Interview – Medical Information project manager
Attracted by the Healthcare sector for a long time, after graduating with my doctorate in microbiology, I decided to enter the pharmaceutical industry and in particular to commit into concrete activities in connection with healthcare professionals and patients. This is how I joined Universal Medica as an attached scientist. In two years, I had a promotion opportunity with a project manager’s position.
What is your role as project manager?
As project manager, I have various missions and activities both in terms of customer’s projects and internal projects. I work in association with the Human Resources service for the selection and the integration of new collaborators. I also participate in the global management of the projects department by assuring the follow-up of the projects progresses and of the project activity indicators, and the preparation of adapted schedules.
Besides, I am responsible for a team of medical and scientific information specialists. Indeed the medical information represents one of the major activities of the company. I take care of the global coordination of the department: follow-up of customer’s projects on a daily basis, formation of operational teams (initial and continuous), direct customer relationship, the respect for processes, quality control, validation of delivery schedules, contractual and budgetary follow-up, etc. I accompany my team every day in our common objective of customer’s satisfaction.
How do you manage a medical information project?
When a pharmaceutical laboratory decides to externalise his medical information department, we define together the context of the mission, we set up a dedicated team that we train, in collaboration with the customer to the different processes and products of the laboratory. The team is in charge of answering by phone or in writing (mainly by email) health professionals and patients’ questions. All answers are validated by the client and are all related to the good use of drugs.
Each request is entered in our software dedicated to traceability and follow-up with laboratories. Medical information is somehow an open door for laboratories to all kind of information. Our teams are trained to detect and notify pharmacovigilance cases and quality complaints to the laboratory.
Our teams are continuously trained to guarantee a quality service to our clients, within the set deadlines. Questions from health professionals and patients are various: they can be medical (interaction with other drugs, authorized posology, etc), or pharmaceutical and deal with for example breaks in the cold chain or the possibility to crush a tablet. It can also concern commercial questions with stock-outs.
According to you, how will medical information evolve in the future?
Regarding medical information, we can suppose that channels are certainly going to evolve with the arrival of new technologies. Phone calls will maybe be replaced by chatbots.
Besides, patients are more and more interested in their health and in their treatments. They are real actors of their disease. As we can widely see with the food-processing or the cosmetic industry, people needs more and more transparency, and wants to know “what they take”. As a consequence, we see more and more forums, which are more or less secured, emerging on the Internet. Laboratories have to anticipate this change right now and move towards available medical information via various digital media, in particular to guarantee to the patients an access to reliable and quality information.
What other missions can laboratories assign you?
We also accompany laboratories in all missions that they wish to assign us, essentially from the moment that a drug received its marketing authorization. For example, we have activities in:
– Pharmacovigilance (complete outsourcing or punctual mission as cases management and authorities statement, signal detection, report writing, business intelligence, …)
– Quality complaints management (causes investigation, information about products manipulation, …).
We can also accompany our customers in the implementation of observational studies. It includes studies allowing to follow the product “in real life” and as well to estimate its tolerance profile. We draft a protocol and questionnaires aimed at doctors and patients in collaboration with the laboratory and a scientific committee gathering experts of the study area.
We are in charge of submitting to health authorities all the study documents. Once the authorizations are obtained, we proceed to investigators’ recruitment (doctors) during the implementation of the study. Doctors and patients will have to answer questions that we have defined. These studies do not modify the common doctor’s practice and the patient’s management. It is not a clinical trial. They allow laboratories to have data in real life. A statistical analysis of the results will then permit to have an image at a given moment of patient’s management.
We also take care of crisis management for some of our customers. For these missions, we commit to set up under 24 hours a team formed to take care of the increased activity. A crisis can start for example with a drug stock shortage without alternative, after a product lot recall due to a quality defect, or following a striking publication on a healthcare product in the press and spread by social networks.
What is the added value of your position for the customer?
I am the link between the customer and the operational teams. I make sure of the smooth running, at every level, of our entrusted mission. My position allows having an overall view of the operational management project up to the financial management. The customer has therefore a dedicated interlocutor, which facilitates laboratory/team exchanges. Working for several customers, we are in constantly seeking for improvement and departments’ optimization.
In conclusion, this position allows me to have, on a daily basis, varied and enriching exchanges with my collaborators, our customers, healthcare professionals and as well patients. The diversity of our partnering laboratories and more globally, the diversity of our projects allow me to be polyvalent. Furthermore, the privileged relationship we have with pharmaceutical companies provides us the opportunity to closely follow medical innovations.
Mathilde Cordillot – Medical Information project manager