May 17, 2020

Giving your pharma launch the creative edge

Cheryl Clarke
pharma launch events
4 min
Cheryl Clarke (front left) with the evential team
Written by Cheryl Clarke With increasing restrictions and levels of healthcare compliance which have to be met when marketing products to the pharmaceu...

Written by Cheryl Clarke

With increasing restrictions and levels of healthcare compliance which have to be met when marketing products to the pharmaceutical industry, organisations are left to come up with more inventive, creative and engaging events if they want to promote new innovations to the market.

These events have to meet with all necessary guidelines and also reiterate the key messages of the products on offer, ensuring that the benefits to the end user are retained. As the founder and Director of evential, an events-based business which specialises in the pharmaceutical sector, I explain how this can be achieved with good technical innovations and a creative imagination.

We work with some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world and although it goes without saying that we are thrilled to be in a position to engage with these brands, it also throws up a number of challenges - how do you make each event different? What will make this particular launch stand out from the crowd? How will we meet with the clients brief yet still conform to compliance? How do we engage the audience?

We have found that over the years launching a product to the pharmaceutical market has changed irreversibly. With increased restrictions being introduced with regards to promotional giveaways, we find that we need to provide our clients with new and innovative marketing methods when it comes to launching new products. As it was once accepted, and in some cases expected, that you would simply put together a bag of free promotional gifts, now you have to create and rely on a dialogue which gets across the messages about that product.

Engaging with the audience is absolutely essential and using the staging creatively to set the scene and bring the product messages to life makes for an impactful event. We are developing more creative solutions for our clients, injecting theatre to the launch of products and showcasing first-hand how a new product will impact on the patient.

As an example we worked with Johnson & Johnson to launch a new product to 300 internal delegates from 30 countries throughout Europe during a two day event.  Not only did we have to find a suitable central-European location and manage a healthcare compliant finale dinner but also engage with a multilingual audience.

The first task was ensuring that the technology was in place to allow us to provide delegates with iTouch, which could be used to translate the conference notes into any language chosen. These would also be used to facilitate social media feeds and instant chat, allowing delegates to connect with one another, raise points about the product and ask relevant questions.

The iTouch acted as an interactive element of the event, enabling delegates to ask questions about the product, which were then posted on a live feed allowing the presenters to address them. Without WIFI access this would have been impossible and had a real impact on the event and the experience that delegates received.

The next part of the brief was logistically simpler but required a creative edge; how would we showcase a product to a mixed audience leaving them with the positive messages about the product; ultimately that it improves the life of the patient?

We produced a bespoke staging set which captured the colour and shape of the brand logo and marketing concepts and commissioned a team of actors to bring to life how the disease impacts on the life of the patient.  Not only was the audience captivated but they were able to share the experience with colleagues in their respective countries. The idea was cutting edge for a pharmaceutical launch and was met with very positive feedback.

 Due to the ever-changing environment of healthcare compliance more inventive ideas have to be considered and put forward. As a business we are excited by this change and feel that it will have a positive impact on the pharmaceutical events that delegates attend. Greater levels of creativity will have to be considered and new ways of engaging with the audience will be essential to the successful launch of products.

The fundamental event requirements to a product launch for the pharmaceutical sector remain the same; accessible destination and venue, project management and logistics, quality speakers and strong branding are all imperative. In addition we now have to consider theatre, impact, retention of the message and above all new innovations and creativity. It will be very interesting to see how leading small, medium and large pharmaceutical brands embrace this and start to push the boundaries in order to get their products noticed.

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May 6, 2021

Women leading in healthcare means better patient outcomes

Julie Tyler
5 min
Women leading in healthcare means better patient outcomes
Julie Tyler, Divisional Vice President at Abbott’s Vascular Business, tells us why women leading in healthcare means better patient outcomes...

I know I’m pointing out the obvious, but women are different to men. In the context of healthcare—a woman’s physiology, symptoms and sometimes even treatment options are different from a man's. We have witnessed this in cardiovascular health, where there is ample research and evidence that women’s symptoms are often different to men’s. We also know that heart disease is responsible for 1 in 3 deaths in women annually—it is the number one killer.

