Celebrating 10 Years as a Consultant

LinkedIn tells me it is my ten-year anniversary. Absent the messages congratulating me, I wouldn’t have known.

I started working as a consultant in 2013 and now, suddenly, it is 2023! I am proud and grateful. I am excited about the next decade. Thank you for being a part of this journey, as a friend, colleague, client, partner and reader!

Topics for today’s blog are:

– Celebrating 10 Years as a consultant: reflections on a decade of success
– How to write and submit an abstract in 10 minutes or less
– How to select a Medical Information system
– The dependency on a good medical history limits the usefulness of AI as a diagnostic tool in certain settings

Celebrating 10 Years as a Consultant: Reflections on a Decade of Success

I find it hard to believe that I have been consulting for 10 years. It’s a milestone that “snuck” up on me. I am incredibly proud, which is an unusual feeling for me and grateful to so many who helped me become successful.

Without the people who supported me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. My family has been incredibly supportive, especially my father, who sadly passed away last August. I miss him for so many reasons. I had some great mentors including Sharon Leighton, Talie Wood and Traugott Grieder, who shared knowledge, experience and encouragement with me.

The gratitude from my clients upon the completion of projects combined with the joy of performing interesting work that is never repetitive, confirms every day that I am finally in the right place.

In the past decade I have supported pharmaceutical companies from biotech startups to Top 5 pharma companies. I have worked with consultancies, solution providers, university spin-offs and universities. I have worked on re-organisations, IT systems, KOL engagement, medical information, biosimilar and data analytics projects. I have been involved in projects on clinical trial recruitment strategies, omni channel customer engagement, code compliance and market access. The breadth of projects, companies and teams has been incredibly enriching.

In addition, I trained as an executive coach with the Tavistock Institute, joined Eightwell, a network of leadership advisors and the International Society of the Psychoanalytic study of organisations (ISPSO), and became a trustee for telemedicine charity The Virtual Doctors.

I have done more than I dreamed, and I am very excited about the next decade.

As the need for expert pharmaceutical industry consultants grows, I have expanded my practice to include senior pharmaceutical industry expert associates with complimentary backgrounds to support on projects and to better meet evolving client needs.

Key takeaways: I love what I do, I’m happy to support you on any project you need help on. If you are interested in discussing a project with me please reach out for an informal chat to see how I can help.

How to Write and Submit an Abstract in 10 Minutes or Less

The deadline for abstract submission to the DIA Medical Information and Communications meeting is April 19th. I have received feedback from many that they cannot make the deadline. Unfortunately, we cannot move it, as we need time to select abstracts, design the agenda, publish the information and collect various bits and pieces. However, we do want to hear your case studies, so I have come up with a way for you to submit in under 10 minutes:

  • If you have one minute: submit a descriptive title e.g. “Selecting and Implementing a Medical Information model at a small biotech company – key insights and learnings”
  • If you have three minutes: use ChatGPT to give you permutations on the above title and select one that you like better, for example this: “Revolutionizing Medical Information Management: Key Insights and Lessons Learned from Implementing a New Model at a Small Biotech Company”
  • If you have five minutes: add in some context: “Revolutionizing Medical Information Management: Key Insights and Lessons Learned from Implementing a New Model at a Small Biotech Company” – presentation covers the following 1) small biotech company working in orphan diseases 2) product marketed in EU and the US 3) Medical Information model implemented globally 4) global medical information team implemented responsible for content generation, governance and IT system management supported by local teams in key markets 5) in addition vendor support for out of office 6) medical information system implementation 7) budget challenges to implement model, as well as headcount challenges 8) we will discuss all the above and share how and why we picked our model, what the key challenges were and how to overcome them
  • If you have ten minutes: You can use ChatGPT to write an abstract. To continue with my example: 1) Open ChatGPT. 2) Type: write a short abstract for a conference presentation with the title “Revolutionizing Medical Information Management: Key Insights and Lessons Learned from Implementing a New Model at a Small Biotech Company”, taking into account the following content 3) Copy paste the content in teal (from above) into the chat field behind your instructions 4) watch as ChatGPT writes an abstract in under 30 seconds 5) Review and edit the conference abstract which you can find, unedited, below with the title conference abstract example:

Conference Abstract Example
Revolutionizing Medical Information Management: Key Insights and Lessons Learned from Implementing a New Model at a Small Biotech Companies

In the fast-paced and highly regulated world of biotech, medical information management is crucial for ensuring the safety and efficacy of products marketed in key markets such as the US and EU. For a small biotech company working in orphan diseases, the task of implementing a new Medical Information model was a significant challenge that required careful consideration and planning. In this presentation, we will share our experience of implementing a new Medical Information model globally, covering the key insights and lessons learned from this process. Our model involved establishing a global medical information team responsible for content generation, governance, and IT system management, supported by local teams in key markets. In addition, we worked with a vendor to provide support for out of office hours. We will discuss the challenges we faced, including the implementation of the medical information system and budget constraints, as well as the headcount challenges we encountered. Our talk will provide insights into how we overcame these challenges and the reasons behind the model we ultimately chose. Attendees will learn about the key considerations for selecting a Medical Information model, including the importance of global coverage, vendor support, and IT system implementation. We will also discuss how to manage budget constraints and headcount challenges while ensuring the model’s success. Overall, this presentation will provide valuable insights and best practices for small biotech companies looking to revolutionize their Medical Information management, enabling them to improve their product safety and efficacy in key markets.

So, while we need to stick to the 19th of April deadline, you now have various ways to speed up your performance, either enhanced by ChatGPT or simply by submitting a quick title, of your own choosing, with or without bullet points, to us.

Key takeaways: We really want to read your submissions and have you present at the meeting. It may be faster to submit than you thought.

How to Select a Medical Information System

Choosing the right Medical Information system can be a daunting task as it is a long-term commitment with big budget implications. Factors to consider during the selection process include your business model, your business needs, the size of your organisation, your IT infrastructure, customer engagement strategies and the resources you will have at your disposal to implement. Beyond the IT system itself, you will need to think about the licensing model, product support, system updates and data hosting. Ideally, at the end of the process you will have a system that is fit for purpose and scalable, that can integrate with systems you already have in house and that has data analytics capabilities. While there are many things you need to consider, the two most important are these 1) Capture and prioritise your stakeholder needs, while understanding how these are likely to evolve with time and what this means for system selection 2) Vet the systems on the market and see how they and the solution provider who owns the system can meet current and evolve to meet future stakeholder needs,

If you have recently implemented a new system, are in the process of selecting one, or are willing to talk to me about how your current system is doing, I would love to hear about your experience. Please drop me a line.

Key takeaway: it’s not easy to implement Medical Information systems well, but if you know what your stakeholders need, you are well on the way.

The Dependency on a Good Medical History Limits the Usefulness of AI as a Diagnostic Tool in Certain Settings

I have spent many hours in hospital in the past months with my mother. It has been illuminating on many fronts. It has also led me to think about the use of AI in healthcare. There are many issues in the healthcare system: documentation, process flows, communication etc., where I believe that AI could help. However, based on my last weeks, I think the areas where AI can deliver most benefits, lie outside the interface doctor/patient. This is because making a diagnosis is both an art and a science, as I was recently reminded. Many authors are convinced that AI will help expedite reaching a diagnosis.

The doctors asked questions, my mother answered them to the best of her ability, but she unwittingly omitted critical details. The doctor couldn’t know what was missing and didn’t think to ask for further information. A good doctor, who wasn’t exhausted, however, might have taken a more complete history and helped my mother identify the critical pieces of the puzzle.

It brought home to me again that any tool is only as good as the data you feed it and of course the data it was trained on. AI absolutely has it’s uses in diagnostics, in situations such as assessing an EKG for example, it’s easy to see that an AI could outperform a human. However, in a situation where data needs integrating from a clinical examination, lab data and depends on someone gathering a solid patient history, I think a good doctor will have the edge for quite a while yet. provided of course that you can find one.

Key takeaway: humans are not obsolete in the provision of healthcare just yet.

I hope my blog provides you with some useful insights and, as ever, I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

If you are struggling with your job, not sure where to go from here, want to develop further in your career, or want to look at repeat patterns in your daily work and private life, that you suspect may be blocking you from reaching your full potential and you would like to discuss how executive coaching could help, please contact me for a confidential and informal chat.

Best wishes

Isabelle C. Widmer

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash