuable aspect of life sciences educational programming.
Despite predictions that increased regulation in the form of the Physician Open Payments Program —often referred to as the Sunshine Act — would strike at the heart of face-to-face program activity, the medium continues to grow, even as younger “digital native” HCPs comprise an increasing percentage of participants. This indicates that even young adults are seeking out the peer-to-peer interaction they can only get at in-person meetings.
Contributed by:
Matthew
Matthew Derner, Director, Strategic Meetings Management, AHM
Matthew joined AHM in 2016 and has 18 years of Life Sciences experience. He leads AHM’s Stragetic Meetings Management (SMM) Department and is responsible for engaging current and prospective clients about our SMM compliant meeting solutions across their organizations. Matthew also leads a team of Event Managers & Coordinators that are responsible for the planning and execution of any meeting type outside of Speaker Bureau. Prior to joining AHM, Matthew has worked for Pharmaceutical Companies as well meeting planning agencies in various roles.

October 17, 2017

Life sciences innovators need to approach effective data management not just as a matter of regulatory compliance, but as an opportunity to enhance their return on investment. The dynamic diversity of this industry is...

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Life sciences innovators need to approach effective data management not just as a matter of regulatory compliance, but as an opportunity to enhance their return on investment.
The dynamic diversity of this industry is what makes it such an exciting field, and the key to harnessing that productivity is connecting innovators and thought leaders with HCPs via in-person and digital meeting programs. As this process is spread out across corporations and continents, the organizers tasked with facilitating this transfer of knowledge have an enormous responsibility to capture vast amounts of data and ensure its integrity.
With responsibility for solutions at AHM, I see every day how important it is for corporations to implement a centralized and standardized process for managing this engagement data.
It is no small feat, but it is a critical one. Like the fable of the five blind men and the elephant, companies risk missing the bigger picture if they can’t see a cohesive whole, and leave themselves vulnerable to competitive as well as regulatory challenges. Without a centralized repository for collecting and curating these metrics, life sciences industry participants may be left with a fragmented picture of their initiatives and expenditures.
A primary driver is compliance — different countries have different reporting requirements around interactions in which a transfer of value takes place (and different parameters for defining those values!), and companies have their own internal protocols, which may differ by regions, by divisions, and even by the departments that participate in procurement, facilitation, logistics, and other steps along the way.
Efficient and accurate data management isn’t just important for reducing compliance risk, it is also critical in assuring effective marketing activities. Without these data insights providing information on current activity results, the life sciences industry has no way to develop and improve on best practices. The sum is greater than the whole of its parts, if you will.
Thanks to its robust data and tools — including CentrisDirect™, AHM’s global solution to manage compliance — AHM has a uniquely data-driven view into the trends surrounding HCP engagement and program management. Look for near term announcements as AHM continues to help our customers with solutions to make business processes more effective.


Contributed by:


Susan Hill, SVP, Global Products & Solutions, AHM

Susan joined AHM in June of 2013 and is responsible for the oversight and management of AHM’s Global Business Development and Solutions and Marketing team. With over nineteen years of experience in the Life Science industry, Susan brings experience in business development, product marketing, and new technology investment and optimization.

September 28, 2017

Millennials, a.k.a. Generation Y, are moving into a position of prominence in the workforce: According to the Pew Research Center, they became the largest share of the American workforce in 2015 — and the...