The fact is women do not always get the treatment they need. A lot of that has to do with who is treating them, how they are being treated by their physicians and the healthcare systems that are designed to support patient needs. 

The proof is in the research at the care level; a 2017 study of hospitalised patients over the age of 65, examined differences in outcomes based on the gender of the treating physician. The results of the study concluded that patients treated by female physicians had lower mortality and readmission rates compared with those cared for by male physicians. 

Gender equity starts at the top

I believe that gender equity in healthcare starts at the top with the leaders who set expectations around workplace culture, and that trickles down to the workforce. 

You might think gender has nothing to do with how patients are treated—a patient is a patient, regardless of age, ethnicity, religion, creed, color or gender. But I believe there is a correlation between female leadership in healthcare and better patient outcomes—for men and women. Despite a predominantly female workforce in healthcare (65% of healthcare workers are women), only 13% of healthcare CEOs are women.

The disparity in the number of women in the healthcare C-suite is irrefutable, but I believe the more diversity we have at the boardroom table in hospitals and health systems— and that includes women—the more perspectives we bring to the decisions that ultimately impact patients and their families.

Female healthcare leaders are also caregivers

Many women are still the primary caregivers at home. The responsibility of grocery shopping and meal planning, making doctor and dentist appointments for children and elderly parents, and everything in between still tends to fall to women.  

This lived experience gives women the ability to think about innovations and solutions from the perspective of the caregiver—not just the patient. The fact is when someone is sick in the family, it affects the whole family.

As a woman, I often think about solutions and technologies that facilitate holistic healing and health that support the whole family. Bringing the mentality of inclusion to healthcare leadership means programs like the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign, will ensure research and treatment for cardiovascular disease in women will get the attention it deserves and ultimately, better outcomes for patients.

The bottom line and meaningful work are equally important

A 2019 study found that public companies with a female CEO were more profitable than their competitors with men at the helm, but that didn’t come at the cost of job fulfillment.

Women who lead companies and organisations can influence their workforce by rallying around a common cause. Having meaningful work and the opportunity to make a difference in the world is powerful motivation that doesn’t have to come at the cost of profitability. 

The work we do at Abbott is a good example—I consistently reinforce the good that comes from the research and development of the products we make with my team. Clinical trials, like the current LIFE-BTK trial, is consciously recruiting female principal investigators who work with underserved populations to enroll patients from communities of color and women. Knowing the work we do has a social impact on society might be difficult to quantify, but in my opinion, it’s priceless and could lead to meaningful treatment options that improve patient outcomes in the long-term.

Emotional intelligence and empathy are not soft skills

Interpersonal skills, problem-solving and self-awareness are considered “soft skills”—skills that might not be required to do the job, but in leadership positions, they are no longer “nice to haves,” they are “need to haves” if you are going to inspire high-performing teams. 

Research suggests women tend to score higher on social and emotional competencies than men. In the words of Joanne Conroy, the CEO and President of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health in New Hampshire, “Diverse representation at the table changes the conversation. It becomes more collaborative; there is more listening and less interrupting. We have better conversations about how we are functioning as a team and we create a safe space when people can be honest with their feedback to all members of the team, including the leader.” 

I’m not suggesting women have a monopoly on soft skills, however having gender diversity around the boardroom table means a diversity of skills. Being aware of your team’s morale and what motivates them is equally important as managing your supply chain.

When it comes to health, we know that patients want more personalised care. The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to generate data that is tailored to the health needs of women and ultimately lead to better treatment options and outcomes. But the data insights generated by AI are only as good as the patients’ data available for analysis. To maximize the potential of AI—and meet the expectation of personalised care for patients—healthcare leaders need to be aware of who is and isn’t being included in studies and clinical trials, like women, and telegraph the need for greater inclusion to their teams. 

These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. Sure, we have come a long way since Elizabeth Blackwell—the first female physician in the United States—founded New York Presbyterian Hospital. Sure, there is still plenty of work to do, but I do hope my contribution is paving the way for more women to take on leadership roles in healthcare and make a positive impact on lives of all patients and their families.

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