May 8, 2018

Facilitating audience engagement is a top priority at educational meetings, allowing them to network between themselves as well as with your speakers and educators. Today, there are more resources than ever that allow for...

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Facilitating audience engagement is a top priority at educational meetings, allowing them to network between themselves as well as with your speakers and educators. Today, there are more resources than ever that allow for HCPs to create the kind of authentic peer-to-peer networking that drives value for the life sciences company as well as the participants.

The ubiquity of mobile technology — WiFi and smartphones, in particular — has made it especially easy to construct an environment where everyone can share their opinions and create meaningful dialogue.

Here are a few tools presenters and facilitators can use to achieve those ends, even if you don’t have a particularly tech-savvy audience base.

Throwable mics:

Get the ball rolling, so to speak, on a Q&A session with a “throwable mic.” They might look like toys, but these devices reimagine the usual wireless microphone that gets — often clumsily — passed around for audience feedback. Being able to toss the mic to the next participant who wants to make their voice heard is a fun way to foster engagement and keeps the exchange of ideas flowing. There are a few different versions: Catchbox is a soft cube with colorful covers that can be swapped out, while “Shark Tank” contender Qball is a foam ball that looks like a playground kickball; both are lightweight enough for even non-athletes to enjoy the interactivity.

SMS polling tools:

Technology that lets a presenter or facilitator survey HCPs in real time is a double win: It delivers benefits to the audience by increasing engagement, and it gives the organizer the opportunity to collect data that can be used to help determine program ROI. The premise is simple: Services like Poll Everywhere and Polldaddy let make setting up and conducting a poll in real time simple; either yes-or-no answers or write-in options can be accommodated, and the program can be integrated into presentation platforms like PowerPoint and Google Slides. Participants just need their phone to respond, which they can do via text or online — some even have the capability to collect responses via social media.

Slido is a web and app-based tool that also includes live audience polling, but it goes further than that, letting presenters or facilitators crowdsource questions, solicit feedback and engage in more free-form dialogue. This has the added advantage of drawing out even the more reticent audience members, since questions can be asked anonymously. Its dashboard can provide organizers and clients with a wealth of analytics — who’s engaging with you, and which keywords or conversation topics spark the most interest. Slido integrates with most presentation programs as well as social media and messaging platforms like Prezi, Twitter and Slack.

The best part about all of these tools is that they don’t make demands of your HCPs: They don’t have to create accounts, master new skills or jump over any of the other hurdles that can inhibit the adoption of other kinds of technological solutions, while still delivering to you high-tech solutions to age-old communication challenges.

January 18, 2018

As we head into 2018 and take a look at game changers facing the Life Sciences industry, the next inflection point we see is how the industry increasingly uses data to drive business decision-making...

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As we head into 2018 and take a look at game changers facing the Life Sciences industry, the next inflection point we see is how the industry increasingly uses data to drive business decision-making via advanced analytics.
The amount of data we have at our fingertips would be unimaginable as recently as five years ago; while collecting and reporting all kinds of data points remains important, businesses are increasingly realizing that these amassed statistics hold deeper value. The goal now is not to utilize this mass of data to guide the business but rather to specifically direct the business.
In Life Sciences, a big driver for the development of platforms to collect and manage all this data was the evolution of regulatory requirements — a complex and constantly changing landscape that has, at times, challenged the industry.
The welcome silver lining is that these requirements have given firms that work with robust, scalable engagement-management platforms an unprecedented wealth of data that can be turned into actionable strategies. A platform designed to introduce controls and processes in order to manage compliance-centric meetings produces a veritable treasure trove of data on HCPs, KOL’s, and engagement activities.
To date much of the marketing and promotions in Life Sciences remains very subjective, relying on relationships and individuals to direct business tactics — though the industry has access to detailed data about HCPs that Life Sciences companies can access to help them make objective decisions. The data available now offers the tantalizing ability to reveal which of a Life Sciences company’s activities, practices and procedures drive the biggest bang for the promotional buck. They are the code to unlocking a deeper understanding of ROI, and we are on the cusp of the technological advancements that can turn that code into real discoveries.
Ultimately, the promise is that Life Sciences companies will be able to use these insights to predict an HCP’s response to interactions and invitations based on their past habits, creating marketing efficiencies as well as more compliant meetings management — bringing that visibility all the way to the level of prescribing behavior.
The promise is that HCP engagement data becomes more than just a box to check, figuratively speaking, for compliance purposes. Instead, it becomes a valuable organizational tool that supports the goals of multiple stakeholders across business units.