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Millennials, a.k.a. Generation Y, are moving into a position of prominence in the workforce: According to the Pew Research Center, they became the largest share of the American workforce in 2015 — and the fields of healthcare and life sciences are no exception to this trend.
If this challenging and dynamic population isn’t already on your radar, it should be. Millennials, which are roughly defined as people born between the late 1970s and around the turn of the century, have some key hallmarks that shape how they acquire and absorb educational content and other information.
For one thing, they’re the first generation of digital natives. As such, millennials have notoriously short attention spans — they’re primed to absorb bombardment from snippets of information coming at them from every direction, but they can “check out” easily if a topic doesn’t hold their interest.
Growing up with Google at their fingertips, millennials have a looser view of authority and hierarchy than previous generations. They are knowledge-hungry and crave resources to acquire knowledge on their own, but they also value the advice of experts — provided that these authority figures first earn their trust.
A study on millennials in the workforce found that credibility and authenticity are incredibly important factors for engaging this generation. These are qualities that Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) need to emphasize if they want millennials to be receptive to their message.
More so than the Baby Boomers who preceded them, millennials want the companies they interact with to have a mission and purpose. They need a narrative that articulates not only the company’s value proposition, but their own unique role to play.
All of these quirks have profound implications for meeting and event organizers.
Despite the fact that AHM data finds virtual and tele-meetings combined made up just 15% of promotional speaker programs targeting healthcare professionals (HCPs) last year, this generation’s propensity for technology — not as a substitute, but a supplement — to in-person learning means organizers should think twice before abandoning the format. Millennials love having options, so the more touch points you can provide them with, the better; this is the generation, after all, that grew up with hundreds of options just for ordering a morning coffee.
The rise of venue-based meetings — up nearly 20 percentage points between 2014 and last year, AHM found — dovetails with another preference near and dear to millennial hearts: Collaboration. This is a population that loves to work in groups and pool knowledge. Surveys of millennial doctors found that these HCPs believe their peers to be a valuable educational resource — something to keep in mind when designing program content and even when targeting KOLs to reach a millennial audience.
The path to engagement with millennial HCPs may not be as straightforward as it was with their parents, but this generation’s eagerness to learn, willingness to embrace new technologies and openness to collaborative knowledge-seeking gives the industry the chance to build a deeper, more direct bond with this rising population of HCPs.
Source:
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/11/millennials-surpass-gen-xers-as-the-largest-generation-in-u-s-labor-force/
AHM Research


Contributed by:


Susan Hill, SVP, Global Products & Solutions, AHM

Susan joined AHM in June of 2013 and is responsible for the oversight and management of AHM’s Global Business Development and Solutions and Marketing team. With over nineteen years of experience in the Life Science industry, Susan brings experience in business development, product marketing, and new technology investment and optimization.

July 12, 2017

Technology Is Essential Compliance officers indicate that technology and analytics are the elements to successful healthcare professional (HCP) transfer of value interactions, spend compliance processes, and overall HCP engagement management. Modern automation allows for...

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Technology Is Essential
Compliance officers indicate that technology and analytics are the elements to successful healthcare professional (HCP) transfer of value interactions, spend compliance processes, and overall HCP engagement management. Modern automation allows for both consistency and compliance with HCP interactions; however, technology alone does not solve every single challenge that arises with policies and procedures. It’s best practice to consider technology throughout the project-process life cycle with the understanding that technology will be the main enabler.
Partnership Paves the Way
How can Life Sciences organizations acquire and maximize technology to efficiently and accurately collect data, ensure compliance, reduce risk, and consolidate redundant systems? Well, they can start by searching for and partnering with a trusted technology advisor and ensuring that this partner is seated at the table for these important decisions. This advisor may be an internal employee, a trusted consultant, or vendor partner. Second, the organization should recognize that this is a long-term relationship—from ramp up, to implementation, to steady-state—there should be ongoing support, collaboration, and communication throughout the lifecycle and/or program. Third, the organization needs to understand the vendor’s approach to the product and/or platform.
Capabilities Are Key
Shopping for any technology, be it smart phone, laptop, or robust platform suite, entails a comparison of capabilities, features, customization, pros and cons, trial runs, and users’ experiences/reviews, among other aspects. When evaluating vendors’ technologic capabilities as it relates to capturing HCP engagements, consider the following:

  • If this is a baseline technologic product, understand its current capabilities and the vendor’s future roadmap
  • If straying from the baseline technologic product, ensure the vendor is willing to configure to the organization’s needs and what related costs and/or impact might be
  • Develop the requirements and map to baseline; identify gaps and assess costs and/or ability to customize
    • Know there may be features available that are not part of current requirements; keep an open mind as these features may enhance the organization’s business processes
    • Request a detailed walk-through and product demonstration to identify these opportunities
  • Consider vendors’ capabilities for post-implementation ongoing support and enhancements
  • Gather inputs from past experiences and industry colleagues

Taking the necessary time to explore technologic platform offerings, features, and capabilities can help Life Sciences organizations remain compliant, organized, and well equipped for the path ahead, and also realize a return on their technologic investment.
AHM is a leading global provider of software and service solutions designed to manage compliant interactions with HCPs for the Life Sciences industry. For more information about AHM’s full suite of support services, please visit: http://www.ahmdirect.com or email info@ahmdirect.com.

