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November 17, 2015

As Mark Twain once noted, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” In a similar vein, people often talk about leadership, but they rarely stop to define what they mean....

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Leadership Series Part 1a - Leadership: We Need It, But What Is It?
As Mark Twain once noted, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” In a similar vein, people often talk about leadership, but they rarely stop to define what they mean.
One of the definitions offered by Webster’s Dictionary for leadership is, “the power or ability to lead other people.” Certainly, that’s a good starting point but begs further development.
For one thing, while leadership may involve management, it is not the same. A manager is someone who focuses on developing and following processes; their role is generally more one of stewardship. Leadership, which of course needs to include the elements of management, is different — it is a more entrepreneurial and imagination-driven activity. Many managers are also leaders, of course, but because leadership is so important it is worth thinking more about what it is as a separate phenomenon.
Justice Stewart Potter’s famous, “I know it when I see it” statement can seem appropriate when seeking to define leadership, since an exact definition can be hard to provide. But it is safe to say that leadership stands apart from management in its effect on others. Those who have leadership traits can often influence others to accomplish goals that they, individually, would not otherwise achieve. Leaders provide vision and spark; they can make the difference between good and great, between mundane performance and true innovation. They break barriers, think outside the box, and initiate real change. And, they unleash the creative potential of others.
Sometimes leaders risk their careers for an idea. John F. Kennedy’s “Profiles in Courage” reminded us of the many Americans in history who took difficult or dangerous stances on an issue. Sometimes a business or institutional leader is called to do the same thing. Stopping a process that could be dangerous, reorienting an enterprise toward a new challenge, rejecting an injustice, or calling forth heroic effort from a team — these are all the actions of a leader. How is the leadership in your organization — what leadership qualities do you embrace or demonstrate?
As AHM continues to strive for excellence in our technology and services, our leadership team continues to look across our organization, turn over every stone to ensure we are not settling for delivering the status quo. Since joining AHM in March of this year, the philosophy of this company is to not be a part of the problem, but to be a part of the solution for our clients. It is easy to settle for the status quo — going against the grain and looking for more isn’t always easy — but it is usually worth it!
Leaders can be popular, admired, or even charismatic. But not always. Sometimes doing the right thing — or the challenging thing — is unpopular or difficult. Having the courage to recognize that a line of business is reaching the end of its growth potential and it is time to move in a new direction; recognizing and finding a way to deal with a dangerous product…These are not easy things. And they are classic “hot potatoes” that most people in an organization would rather avoid. Leaders don’t.
The ability to lead can be taught and improved but it also ties closely to an individual’s own motivations and capabilities. Sometimes it seems to take someone with special talents and outlook to “grasp the nettle” and do the things that are most difficult.
In an era that recognizes the great value of teamwork and consensus, leaders sometimes seem to be swimming against the current. They can even seem disruptive. However, great leaders know how to adapt and inspire; they aren’t threatened by a consensus, merely challenged to better engage with others.
In short, leadership is something organizations need if they are to retain flexibility, adapt to changing times, and find new solutions to emerging problems. Fortunately, when we look at the industry we serve, we see many leaders, some at senior levels and some still rising through the ranks. And that bodes well for the field and, ultimately, for the public at large. Leadership will help to ensure more and better achievements from the Life Sciences Industry and that will lead to a better and more fulfilling life for each of us.
At AHM we are committed to success and the success of our customers. We believe there are many ingredients that comprise leadership — too many to reflect in just one blog. If you have comments, thoughts, anecdotes to share on the topic of leadership, we would love to hear from you. This is Part I in our Leadership series so continue to follow us.

 
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.

November 10, 2015

My recent flight to Shanghai provided plenty of opportunity to reflect on the challenges that exist for pharmaceutical companies operating in China. Top of mind are the logistical challenges in a country of such...

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Compliant HCP Interactions: Tactical Necessity or Strategic Imperative?
My recent flight to Shanghai provided plenty of opportunity to reflect on the challenges that exist for pharmaceutical companies operating in China. Top of mind are the logistical challenges in a country of such scale and diversity and how this impacts compliance initiatives, specifically managing HCP interactions.
With Corporate Integrity Agreements in the US commonplace and the increasing focus on the expansion of transparency reporting initiatives around the world, it seems reasonable to assume that managing HCP interactions in a compliant manner has become a strategic imperative. Or is it?
The Open Payments reporting obligations created equal amounts of concern and frustration in the US, as Life Sciences companies tried to determine the most effective and cost efficient way to consolidate data from multiple disparate systems. Many millions of dollars later, I believe most companies have declared a victory of sorts, with data being submitted as requested to various regulatory bodies, albeit with a certain fragility to the process.
So, with the transparency reporting obligations under control, can’t we all now relax and breathe a collective sigh of relief? Well, not so fast. The journey has only just begun. What may have been viewed as a “tactical necessity” and a somewhat unique requirement of the US market is now spreading steadily across other important global markets. This tactical necessity is rapidly becoming a strategic imperative in many companies, where global or regional Compliance, IT and Procurement teams are trying to control the proliferation of local market initiatives to solve for their own in-country legislation.
Their macro-level challenge is extensive and goes beyond the foundational need for strong master data management. The requirement is for an enterprise level compliance approach to HCP interactions which includes standardization on an IT platform to support both data and process considerations. Add to this a material governance and change management initiative and you will begin to understand the complexity.
This challenge is not unique to China or other emerging markets, it’s global in nature and solutions are best approached from that perspective. Having been fortunate enough to have visited China on other occasions and to have travelled to the birthplace of Confucius, l felt compelled to seek some of his wise words that may be applied to these global compliance challenges. The following seemed to resonate.
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”
When it comes to gaining wisdom about globally managing HCP interactions, the goal must be to achieve through methods one and two. As Confucius concludes, the third method should be avoided, as the bitterness will manifest itself in increased costs and compliance risk!

Contributed by:


Nigel J. Whitehead, CEO, AHM

Nigel J. Whitehead joined AHM as the CEO in 2013. Nigel brings 30 years experience providing technology enabled business solutions to the Global Life Sciences market including senior positions at CSC, First Consulting Group and Cegedim (formerly Dendrite International).

November 4, 2015

Fall is here and it is time to plan for the upcoming year. An important component of Speaker Program goals is having the right number of speakers. Recruiting too few speakers could prevent you...

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How Many Speakers Do I Need?
Fall is here and it is time to plan for the upcoming year. An important component of Speaker Program goals is having the right number of speakers. Recruiting too few speakers could prevent you from reaching your program goals. On the other hand, training more speakers than you will utilize has other consequences—unnecessary training costs and the potential perception that there was no intent to use certain speakers. The mindset should always be to use every speaker who is trained.
I have always believed the best way to determine the right size for a Speakers Bureau is to start with the Total Reach Goal—how many HCP’s you want to reach. From there, determine the Projected Average Audience Size. This estimate can be based either on the average audience size for previous programs for the same product or, in a new product launch situation, on the size of audiences typically seen for similar brands or in the same therapeutic area. From there, you can calculate the Required Number of Programs by dividing the Total Reach Goal by the Projected Average Audience Size.
Over the last few decades I have analyzed and watched closely how many programs a speaker will do over the course of a year. Data from programs for more than 20 pharmaceutical companies has consistently shown that speakers participate in an average of 6-7 programs per year. In looking at the data for AHM’s current customers in 2015, it is projected that each speaker will participate in an average of 7 programs this year.
Of course, there are always circumstances — such as highly specialized products or specialties — where other factors need to be taken into consideration. One example would be transplant medicine.
The final step in determining the right size for a Speakers Bureau, therefore, is to divide the Required Number of Programs by 7 (the average number of programs in which each speaker is expected to participate).
Despite our best intentions, the reality is that, for one reason or another, some speakers will not do any programs. The proportion of such speakers tends to vary from 5% to 15%. The reason for this variance may have something to do with the position of the product in the market, or where it is in its lifecycle. So it is important to add 5%-15% to account for those who may never speak.
You are now ready to plan and budget accordingly for your Speaker Programs in the coming year!

Contributed by:


Claire Rizza, VP, Account Management, AHM

Claire joined AHM in 2006 as a Service Delivery, Senior Director. After launching one of AHM’s flagship accounts she was promoted to VP of Account Management where she has been responsible for multiple large accounts. Prior to AHM Claire spent ten years at a Medical Education Company, she also spent 15 years at Parke-Davis. In total Claire has over 30 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry and 25 years in speakers bureau.

October 28, 2015

That may be the wrong question…because the answer may be “both.” President Calvin Coolidge famously declared that the business of America is business. He wasn’t wrong. In the US we celebrate the entrepreneurs and...