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 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.

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: https://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: https://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 22, 2016

As you look to implement a compliance platform such as CentrisDirect™, there are 5 key areas to focus on to ensure the implementation project and deployment of the system is successful. Key Areas of...

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As you look to implement a compliance platform such as CentrisDirect, there are 5 key areas to focus on to ensure the implementation project and deployment of the system is successful.

Key Areas of Focus:

    • Identifying the Appropriate Key Stakeholders with Decision Making Authority — There are a number of departments within your organization that will be affected by the deployment of a new HCP Compliance Solution. It is critical that there is representation from each department within the Core Team of the project and that those identified have decision making authority. This may include individuals from Compliance, Legal, Training, Sales, Commercial Operations, Finance, Data/Reporting and IT. It is important that all impacted departments have an understanding of what may change for them and that they have input into any system requirements and configurations.

 

    • Documenting Requirements and Business Needs — It is important to detail out your business needs and requirements at the forefront of your project to ensure the system is configured to meet all of your requirements. This includes not only your business processes, but also your compliance policies, as well as data and reporting needs. It is equally important to engage an end user group early on in the project to help identify certain business needs and functions that will allow for ease of use for those that will be using the system on a daily basis.

 

    • Developing a Cohesive Communication Plan — Do not underestimate the amount of change management this may require for your organization and end users; they may be moving away from a web-based platform now to an iPAD application. Ensuring that you have a detailed communication plan will help with the management of this change throughout all levels of your organization. The earlier you start communicating and setting expectations, the easier it will be.

 

    • Outlining a Detailed Training Approach — As important as communication is, training should not be left out of the equation. If you do not establish a successful training plan for your end users, as good as the system is there may be little adoption of the change. Best approaches that we have seen towards training are developing a web-based module that provides not only the voice overlay, but also the point and click concept; visual is just as important as the audio. Requiring completion of the training and potentially the passing of a quiz has also proven to be a successful approach. But training does not just end there, providing collateral material such as Quick Reference Guides, User Guides, Helpful Tips and even a Frequently Asked Questions document is also key to your success.

 

  • Implementing Post Deployment Activities — It is important after you launch your new system that the team stays connected and continues to meet regularly for at least 4-6 weeks. Staying well connected with your end users through ongoing communications in order to gather feedback is also essential. This may include the following:
    • Providing end users with an email box or help desk line to call to ask questions, troubleshoot system navigation or simply to gain feedback on their experience.
    • Conducting optional teleconference calls that end users may dial into should they want to gain additional helpful tips, best practices or again simply ask questions.

At the end of the project it is equally important to conduct a ‘Lessons Learned’ review in order to gather feedback on what worked well, best practices and areas of focus.

To ensure success within these 5 key areas it is important that you establish good teamwork that is based on the foundation of trust and sharing of ideas. Ensuring the appropriate structure and collaboration amongst the team is critical to managing and supporting your activities as is ensuring that the execution within each area is flawless.

Contributed by:


Debbie Taylor, Vice President, Account Management, AHM

Debbie has over 15 years of experience in providing services to the Life Sciences industry working across all client functional areas including Marketing, Sales, Operations, and IT. Over the past 6 years with AHM, Debbie has been successful in leading Account Management teams in support of her client base ranging from small, medium to large size pharmaceutical companies. She has a proven customer service and account management background and is able to apply best practices, strategy development and proactive issue resolution in support of implementation initiatives, including the deployment of AHM’s technology solution, CentrisDirect.

 

May 26, 2016

Traditionally when marketing a primary care or specialty medical product, the drill has been familiar: an army of well-spoken sales representatives detailing off sales aids whose efforts are complemented by non-personal promotional tactics. This...

