Medical Information Mathematics – save millions to make millions

I hope you are looking forward to taking time off. I look forward to time off and to celebrating that which is most important to me: the people I love and care about deeply and who love and care about me. 

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season. Merry Christmas if you like, I celebrate Christmas, happy holidays to those of you who do not. I wish you a wonderful time with family and friends and a blessed start to 2022.

Today’s topics:

– How to guarantee success – know who you are and what you love 

– Insanity is trying something only once before giving up

– Medical Information mathematics – save millions, make millions 

– 2021 looking back and visions of 2022

How to guarantee career success – know who you are and what you love

I recently participated in a panel discussion on women in STEM. The audience was a class of predominantly female 17-year-old Welsh students. The goal was to support them in selecting their university subject. I shared how I selected medicine: by identifying topics I was interested in that would provide independence. And that I conducted interviews of graduates to confirm my choices. Not doctors, sadly. Everyone thinks they know what being a doctor entails. I did too. But I didn’t.

I talked about my career journey from basic research, to working with patients, to being employed in pharma to founding my own company as a consultant and coach. As I spoke, I realized that it’s the combination of passion and personality that has led me to where I am now. And that the message I wanted to share is not work hard and you will succeed but pursue your passion and know what environment will make you happy. The combination of passion, talent, hard work and the right environment is, I believe, a guarantee for success. I once said to an HR employee “I feel like a tropical fish in the North Sea.” At the time, I was working in a monoculture, and I knew it was not for me.

Sometimes it takes time to find that place. But it’s really worth looking for. If you are currently not in the right environment, take the time to list your needs versus the current situation. Identify if there is another part of your organisation where you might be a better fit. Once you lay the foundation for your next step, you will feel more relaxed, you will be ready to discuss with your manager, research job postings and most importantly be ready when a fitting opportunity presents itself. And remember, you are not looking for perfect! You are looking for a better fit. Sometimes improvements are incremental. If you would like support with this process, I’d be happy to discuss how I can help.

Insanity is trying something only once before giving up

The actual quote which is attributed to Einstein is of course this: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different outcome. I used to quote this frequently. However, after an exchange with Tom, I am no longer sure it is correct. Tom is 15. He recently started a rigorous exercise routine and demonstrated pullups for me on the door frame. I was impressed. In the two years I have known him he has changed from someone who would reluctantly join me on a gentle bike ride to a teenager who works out 3 times a week.

Curious, I asked him what has changed. He said, “Well, at 13 I exercised but it didn’t change how I look. Now, my muscles are more defined. I am getting stronger. I can see the effect of the effort I put in.” What has changed of course is his testosterone level. He is doing the same thing, but the parameters have changed. This got me thinking that sometimes we can do the same thing and get a different outcome, because our environment, or something in ourselves, has shifted subtly. We may not even be aware of the change. So it’s worth keeping in mind that sometimes the same activity can result in a different outcome and it’s always worth being open to the possibilities.

Medical Information mathematics – save millions to make millions

Medical Information and money are never mentioned in the same sentence. There are reasons for this. We often highlight the fact that we are the only teams that are reactive, that customers come to us. That we are the only team that can interact with patients on medical information topics. We see this, rightly, as our key value. However, organisational change drivers are generally: cost savings, revenue generators or regulatory authority interventions or mandates.

When trying to get a budget to reorganize Medical Information, it would help if we could put a number on the value of Med Info. What if you could tell your management that by optimizing Medical Information service provision you will:-

  1. Improve the brand image of the company by ensuring harmonised responses across the world
  2. Reduce litigation risk by ensuring the correct content only is provided, no treatment recommendations are made, and that off-label information provision is provided within strict guidelines
  3. Save FTE hours because reduplication of effort has been eliminated, which will enable your teams to tackle digital channels, delivery of new content etc
  4. Provide insights on launch enquiries which will support launches in next markets
  5. Identify issues with sales materials, if questions come in that are covered in sales materials
  6. Save millions and also potentially identify areas that will improve patient health and safety and potentially also make millions

I’ve been playing around with some calculations. Depending on the products, the company, the setup etc. cost savings could be in the millions and the impact of not knowing what your customers are asking, not understanding launch enquiries, identifying issues with products, opportunities for new indications or issues with commercial materials could be much higher than millions. If you are curious, I am happy to talk you through my calculation examples. And naturally, if you want to challenge my thinking, I am all ears!

Looking back to 2021 and visions of 2022

2021 has been very busy. The world keeps turning. Although sometimes it feels like we are permanently stuck on replay.

On the work front, I have reached the stage where I cannot take on every project I am asked to support on anymore, which is a sad but also a very happy place. I have been fortunate this year to engage with some wonderful teams and individuals on a wide range of projects in family-owned, stock-market listed, mid-size, generics, and biotech companies. I have had the joy of interacting with my programme committee team for the DIA meeting, colleagues and now friends. I joined a charity that provides telemedicine in Zambia and Malawi. Took part in a panel on STEM, to motivate young women to spread their wings. And am looking at mentoring young girls in India. I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given, and I want to share some of that bounty with others. I am grateful for the connections and the trust that link me around the world. Thank you, all of you, who read my newsletter, and who, in one way or another have been a part of this.

On the home front. I am grateful for my friends and family. I was able to work from home in the UK in spring, taking my brother’s dog for walks across gorgeous fields, enjoying bluebells, the herds of cows, wading through the mud and spending time with my brother and his wife. A change of scenery was much needed. I took the first holiday in what feels like forever and cycled up Mont Ventoux. Generally, I have learned with the pandemic to celebrate what I have rather than lamenting what I have lost. I also had to say goodbye to my beloved cat, it was hard, but he, and the experience of saying goodbye to him, taught me a lot. I have been doing sport and I started baking cookies with a friend and planning elaborate Chinese banquets with another. And I have started playing lacrosse again. All the players are in their late 20ies early 30ies, yet they welcome me with such enthusiasm, that I happily play with them.

2022 is looking busy and exciting already. Projects on the horizon. A cycling holiday is planned, as is a renovation. Perhaps there will be a physical Medical Information Meeting in the US, with a drink and dinner. Hard to imagine, but oh, wouldn’t that be glorious? The Virtual Doctors, the charity I am on the board of, plans to roll out telemedicine to Malawi, which I am very excited about. And I would love to mentor young women. So much to look forward to. I hope you too can keep your eyes on the good things. And that there are many of them in your lives.

May you be safe and happy and may our paths cross in the near future. And if you need support on transformation programmes or you’d like to discuss other projects or coaching, please contact me for an informal chat. 

Photo Credit: Ice Tea @unsplash