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Is it better to give than to recieve?
That may be the wrong question…because the answer may be “both.”
President Calvin Coolidge famously declared that the business of America is business. He wasn’t wrong. In the US we celebrate the entrepreneurs and tycoons as the superstars of an achievement oriented culture.
Of course, it is also true, that there is more to us as a country and as individuals than the enterprising goals we pursue. Making the world better is something we all try to do through a variety of means; volunteering, donating; leading, inspiring.
In fact, it may just be that getting out of our daily routines and actively trying to help others is good for us, too. Personally, I believe even one special night of thoughtfulness, kindness, and giving not only changes the recipients, but also the givers and doers — in our case the AHMers.
That’s one of the special pleasures of being part of Trick or Suite, a series of local events hosted by the Embassy Suites By Hilton. The complimentary event is provided for the benefit of children with serious illnesses who are too weak or immuno-suppressed to go out trick-or-treating. Thanks to the hospitality company and other corporate participants such as AHM, they will have an opportunity to celebrate Halloween in a safe environment.
Judging by the way AHMers get involved, it’s clear that we have a team with great instincts and lots of motivation. Of course we are not alone. More and more organizations emphasize not just “corporate giving” but also engaging employees in a wide range of worthwhile causes, often locally based.
Trick or Suite may not “bring world peace or solve global hunger,” to borrow an overused and somewhat cynical rejoinder that one often hears, but it does make a difference, a big difference to a small number of kids who would otherwise be “lost” amidst the annual October festivities. And that fact reminds us of how important small acts of kindness and consideration can be. We are also a culture that celebrates and values the individual. And, as a practical matter, it may well be that one of the individuals we help will someday accomplish something remarkable and great. It is a pay it forward strategy. The small investments we provide in making the world a better place will most likely pay handsome dividends down the road.
Furthermore kindness (and leadership and volunteering and charity) are contagious…The acts of one person (or company) can inspire others to do the same.
We would love to hear your stories about volunteer programs you may enjoy or appreciate or, for that matter, suggestions of groups or initiatives that could use a boost! In this case, receiving is just as important as giving…

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.

October 16, 2015

It was nice while it lasted. The US-EU Safe Harbor system, a triumph of diplomacy, commonsense, and rationality, was a simplified process that US companies were able to adopt to comply with the EU...

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It was nice while it lasted. The US-EU Safe Harbor system, a triumph of diplomacy, commonsense, and rationality, was a simplified process that US companies were able to adopt to comply with the EU Directive 95/46/EC on the protection of personal data.
A product of the US Department of Commerce and the European Union, Safe Harbor was a boon to all until earlier this month. Driven by Edward Snowden’s exposure of the NSA’s domestic data gathering activities, the European Court of Justice invalidated the measure (Maximillian Schrems v. Data Protection Commissioner). Of concern was the possibility that under US law, federal agencies could potentially access and utilize the data, contravening European privacy laws.
Of course, Safe Harbor had been intended to allay such concerns in the first place, by preventing accidental information disclosure or loss by US companies holding data from Europe, which generally has stricter laws on the subject. Unanticipated at the time of the Law’s creation was a scenario in which the threat to the data’s privacy would be the US Government, a reality surfaced by Snowden’s actions.
The complete implications of this decision are not yet clear, but already, huge tech companies such as Facebook and Google are facing disruption. Optimists see a potential for governments on both sides of the Atlantic to administer an orderly retreat toward some new common ground, but others see a potential disaster that could result in the loss of billions of dollars in bilateral trade.
For Life Sciences organizations, which have often made large investments in consolidating information technology resources globally, this decision could be particularly painful. For example, companies that transfer personal data — health data in particular — between jurisdictions may now have to stop the practice or constrain it in an as yet undetermined way. This, of course, potentially undoes the data consolidation, not to mention the widespread adoption of compliant public cloud resources for storage and computing. Much of this technology was put in place to meet expanding global compliance guidelines regarding payments to their customers, healthcare professionals. The inability for one region to have visibility that a key thought leader physician is being utilized and paid by another region makes regulated transfer of value reporting a manual effort.
Guidance on this matter is expected from the European Commissioners in the near future. For now, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker released the following statement (reproduced in part) in response to the European decision:
“The court’s decision necessitates release of the updated Safe Harbor Framework as soon as possible. We are prepared to work with the European Commission to address uncertainty created by the court decision so that the thousands of U.S. and EU businesses that have complied in good faith with the Safe Harbor and provided robust protection of EU citizens’ privacy in accordance with the Framework’s principles can continue to grow the world’s digital economy.”
To be sure of what?, the Commerce Department had been working on improvements to Safe Harbor prior to this ruling. Presumably, some of that work can be salvaged and built upon. It is hard to imagine that mutual interest wouldn’t lead to a solution. In the meantime, however, Life Sciences companies must deal with consequence of this European court decision, namely tracking how healthcare professionals are utilized and paid around the world; which is a direct fruit of the ability to share data seamlessly.
No doubt, lawyers will be working double time, and IT people, too, in an effort to avoid running afoul of the law as it stands. The more cost effective world of third-party Software as a Service (SaaS) beckons, with the potential to actually improve security and allow Life Sciences companies to focus on what they do best, namely R&D related to improving healthcare.
In the meantime, as they say, “stay tuned.”


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.

 

October 5, 2015

While the American presidential elections are still more than a year in the future, it is interesting to consider how lively and bruising the combat has been so far. Hilary Clinton, presumed by many...

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Prescription Affordability - Watching the Presidential Race:
While the American presidential elections are still more than a year in the future, it is interesting to consider how lively and bruising the combat has been so far.
Hilary Clinton, presumed by many to be the unchallengeable front-runner for the Democratic nomination, has seen the unexpected rise of Bernie Sanders as a competitor for the nomination, as well as a potential challenge for the nomination from the current vice president Joe Biden. As regards the race for the Republican nomination, the unpredictable and meteoric candidacy of Donald Trump has added a good deal of interest and intensity to the large and contentious field for the Republican nomination and to date, two candidates who were once widely regarded as serious contenders have dropped out. The lengthy process involved in both nominating candidates, as well as the actual election that follows, may yield even more surprises as candidates vie for attention from a fickle electorate. What is especially worth noting is that some of the issues raised during these campaigns can have a direct and profound impact on healthcare and Life Sciences.
This is not mere speculation. A quick review of history shows how important presidential politics and presidential action has been for issues which can have a direct effect on the life sciences industry. For instance, the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 was a key piece of Progressive Era legislation, supported and signed by President Theodore Roosevelt.
During the New Deal era, the FDA was expanded and Congress passed the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FDC) Act of 1938. Although President Roosevelt’s role in these events wasn’t necessarily central, they occurred against the backdrop of a shift that Roosevelt was advocating at the time, to a more activist and involved government.
Some subsequent milestones also tie closely to the agenda of the occupant of the White House. For instance, The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1966, one of the initiatives of President Johnson’s Great Society, required all consumer products, including OTC drugs, to have “true and informative labels”. Johnson also sought the involvement of the National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council in related efforts, in order to measure the effectiveness of 4,000 drugs which had been previously approved between 1938 and 1962 on the basis of safety alone.
More recently, President Obama made consumer healthcare coverage one of the centerpieces of his first administration and with Congress, was able to enact the Affordable Care Act, with all its substantial implications for Life Sciences.
The current cycle of presidential electioneering has already generated a detailed proposal for changing major aspects of the prescription drug market from Democrat Bernie Sanders. According to Sander’s web site, his plan includes six major policies such as enabling Medicare to more aggressively negotiate discounts, allowing prescription drug imports from Canada, eliminating the infamous “donut hole” in Medicare Part D, as well as implementing measures targeting anti-competitive behavior by drug makers.
While it is still very early along the road to November 2016, and Sanders is thought by many pundits to be unlikely to become his party’s standard bearer, Bernie Sander’s proposals are getting a certain amount of visibility and could be serve to influence the policies of other candidates in an effort to galvanize electoral support.
Sanders is far from alone in offering proposals of consequence for the healthcare and Life Sciences industries. For instance, fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton has suggested boosting benefits under the Affordable Care Act, including lower monthly caps on prescription drugs for patients with chronic or serious health conditions. She too would allow prescription drug imports from Canada. On the Republican side, many candidates have proclaimed their opposition to the Affordable Care Act, including Jeb Bush, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former ophthalmologist Rand Paul, and Donald Trump. Each supports some kind of repeal or replacement for the law. Trump, in particular, has suggested “breaking the monopolies” of the insurance companies and returning to “free market principles.”
With such a wide spectrum of views on displays, everyone in the Life Sciences sector should be paying attention to the political discourse. Recognizing that healthcare issues touch nearly every voters, we as an industry should be ready to engage and inform the candidates and the public about the substance of these issues and any concerns that these issues raise, so an informed debate can occur.