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Data Analytics: The New Competitive Edge...
Traditionally when marketing a primary care or specialty medical product, the drill has been familiar: an army of well-spoken sales representatives detailing off sales aids whose efforts are complemented by non-personal promotional tactics. This model, supplemented by nationally recognized thought leaders presenting at dinner meetings had worked predictably and was usually sufficient to “move the needle”. The strategic medical education agency of record for the brand was often the partner chosen to support the logistics of speaker bureau programs. However, the major challenge for bio-pharmaceutical and medical device marketers in today’s environment of complex diseases is successfully communicating the science and clinical value of innovative medical products.
Thus, the need for effective promotional education programs delivered by credible and influential peers is greater than ever. Internally, to enhance speaker relations, specific functions have been created to manage speakers — who are typically key opinion leaders (KOLs) — such as professional education, speaker bureau operations, and speaker liaison. Equally, the need for a reliable and flexible external partner whose core focus is the business process of supporting promotional programs with logistical and technical excellence is greater than ever. As a result, a shift is occurring, whereby the infrastructure for what is, in essence, a sophisticated call center only exists in a handful of organizations. These companies have developed the required efficiencies and quality level due to delivering a high volume of promotional programs. The contracting of the operations and responsibilities of a specific business process to a third-party service provider is typically referred to as Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).
While a speaker bureau now is even more critical to the commercial success of medical products, with the advent of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (PPSA), the remuneration of speakers for making promotional presentations and the value of meals consumed by health care providers (HCPs) has suddenly been illuminated. The largest marketing budget item, and one of the most important educational platforms available to medical product manufacturers, has become a liability as well as an asset. In response, most companies have empowered compliance to take a greater role in managing the risk associated with transfer of value (TOV) in relation to speaker bureau programs. Information systems, which are designed specifically for collecting, storing, and reporting, on TOV data, have also become instrumental to enable compliance personnel to discharge their risk mitigation duties.
No longer do the proprietary platforms of strategic medical education agencies meet the functional and technical requirements for transparency data management. Consequently, information technology and business analyst teams are now playing pivotal roles in evaluating systems deployed by potential speaker bureau vendors. Only a few organizations have made the investment in building platforms on a widely adopted system which enables a highly flexible and configurable solution to meet the broad needs of life-sciences companies. The industry standard for enterprise platforms are cloud-based, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), suites which allow for faster, smarter, and more scalable engagements.
In many ways, this shift in decision-making related to choice of speaker bureau partners has simplified the job of the medical product marketer. Now, marketing can focus on the strategic and tactical approaches for maximizing the commercial success of their products, and share the operational concerns related to the delivery of speaker bureau programs with colleagues in education, compliance, and technology.

Contributed by:


Mike Strassberg, MHA, Sales Director, AHM

Mike has over twenty-years of experience in the life sciences industry, having held positions at several medical communications agencies, consulting firms, an HMO, hospital, and a pharmaceutical manufacturer. He has a Master of Healthcare Administration from Cornell University.

 

April 21, 2016

For the Life Sciences, data analytics is the newest frontier in a technology that has been increasingly vital to researchers. Information technology in the Life Sciences, sometimes described as bioinformatics, has been around for...

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Data Analytics: The New Competitive Edge...
For the Life Sciences, data analytics is the newest frontier in a technology that has been increasingly vital to researchers. Information technology in the Life Sciences, sometimes described as bioinformatics, has been around for quite some time. Even as far back as the 1950s, researchers were using early computers to sort through voluminous data and extract meaningful information. More recently, the human genome project put bioinformatics in the headlines.
Today, information technology is everywhere, with data analytics as its most promising component. The excitement comes from the combination of ever larger volumes of data, ever greater processing power, and potent new “big data” tools for getting to the hidden nuggets of value. Among other things, these new tools can sift through “unstructured” data and find patterns not obvious to humans. That, in turn, can open doors for researchers seeking new treatments and also help define new breakthrough business opportunities.
In our latest whitepaper, Optimizing Engagements with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) we see how data analytics aids Life Sciences in determining their commercial strategy by analyzing unmet therapeutic needs and selecting the key influencers, the KOLs that can deliver the education resulting in opening new markets.
Data analytics can raise productivity, improve decision making, and help companies gain a competitive advantage. In the confines of working with healthcare professionals, AHM provides solutions and services that centralize data and create a consistent, streamlined approach for managing healthcare professional (HCP) interactions. How can valuable decision making occur if data is fragmented? Can fragmented data lead to inaccurate results?
Clients are embracing this single interface that effectively collects and consolidates all the data relating to an interaction and associated HCPs to ensure transparency, adherence to policy, visibility, disclosure, and reporting requirements. Data is then accessible in a central repository for reporting and continued analytics.
Data analytics produce tangible value! According to research by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson, of MIT, companies that inject big data and analytics into their operations show productivity rates and profitability that are 5% to 6% higher than those of their peersi. We are seeing that in how big data transforms companies. Data driven strategies are taking hold and will continue to do so — and with good reason.
i https://hbr.org/2012/10/making-advanced-analytics-work-for-you/ar/1

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.