Change management in practice in Medical Information

Welcome to this week’s blog. I am excited to be off to the first in person DIA meeting I have been to since 2019. I am excited to see old friends and to make new ones. There is still time for you to sign up for the meeting. You can join us in person in Barcelona, or online. It’s a great opportunity to meet your peers, ask questions and to get involved. I have been on the programme committee for a long time now and this year’s meeting promises to be a really great one.

Topics for today’s blog are informed by the upcoming meeting.

Today’s blog topics:

– Change management in practice in Medical Information
– Innovating Medical Information – putting theory into practice
– Show and tell – secrets to engaging communication
– Secrets beyond the tech for selecting an IT systems service provider

Change Management in Practice in Medical Information

Introducing change is often challenging but it does not need to be. The foundation of a successful change management process comprises a compelling vision, cross-divisional stakeholder buy-in, transparent and frequent communication, realistic timelines and measurable outcomes.

While the basic principles are a given, how you approach change and implement successfully depends on additional factors such as the size of your company, how established your teams are, the number of individuals involved and the urgency of the change.

The COVID pandemic is a great example for how a crisis can facilitate change. Many leaders were sure that remote meetings were ineffective and that working from home would not work for their teams. Then, when there was no choice, companies had to make it work. And it worked. Luckily, most change programmes are initiated in order to generate opportunities for a company and not to react to a crisis. Absent a crisis knowing what tools you can use to make sure your change programme is a success is important.

If you want to hear more about this topic join me for a great session at the DIA Medical Information and Communications Conference on October 5th at 9am CET. I’ll be joined by my co-chair Monica Rojo-Abril, Grünenthal, Elena Molina, Amgen, Chedia Abdelkafi UCB, Elvar Eyjolfsson, Otsuka, together with Gergana Hristozova – Associated Director of Operations, Medical Communications, PPD, part of Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Our speakers will share their expertise and recommendations on managing and implementing change in the medical information arena. We will cover why changing how Medical Information Specialists are trained will transform the role of Medical Information in the future, how to run a change process, and how to work collaboratively with an external partner to outsource Medical Information provision.

Bring your questions, share your experience with us and support the session chairs to make the most of our brilliant speakers.

If you read this after the event, please reach out to me, Monica or our speakers, with any questions. If you want to discuss a change project in your company, I am always happy to discuss.

Innovating Medical Information – Putting Theory into Practice

My co-chair Peter Brodbin, Pfizer and I will be running this session on putting theory into practice. Covering the creation of an MI service from scratch to the progress of Infographics in MI. The session will cover some fascinating topics that are applicable to all of us and the way we are innovating our services.

We have 4 fantastic speakers: Andy Edward Mackay, MS, who will share key considerations in the genesis of a Medical Information Department, he joins us from Idorsia. Gaurav Kumar from UCB, who will share practical advice on implementing IT systems, do’s and don’ts, Celia Wilson, who will talk about infographics and Maria Delgado Catrain from Meisys, who will talk about The importance of the correct usage of Customer Relationship Management for Medical Inquiries traceability.

Join us on October 5th, 2022, from 11:15 – 12.30 CET. If you read this after the event, please reach out to me if you have any questions. I can put you in touch with the speakers, or answer any questions you have on innovating Medical Information across the board.

Show and Tell – Secrets to Engaging Communication

On a recent bicycle trip in France, I asked a pedestrian for directions. We ended up having a lovely conversation, at the end of which she asked me “Why is your French so good, do you speak it at home? Did you grow up speaking it?” I said “No, I lived in Paris for a year, and I speak it regularly, but it’s not a language I spoke at home”. She continued to marvel. It was gratifying. My French today is apparently passable. More importantly I feel comfortable speaking it, despite knowing it will never be perfect. However, back when I was at school I felt differently.

Once our French teacher gave us an assignment. We were to give a 20-minute presentation in French on a topic of our choice. After much consideration I came up with a plan, which would fit the assignment, but which would minimize actually speaking French.

My presentation focused on cake decorating. I brought all the ingredients with me. Then for twenty minutes I proceeded to hold up various pieces of equipment and ingredients saying, “Now you take this” accompanied by a demo of the action and the comment “To do this”. Between cutting the layers, assembling the cake, icing it and piping decorations I suspect I didn’t use more than a dozen words to give my presentation which was padded with lots of pointing. At the end of my presentation the class got to eat the cake.

This story came to me recently when thinking about effective communication and managing change across companies. If you can show what you are trying to achieve, if you can share your excitement for the project, if they can witness it as it takes shape when you talk design and if they know they will partake in the fruits of the project’s outcome, you are more likely to have supportive stakeholders.

Don’t only tell people that your project will be good for them, show them. And, before you start, make sure you know what key selling points for your project will be for them. You can use demos, do role play etc. Depending on the type of project you are thinking of there are many creative ways of showing what you want to do.

Secrets Beyond the Tech for Selecting an IT Systems Service Provider

Last week I took part in a meeting with IT service providers. Together with my fellow board members for the charity the Virtual Doctors, we chatted with various potential partners from around the world. We met a stellar group of potential partners. I have been involved in RFPs for many years but I have rarely experienced such an inspiring day of presentations. Selecting an IT systems service partner is not easy. Obviously, the system itself needs to be fit for purpose, but in order to ensure a good fit, you need to go beyond the tech.

Here are things I’d recommend you consider when making your selection:

  • Experience, reputation and longevity of your potential partner in your field
  • Size relative to your company’s size
  • Client base: if the provider works mainly with huge corporations and your project is small you may not be a priority for them
  • Key employee turnover, which will tell you whether the person you are doing business with is likely to be around for the length of the project

Last but not least, do they speak your language, not necessarily literally, but in general. Is the chemistry between you good? Working on IT projects can be challenging, working with a service provider who understands your needs, will make it so much easier. If you are considering selecting a service provider for IT projects and need support on any aspect of the selection, I’d be happy to share other critical success factors, I’d recommend you consider, with you.

I hope my blog provides you with some useful insights and, as ever, I look forward to hearing your thoughts. And if you have a challenging project or would like to discuss coaching to help you achieve that next level, please reach out for an informal chat.

Very best wishes

Isabelle C. Widmer

Photo by Bankim Desai on Unsplash