Contributed by:


Lisa Keilty, Global VP of Compliance and Strategic Solutions, AHM

Lisa joined AHM after serving as founder of the Compliance Consulting firm PMC2 and spending over 26 years in the life sciences and meeting management industry. Leading such organizations as Pfizer, Bristol Myers Squibb and Biogen Idec through numerous international projects, financial transparency and reporting requirements, Lisa’s industry expertise has saved Life Sciences and Meeting Management organizations over 30 million dollars. As a member of the Business Development team, Lisa’s primary focus will be Thought Leadership, Demand Generation and Solution Design.

June 29, 2017

Once upon a not too distant time, a well-known UK-based Life Sciences manufacturer was looking to engage a different vendor partner—one that had the technologic offerings and know-how to assist with collection of healthcare...

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Once upon a not too distant time, a well-known UK-based Life Sciences manufacturer was looking to engage a different vendor partner—one that had the technologic offerings and know-how to assist with collection of healthcare professional (HCP) transfer of value interactions, spend compliance processes, and overall HCP engagement management. After meeting various candidate companies, the manufacturer ultimately selected AHM as the preferred vendor partner. What were the key differentiators that solidified this partnership? Technology, for starters. The manufacturer was intrigued by CentrisDirect, which is a state-of-the-art compliance platform suite to collect and consolidate all HCP transfer of value interactions across the enterprise. The other key differentiators included HCP management expertise, dedicated customer service, and proclivity toward ongoing collaboration.
What’s the vitality of this partnership today? According to the Life Sciences manufacturer, field sales representatives “love the vendor’s app” and the technology allows for consolidation of redundant systems and vendors. In addition, the collaboration is highly valued because of the consultation services offered by the vendor. Among the implementation highlights are process-driven and solution-oriented teamwork. The vendor partner is “quick to add planners, when necessary, and provide a flexible solution that allows for configuration of new program types” and “is huge in generating an employee training package.”
Notably, as a result of this partnership, the Vice President of Sales no longer receives escalations for non-compliance issues. So, what are the ingredients to a successful union? Akin to any partnership, expertise, proactivity, trust, organization, collaboration, communication, and education figure prominently. According to the manufacturer, successes were realized, in part, because of the following:

  • Central Operations requested that key stakeholders step back from solution-seeking and rely on the vendor partner to bring its technology and process expertise to develop solutions for them
  • Compliance was integral in the implementation of the core team, and therefore, trusting of decisions made and the end results from the vendor partner
  • A core team was established that represented all key stakeholders and accountability for each discipline, that is, Central Operations, Information Technology, and Compliance
  • Ongoing communication plans with the field force were established and maintained
    • Publish overarching plan and timelines with checkpoint communications along the way
    • Involve the field force in User Acceptance Testing to ensure technology accounts for both sophisticated and less savvy users
    • Establish champion districts or leaders to check in with on a routine basis and establish district rounds for feedback from others
    • Expedite contracting by convening all parties to the table at once; in this case the process was extended until this was completed
  • Provide a comprehensive training package
    • Training Managers are key to further support/assist the field
    • Establish a follow-up training plan to check back in with the field several weeks after launch for feedback and to make refinements
    • Reiterate/highlight key compliance points or changes
    • Provide best practices to guide implementation and best use of the Business Rules compliance engine, CentrisDirect

AHM is a leading global provider of software and service solutions designed to manage compliant interactions with HCPs for the Life Sciences industry. For more information about AHM’s Solution Portfolio, please visit: http://www.ahmdirect.com or email info@ahmdirect.com.

Contributed by:


Lisa Keilty, Global VP of Compliance and Strategic Solutions, AHM

Lisa joined AHM after serving as founder of the Compliance Consulting firm PMC2 and spending over 26 years in the life sciences and meeting management industry. Leading such organizations as Pfizer, Bristol Myers Squibb and Biogen Idec through numerous international projects, financial transparency and reporting requirements, Lisa’s industry expertise has saved Life Sciences and Meeting Management organizations over 30 million dollars. As a member of the Business Development team, Lisa’s primary focus will be Thought Leadership, Demand Generation and Solution Design.

April 13, 2017

Do you know that a day in the life of a meeting professional has a lot to do with alphabet soup? Those that work in and service the life sciences industry are very used...

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Do you know that a day in the life of a meeting professional has a lot to do with alphabet soup?
Those that work in and service the life sciences industry are very used to working with and speaking in acronyms; a kind of endless alphabet soup. Some acronyms are our very own, others are critical to the Life Sciences industry and corporate language more generally. Sometimes acronyms can be annoying but most of the time they save us a mouth full of words and a lot of time. A case in point is new acronym which doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue: IPERP.
What’s that you say? Well, IPERP is shorthand for a very handy mantra that describes what Life Sciences meeting professionals need to manage, constantly: Initiate, Plan, Execute, Report (and Pay!). In action, this is what IPERP looks like…
Initiate — Most meetings have budget constraints, regardless of size, and attendee or meeting type. It is important to define a business purpose or goal prior to commencing the planning. This Initiate phase is critically important when hosting or sponsoring a meeting with one or more Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) in attendance. The rationale for engaging an HCP for any activity is highly scrutinized and must meet the necessary criteria in accordance with local and/or federal government regulations in addition to one’s own organizational guidelines and policies.
Life Sciences companies incorporate an internal approval process as a first step when looking to hold a meeting or event to ensure these interactions or series of engagements comply with all of these policies and guidelines as well as to meet the goals and budget of the program itself.
Companies use off the shelf products or technology to begin this process or may even use a paper form that gets routed for signatures according to signing authority. Having a system or compliance platform to capture the business rationale, list of HCPs, and the budget and goals of the meeting will certainly expedite the approval process. This is also a necessary part of documenting and archiving everything that was done to ensure proper steps were followed. And this must be accomplished and approved prior to the HCP being invited or even contracted.
These paper forms or Meeting Request Forms (MRF), yet another acronym, can take some time to get approved as it makes its way to the proper stakeholders and approvers. Some organizations require multiple approvals and the extra time this requires can leave planner with a very short time to actually accomplish the needed tasks. If something is out of line or out of policy, the request should not be approved until the proper review is conducted or until changes are made to support the relevant policy. While a meeting professional is waiting for the green light to move forward, a proactive approach can be taken by putting a detailed timeline together to ensure the planning team is ready to go once the meeting has been approved.
Plan — Establishing the right foundation with your client during this time is vital to success. Ask key questions of your client or sponsor and review details and expectations with their compliance representative. Determining needs prior to the planning phase will assist in ensuring a successful event and will guarantee that the specific data they need is captured, tracked, and reported on. Once initiation is approved, you are able to plan the event or program, registration can go live and travel can be issued for all meeting attendees, where applicable. Further details in the planning process are now being managed such as the main components of F & B (Food & beverage) AV (Audio-Visual) meeting APP set up, meeting rooms set… and the rest of the familiar “laundry list” that planners know well.
F&B planning sounds easy and fun, but only if you have a calculator handy. Meal caps need to be carefully considered when a HCP is in attendance. Costs per meal cannot exceed the cap per person an organization has agreed to and if/when an attendee is from another country, that country’s meal caps must also be adhered to. Working closely with your hotel partner to come up with a menu that is robust, with plenty of items that fit the needs of all attendees, including special dietary restrictions (kosher, vegetarian, halal, gluten free & food allergies.) is in itself a major task. But it must also fit within the constraints of governing law. It is helpful to start the conversation with your hotel partners early as well as building this into your meeting contract & addendum with the hotel to ensure they can accommodate the caps as well as other needs.
Execute — It ain’t over til it is over….Once on site at the meeting making sure that what you have planned for is actually happening is of critical importance. Deviations from the contracts, meal caps or other activities outlined and approved in your Initiation and planning phase can result in compliance violations and subsequent penalties. While on site, among managing your multiple tasks, various changes and still delivering service with a smile, it’s essential to meet with the hotel and other vendors to review costs daily to make certain the data is correct . This is not only good management but it is vital to the transfer of value (ToV) reporting requirements.
Report & Pay — Once you execute the meeting successfully it’s time to wrap it all up. We all know that many clients want to receive the ToV reporting in different ways. It is best to continuously have a conversation with your client to ensure that you’re using the most up to date method of data capture and the preferred reporting format. Reviewing and submitting all meeting related invoices as well as attendee honorarium and expenses in a timely matter for payment will help expedite the reporting and close out process. It also helps to catch any discrepancies in costs or associated expenditure.
That’s IPERP! Add this acronym to your list and introduce it and include the categories in your team training. This can help create efficiencies, ease and overall best practices! Of course, an additional acronym comes to mind in closing this blog and one that is a favorite — KISS. Keep It Simple Silly!

Contributed by:


Matthew Derner, Director, Strategic Meetings Management, AHM

Matthew joined AHM in 2016 and has 18 years of Life Sciences experience. He leads AHM’s Stragetic Meetings Management (SMM) Department and is responsible for engaging current and prospective clients about our SMM compliant meeting solutions across their organizations. Matthew also leads a team of Event Managers & Coordinators that are responsible for the planning and execution of any meeting type outside of Speaker Bureau. Prior to joining AHM, Matthew has worked for Pharmaceutical Companies as well meeting planning agencies in various roles.

March 22, 2017

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” — This slogan came to mind during the 13th Annual Pharmaceutical Forum co-hosted...

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Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” —
This slogan came to mind during the 13th Annual Pharmaceutical Forum co-hosted by Meetingsnet (@meetingsnet) and CBI, Center for Business Intelligence (@CBI_Conferences) held in Baltimore, Maryland. As winter storm Stella was moving into the area and threatening attendance, I sat wide-eyed in anticipation of the Opening Session where I witnessed the arrival of over 800 attendees, a 27% increase in corporate planners and 20% increase in international attendance from 2016.
Sitting tall and attentive with super-cool meeting analytics devices in hand provided by Educational Measures (@EdMeasures); junior and senior meeting professionals, hoteliers and 3rd party vendors embraced the theme of the conference:

[one_third last=”no” class=”” id=”]Educate[/one_third][one_third last=”no” class=”” id=””]Engage[/one_third][one_third last=”yes” class=”” id=””]Empower[/one_third]

Over three days of general sessions, educational breakouts, and networking events, attendance stayed strong. Committed to completing their appointed rounds…stakeholders in attendance continued to coach one another on best practices, engage in problem solving and empower one another to convey success stories that can assist each organization with addressing the challenges of managing HCP interactions. Based on what I saw and experienced I have chosen to add what I believe was a fourth theme at the conference; and that is Enlighten. For example, one of the opening sessions titled Navigate Meeting Management in a World Full of Risk poignantly illustrated the current world in which we now live and work. The slides referenced the fact that Risk Management is the fastest growing career today and that 48% of meeting professionals surveyed reported an increase in their meeting costs because of the need for increased security — up from 17 % in 2015.
In addition to compliantly managing HCP engagements and managing overall risk, globalization is on everyone’s mind, regardless of which side of the desk you are on. Life Sciences organizations strive to align their processes and centralize data across their organizations through global Strategic Meeting Management Programs (SMMP). During the keynote address, Shaping Our Future — Execute Successful Global Programs and Expand Business Interests Based on 2017 Industry Trends — we were reminded of the critical success factors that must be in place when creating and launching an SMMP. These success factors include strategy governance and policy, change management strategy, the RIGHT resources and near and dear AHM, of course, a global technology platform. Vendors and third parties are aligning globally to provide trusted advice and solutions that drive efficiencies and cost savings while easing the adherence to compliance requirements. Best practices and the pitfalls of designing an SMMP will be further identified in AHM’s soon to be released whitepaper on SMMP.
In reflecting on the overall conference and experiences shared this year, the true value of face-to-face meetings comes to mind. Another statistic highlighted by Meetings Mean Business (@MeetingsMeanBiz) is the fact that 1 hour of face-to-face contact equals to 5 video conferences, 10 phone calls, or 20 emails! Although virtual meetings or a component within your live meetings adds value, nothing can replace the human face-to-face element. It remains the key to building important and lasting relationships.
I attend this conference every year and look forward to doing so in the future. Peers, competitors, colleagues are there and yes — friends are there! Thank you to contributors, and all of the attendees @pharmaforum_cbi. See you next year!

Contributed by:


Lisa Keilty, Global VP of Compliance and Strategic Solutions, AHM

Lisa joined AHM after serving as founder of the Compliance Consulting firm PMC2 and spending over 26 years in the life sciences and meeting management industry. Leading such organizations as Pfizer, Bristol Myers Squibb and Biogen Idec through numerous international projects, financial transparency and reporting requirements, Lisa’s industry expertise has saved Life Sciences and Meeting Management organizations over 30 million dollars. As a member of the Business Development team, Lisa’s primary focus will be Thought Leadership, Demand Generation and Solution Design.