Tag Archives: virtual doctors

Brussels Med Info meeting sneak peek, presentation secrets from the African bush and why diversity matters

I am on the way to Brussels for the DIA Medical Information and Communications meeting, where I hope to meet many of you later this week. This year marks my 10th anniversary as a programme committee member and my 10th anniversary as an entrepreneur. Time flies and a lot has happened.

Today’s newsletter includes a variety of topics covering team building, startup-pitches and diversity, how to present and of course, as next week is the DIA meeting a sneak peek at what I will be talking about.I look forward to seeing you next week but if you cannot make it, then you can catch the webinar I will run after the meeting:

-Medical Information set-up considerations – pre Brussels DIA meeting sneak peek
-Great presentation secrets from the African bush
-Business: Why are there no women on your team?
-Leadership: A lacrosse captain’s team building approach

Medical Information set-up considerations – pre Brussels DIA meeting sneak peek 

At this week’s DIA Med Info meeting in Brussels I will share considerations for designing your Medical Information set-up. While the key pain points in Medical Information are common across companies,  there is no single solution that works for everyone. 

The top ten issues that leaders face when implementing Medical Information operations are, in no particular order: content generation and management,  language,  IT systems for content and query management, data management and integration,  analytics and insights generation, digital maturity, ideal operational set-up, local-global collaboration,  interdisciplinary collaboration, and to provide value to customers and demonstrate value add to company stakeholders.

While, as mentioned above, the topics are universal the solutions are always individual.

Considerations that I find valuable when designing a company’s set-up include the size of the company’s product portfolio, the geographies involved, key products, product life-cycle, company maturity, indications, target market size and key customer types, all of which can vary significantly depending on a company’s portfolio.

In the session on Medical information Set-up I will share how I approach the identification of a tailored set-up and I will provide a road map for the audience to use as a starting point for their personal journey. Later on participants can either expand their thinking further in a workshop with me on operations and strategic alignment, or, alternatively,  they can join Marie Luise Helmich to discuss digital topics or Sarah Dunnett to explore insights and analytics.

If you can’t come to the meeting but want to discuss set-up considerations, please contact me for a chat or stay tuned for my upcoming webinar on the topic.  

Key takeawayWhen considering your best Medical Information set-up, the challenges are universal but the solutions are always individual.

Great presentation secrets from the African bush and TED

As you probably know I am on the board of the telemedicine charity The Virtual Doctors. Each time I watch the founder Huw Jones speak about what led to the creation of the Virtual Doctors I am touched, even though I have watched the video many times.

In fact, Huw’s presentation is one of the key reasons I joined a charity that enables UK doctors to provide healthcare professionals in rural African communities with a second opinion. Huw’s presentation invariably makes me cry, but I could never put my finger on what was so special and impactful about it, until I recently read a book on TED talks.

Key elements of a great talk include a story that is unique to you, a message about something you are passionate about, a glimpse of your vulnerability as a human, and a journey you can take your audience on, allowing them to share your experience. Done well, it can be magical.

In Huw’s story a pregnant woman and her child died, despite his best efforts to help. The experience changed him forever, and it made him want to change the world, so that less patients would suffer from lack of access to healthcare. He founded the charity the Virtual Doctors and we are working on making his dream of better access to healthcare a reality one country at a time.

You can experience the story that changed Huw’s life and see what a fantastic talk looks like here.

Key takeaway: When presenting make it personal, share your passion and take listeners on a journey.

Business: “Why are there no women on your team?”

This was the first question a jury member and potential investor asked at the end of a pitch at the recent AI in Healthcare event in Basel, Switzerland. This is not the question you want at the end of a pitch where your goal is to raise money. The story highlights how much the world has changed.

Twenty years ago at a Roche event an org chart of a senior leadership team was presented.  All the leaders were men, all the administrative staff were women, the photos on the org chart made it really hit home.  It is the type of thing you notice when you are a woman at a training event for high potential future leaders. Times have changed since then and while women are still underrepresented in senior positions, they are now present. And it now matters. Investors male and female alike notice when your leadership team is all male. Female talent looking to join a company will assess the likelihood of being promoted based on your org charts. Even companies looking to partner with you will take note, because their shareholders also take note. 

It seems that while in the past our presence was noticed, now it is our absence. This is progress.

However, I have it from reliable sources, that even extremely senior women are sometimes still asked to take minutes in a meeting, until the men in the meeting have figured out they are not the admin, and many women I know, myself included,  have been deterred from buying from a vendor, bank, estate agent etc. because the salesperson we engaged with focused on our male companions assuming them to be the key decision maker and purse-string holder. 

Luckily, times are changing and in the younger generation the changing mindset is especially noticeable. At lacrosse training recently a friend’s teenage son, Tom, noticing that a male colleague didn’t pass me the ball, preferring to keep it and to score in a one man show, asked me “why did the guy you were training with not pass the ball to you?” The answer that was obvious to me “I am a female player, he worried that we wouldn’t score had he passed to me“, and of course I could be wrong, apparently did not occur to Tom.  

Key takeaways: 1) In business, diversity is no longer merely a “nice to have” because a lack of diversity and the awareness of the value of women as customers can hurt your bottom line in various ways 2) Many women control significant budgets, hold senior positions or represent a key potential collaborator, it is worth making sure your sales leads don’t dismiss them out of hand 3) When in a meeting where men and women are present, never assume the women are “tea girls”.

Leadership: A lacrosse captain’s team building approach

I have been playing lacrosse for a very long time. I don’t play particularly well, but I love it and it’s fun. Years ago, I was in a women’s lacrosse team. There was only a small group of players and a core group of close-knit regular players. Other players came and went but the team never grew and at some point the team disbanded and all the women, apart from myself, stopped playing.

At about that time, the club gained a new captain. He was convinced that a proper club should have both men’s and women’s teams. As there were no women left, apart from me left, he integrated the women into the men’s practice sessions.

He started a recruitment drive. He recruited the second female player while in a bar watching baseball. She has been playing for a year now, she plays with teams in Zurich, in Bern and in Germany. She is absolutely dedicated. She loves it. She is great and she has brought more people who in turn have brought others. We now regularly have 15 players in our weekly trainings. Considering that lacrosse in Switzerland is a niche sport and we have just come out of a pandemic this is a notable achievement.

So, what did the captain do to grow from a struggling group to a thriving club? Some things spring to mind. He is passionate about lacrosse. He is inclusive. He integrates younger and older players. He exemplifies a spirit of passion for the game but also for the team. He found creative solutions. He trains the team as one, we play together, we have fun together and there is a spirit of camaraderie and connection. He also uses positive reinforcement: when people sign up he celebrates; if they forget he reminds them. He doesn’t ever use negative reinforcement or control. When new players come he focuses on them, introduces them to the game and makes them feel welcome. There is no inner circle, there is no “clique”. It is one for all and all for one, or that is what it feels like.

Two years ago, I thought of stopping as I had torn most of my ligaments in my left ankle. I was worried about going back, because I didn’t think I could add much to the practice. Thanks to regular check-ins from the captain, and his refusal to delete my name off the player’s log, I felt encouraged enough and welcome enough to go back. Once I did I remembered what I love about it, how much fun the group is. Now I don’t miss a Wednesday if I can help it and I have started bringing people along too.

Everyone who comes to play comes again. Even those of us who thought we would stop are now watching lacrosse videos in our spare time to improve our game.
His spirit is infectious, the club’s spirit is infectious and that I think is the true sign of a leader. Someone who can communicate his passion and show people his vision, who can take people along for the ride, making it about everyone, not just about himself and cultivating other leaders to stand beside him.

Key takeaway: have a vision, be passionate, work with your team, lead from behind, use positive reinforcement and make sure you have fun while you are at it.

Thank you for reading, I enjoy sharing my thoughts and I love hearing what piqued your interest or any feedback. If you are currently working on a demanding project in the fields of medical, digital, systems, analytics, channels, or facing any team or personal challenges, feel free to reach out to me for an informal chat. I am always happy to explore how I might be able to support you.

Best wishes

Isabelle C. Widmer MD

Photo credit: Sergey Pesterev @Unsplash