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.

September 24, 2015

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Dreamforce, the annual week-long conference held by Salesforce. The event delivered over 1,500 sessions for more than 150,000 attendees covering topics across the professional spectrum. Why...

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Dream Force
Last week I had the opportunity to visit Dreamforce, the annual week-long conference held by Salesforce. The event delivered over 1,500 sessions for more than 150,000 attendees covering topics across the professional spectrum.
Why was I there? At AHM I am responsible for the Product Engineering team that builds the AHM CentrisDirectTM product, a compliance platform for healthcare professional interactions built on the Salesforce platform. Because of that foundational connection, Dreamforce is very important to what we do — an opportunity to take what we know about the needs of the Life Sciences industry and gain fresh insights into the growing capabilities of SalesForce.

I spent a good part of my time at the conference in an area dubbed the “Developer Zone”. This area focused on training, and provided hands on exposure to the latest tools, technologies, and architectures provided by the Salesforce platform. Salesforce has invested heavily into a developer training program branded as “Trailhead” and put a lot of emphasis on increasing awareness of this valuable resource which is free to anyone interested in the platform: https://developer.salesforce.com/trailhead.

One of the primary reasons AHM chose to build CentrisDirectTM on the Salesforce platform is the rapid pace of innovation it provides. For example, Salesforce delivers three platform releases a year that expand the number of features available to ISV partners like AHM. That, in turn, helps us to build new features that are relevant to our clients. Dreamforce helps to make us aware of the full breadth of the platform and allows us to dig into the details for features we think will have the largest impact on our product and clients.
At last year’s Dreamforce, I was inspired by a session on how to apply continuous integration in the Salesforce cloud environment. We leveraged what we learned there and now have a fully automated continuous integration process that streamlines our product development process. This year I focused on attending sessions geared toward independent software vendor (ISV) partners, new platform technologies, and the platform “roadmap.”
This year I was especially excited to learn about some new platform features that will provide us with additional tools for configuration management: Branch Orgs and native version control. These features will give us additional flexibility and control of our software code management and release process.

Many of the sessions I attended focused on the new Salesforce Lightning Experience user interface, which provides not only a new look and feel, but a new way to develop and deliver user interface components that can be shared between both mobile and web applications. I believe this new technology will have a huge impact on CentrisDirectTM and will allow us to converge our mobile and web user interfaces over time.

There were also numerous sessions on development patterns and best practices that my team will take back and apply at AHM. All in all, Dreamforce was a great opportunity to network with Salesforce MVPs and the Salesforce development thought leaders that were presenting. If you weren’t able to attend Dreamforce this year, you can find video for many of the sessions here: https://www.salesforce.com/video
While we wait for the next Dreamforce, we will be hard at work imagining — and delivering — a better product for all our clients!


Contributed by:


Bryan Lilley

Bryan has been leading the development of AHM’s software product portfolio for over 12 years. His 20+ years in the software industry brings experience across a broad set of enterprise platform architectures, from the days of client server to our current world in the cloud.

September 17, 2015

In introducing this year’s Compliance Week annual conference, held back in May, editor & publisher Matt Kelly described the event (the 10th, in sequence), as “a chance to pause and see the larger picture...

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Compliance internal
In introducing this year’s Compliance Week annual conference, held back in May, editor & publisher Matt Kelly described the event (the 10th, in sequence), as “a chance to pause and see the larger picture of your profession and to share that experience with your peers.”
Certainly, it was a chance for observing, reflecting, and sharing. Who could miss the growth and development of the field since the first conference? From both a personal and an AHM perspective, the conference made it clear how much growth has occurred in a decade. Sure, the problems continue to change and never seem to get any easier, but in the aggregate, both the regulated and the regulators have grown more professional; clearer on their roles and responsibilities — and more sophisticated in understanding each other and the important issues at stake.
That maturity is a reflection of the fact that compliance has become deeply embedded in business and organizational practice. It is no longer a topic that draws blank stares. Everyone “gets” compliance and those of us engaged in it play key roles in the entities for which we work. Compliance has become part of the culture.
Of course, being part of our respective “corporate cultures” merely indicates that we have long-since achieved legitimacy. But that is something that must be continually earned and propagated and requires development of truly having a compliance culture. People will probably never love compliance. But with continual effort, they can be taught to practice compliance.
We were also reminded at Compliance Week 2015 of some unfinished business: getting visibility for the chief compliance officer. Other C-level folks have had to earn their “place at the table,” and it took time. Chief Information Officers (CIOs), for example, took a decade to gain credibility and real organizational clout. It’s about time every organization made the CCO a central player in management!
Effectiveness is what we aim for. We were reminded at the conference that assessing effectiveness must come from facts; being able to measure and document what we do relative to the activities an organization conducts is a necessity if we are to actually deliver compliance.
Of course, we can all continue to argue about what effectiveness really means — and we should. In fact, one of the first sessions on the agenda this year was titled, 10 Years On: Are We Defining ‘Effectiveness’ Correctly?” Effectiveness is still ill-defined and will always vary from one organization to another. But we need to continue to seek benchmarks and sound points of comparison.
Furthermore, we are forever chasing a moving target. Although some compliance drivers have become familiar, Anti-Kick Back, the specifics are always changing and new drivers are always emerging. Nothing can change that, but good people and good processes will ensure that an organization keeps up with the times and keeps its edge. A takeaway: make sure your programs are designed to evolve so that they aren’t stuck solving yesterday’s challenges.
AHM, of course, aims to support compliance and help shape best practices. We are privileged to work with some of the best organizations around and we anticipate that a decade in the future, when the 20th Compliance Week conference is held, we will be able to look back on an equally interesting and impressive record of shared accomplishment.
 

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.

September 10, 2015

August 17 – 19, 2015 brought approximately 350 industry colleagues to Washington, DC where, Center for Business Intelligence (CBI) hosted the 9th Annual Transparency and Aggregate Spend Conference. My inaugural view into this conference...

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August 17 – 19, 2015 brought approximately 350 industry colleagues to Washington, DC where, Center for Business Intelligence (CBI) hosted the 9th Annual Transparency and Aggregate Spend Conference. My inaugural view into this conference was over five years ago, as a sole proprietor who had just hung her compliance consulting shingle out for the first time. Back then, there were a lot of the big guys in attendance: Cegedim, Deloitte, Huron, Porzio and ironically even AHM. With my knees wobbling together as a first time, independent attendee, I timidly made my way into the exhibit hall after picking up my name badge. Why was I hesitating? What was my dread? I had been working within the pharma industry focused on HCP Interactions for over a decade and had certainly heard of the then looming Sunshine Act before! What was I afraid of?
During that conference, I recall a small number of solution providers being in attendance, each proclaiming THE answer on what it was and how to prepare for Sunshine, (now the Open Payments Program). Attendees enjoyed and were inspired by the systems, screenshots, potential process flows and purchasing incentives for manufacturers. We were all wide-eyed! For me, I wondered how I was going to decipher this if there is no clear definition of requirements. Where was the line in the sand; the proverbial stake in the ground outlining what to do? Then it occurred to me – this is what I was afraid of! Fear of the unknown! And ya know what? I was not alone. Joining me in my apprehension were giant companies and experienced consultants. They, too, were trying to understand exactly where CMS was going to end up regarding their data points and collection requirements.
It was quite a different experience at this conference in 2015! As we know, CMS defined requirements in 2012 and data collection began August 2013. The life sciences industry has supplied over 2.6 million lines of identifiable general payments and CBI delivered a valuable and educational conference for the ninth year in a row! Topics of discussion during the preliminary workshop included Standardizing Processes for Validating and Verifying Data as well as one of our own, when our Global Director for Solutions Management collaborated with the panel on Leveraging the Customer Master. With over 70 attendees in this pre-conference workshop, organizations of all sizes and complexities fired off questions and collectively problem-solved using specific examples such as collecting data outside of spend sources, technology available to capture TOVs (transfer of values) across the pipeline, attesting data and scenarios of dispute resolution.
Data attestation and best practices to reduce compliance risk was another hot topic, suggesting a tiered approach involving a CMS Attester, Business Owner, Certification of Data Source and a Periodic/Ongoing Review. This best practice results in a definition of ownership, provides organizational accountability and identifies potential issues quicker and at a more granular level, allowing for improved accuracy and completeness.
A strong theme throughout the conference was globalization — and the challenges with unique country and HCP identifiers. Each country having their own rules around the identifier to capture is causing angst, inefficiencies and redundancies. A standard, best practice approach is certainly needed — but when and how are the questions that need to be answered. An additional trouble spot under the global umbrella was consent management for doctors in Europe. The speakers were suggesting that not only is soliciting consent from HCPs challenging but keeping the consent is not easy. HCPs can revoke their consent to share data whenever they want to, so companies need to consider an annual consent management strategy. There was a suggestion that if sales reps asked for the consent to share their data they would most likely receive it as compared to other people in the organization who many not interact with the rep as much. Additional coverage on CBI 9th Annual Transparency and Aggregate Spend can be found here: http://www.cbinet.com/conference/agenda/pc15156#.VeXOvPlVikr
Experiencing the development and path of Open Payments to date and looking to the horizon of global transparency, I can’t help but think of five years ago and appreciate the true pioneers and leaders from all stakeholder categories: life sciences manufacturers, HCOs, HCPs, industry associations and of course, solution providers who collectively thought out of the box, managed the unknown and put that stake in the ground leading us now towards a best practice for transparency.
At CBI and other conferences I’ve seen a strong desire among attendees to simply be “in the know” regarding practices among peer organizations. This is particularly evident when comparing audience engagement. The sessions presented by pharma company employees almost always generate the greatest level of interaction. Sometimes these folks know each other, sometimes they don’t, but regardless they are simply curious about other company’s experiences and how their “colleagues” are reacting to and addressing common industry problems. We have a lot of work to do still in perfecting in regards to financial transparency but collaborations and knowledge sharing which occur at these conferences are certainly paving the way!
Stepping back, I am taken by how all of this has evolved based on mutual concern and perhaps some enlightened self-interest. Subject matter experts built and then refined processes and technology, even when it was difficult to discern how best to proceed. Rather than being stymied by the fear of the unknown, we worked together, shared ideas, and built solutions together. In the words of Babe Ruth, “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” That sounds like the lesson we have all learned.


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.

September 2, 2015

With Dreamforce just around the corner — Salesforce’s annual showcase, which draws over 100,000 people annually to the city of San Francisco — I have been pondering the value of in-person meetings and events....

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Disclaimer


With Dreamforce just around the corner — Salesforce’s annual showcase, which draws over 100,000 people annually to the city of San Francisco — I have been pondering the value of in-person meetings and events.
In our technology-saturated age — when faces, voices, ideas and information reach us instantly from across the globe — great gatherings of people, and even small person-to-person visits, can seem a little antique and, some might say, simply too much trouble and expense. However, I think that attitude is mistaken.
Dreamforce is a big event for AHM since Salesforce is the platform on which our technology is based and, although it is a large investment to attend, we believe in the value of meeting face-to-face with our Salesforce team, other partners and customers. It is a key to our growth and success. I firmly believe that the benefits gained of seeing individuals, exchanging a handshake and or a laugh and “bonding” however briefly, is a key element in developing strong and productive human relationships. Person-to-person meetings spark serendipity, create new opportunities, and expand and deepen whatever connections we have formed through other means. In other words, they are the foundation of a good, lasting business relationship!
AHM shares this belief. It is why we make significant investments each year in supporting and attending industry conferences. What you get out of the events is usually out of proportion to what you put into them.
On a personal note, my belief in the value of face-to-face is reinforced when I watch my teenagers cocooned in their technology and observe the level of discomfort they have when they need to speak a word over a phone call, much less participate in a face-to-face interaction. It honestly frightens me. That threat to the current youth generation, which I feel needs those traditional skills in order to build strong relationships and eventually take on leadership roles, is really the same challenge “we” face.
Taking the time to make direct, personal connections with others in our industry ensures that what we do the rest of the time matters and is really attuned to our colleagues, far and wide.
Of course, for AHM, the challenge is additionally complicated by the fact that we enthusiastically support both kinds of interactions — traditional, live, face-to-face meetings as well as those that are virtual. We have adopted with the industry supporting events that are virtual and those that are live, and although there has been speculation that technology would eliminate the need for the live interactions, we have not found this true. The industry has settled on a combination of live and virtual events, driven by the business situation, to interact with their customers. And we know that the ease and the economics of the latter are of vital importance; it would be unrealistic to even consider doing away with our new tools for communicating and sharing. But sometimes, it is absolutely worthwhile to step away from our screens and keyboard and reconnect in the real world.
 

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.