Communicating the Value of Field Medical to External Stakeholders
Speaker: Nancy Ortiz, PharmD
Speaker: Timothy R. Hylan, PhD
Welcome to Part 2 of the MAPS Field Medical Focus Area Working Group’s two-part podcast series entitled “Communicating the Value of Field Medical”. In this second episode, experts from the FAWG will discuss Field Medical with the following goals in mind:
- The participant will be able to learn tips on how to explain the Field Medical value proposition to external stakeholders
- Learn how to adapt the proposition when you have just a short time in which to explain it
- Learn how to adapt the proposition to connect to medical customers more quickly
Following is an automated transcription provided by otter.ai. Please excuse inaccuracies.
Nancy Ortiz 00:00
Welcome to the Medical Affairs Professional Society’s Field Medical Focus Area Working Group’s two-part podcast series entitled “Communicating the Value of Field Medical”. In this second podcast we will discuss Communicating the Value of Field Medical to External Stakeholders. Our first podcast in the series focused on communicating the value of Field Medical to internal stakeholders. My name is Nancy Ortiz, and I am a member of the MAPS Field Medical Focus Area Working Group, and I’ll be the moderator for this podcast. Currently, I am Vice President of Medical Affairs at Prilenia Therapeutics. We are a clinical stage biotech company focused on developing novel therapeutics to slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases, and neurodevelopmental disorders. I’ve spent my 20 plus years in Medical Affairs in a variety of roles, including as an MSL manager and functional leader. Before we begin, I’d like to highlight our legal disclaimer. The views expressed in this recording are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect on the opinions of MAPS or the companies with which they are affiliated. This presentation is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal or regulatory advice. That said, we encourage you to engage in conversations about Field Medical with other MAPS members, the MAPS Connect on the MAPS website or mobile app. You can also visit the MAPS LinkedIn page or MedicalAffairs.org./events to participate in our upcoming webinars and in person conferences. The objectives for this podcast are that at the end, the participant will be able to one learn tips on how to explain the medical value proposition to external stakeholders. Learn how to adapt the proposition when you have just a short time in which to explain it. And three, learn how to adapt the proposition to connect to medical customers more quickly. I’d like to thank today’s speaker for sharing his subject matter expertise with the MAPS membership. Speaking today is Tim Hylan, who is currently the Lead for the Internal Medicine and Hospital Medical Group in the US at Pfizer. Tim, can you please briefly provide us with an overview of your current position?
Timothy R. Hylan 02:30
Sure. Thanks very much, Nancy. And it’s great to be here and to talk with the broader MAPS community. I’ve been in Medical Affairs, and specifically Field Medical roles at Pfizer since 1999. Before that, I was at Eli Lilly, where I was a Global Health Economist for Prozac at the time doing a lot of work in evidence generation. And prior to that I had roles in government consulting and healthcare and in academia, and I have a PhD. And you know, what excites me about Medical Affairs is that we’re really at the intersection of where science and healthcare meet and everything we do every day.
Nancy Ortiz 03:12
That’s fantastic. Thank you so much, Tim, and welcome. For those of us in Medical Affairs, and certainly those specifically and feel medical, we all know what we do, how we do it. We can talk to each other about our roles, and certainly with other internal stakeholders. However, when it comes to explaining our role and the value that we bring to our medical customers, this can sometimes be a bit challenging, particularly with customers who may not have engaged with Field Medical colleagues, how have you approached this Tim, with your teams, and in your experience?
Timothy R. Hylan 03:52
Sure, I lead Field Medical groups who are focused on various therapeutic areas. And so that’s how I’ll frame this. But of course, for those who lead teams of say, outcomes research or data analytics or at your colleagues, you know, they need to adapt accordingly, given the specificity of what their roles and remit are, but But generally, what I’ve found to be helpful is, is to have a succinct way to describe the role in just a couple of sentences from which you can go further depending on that initial response from the medical customer and what you specifically would like to cover. It’s easy when explaining a Field Medical role for the first time to a medical customer to explain it using sort of the jargon of your organization that you’re used to communicating and talking about perhaps internally and coming at it from the organization’s perspective. However, I offer that alluding to what’s in it for the medical customer in that opening couple of sentences and avoiding that internal jargon is an alternative way of framing the role and gets the customer thinking about what’s, you know, what’s in it for them in that moment, no court to any Field Medical engagement, regardless of the type of roles that we all may have is this to a dialogue, what we’re having here, for example, with a, with a medical customer that to a given take back and forth. And so obviously, depending on the role, the what, who, when and where you engage may differ, but at its heart, the Field Medical are always about engaging in a two way dialogue, that’s our common fabric. So if I prefer to focus on that, since that’s an endearing piece, so a succinct headline or opening said a couple of sentences might be something like this, as a Field Medical colleague, I engage with physicians like yourself to inform your understanding or medical needs, and to listen and bring back to our organization, your insights to inform our medical strategies. This statement focuses on the two way dialogue, it’s core to any of our roles, you know, the communicating out approved and appropriate information, and then the bringing back of medical insights. Of course, a Field Medical colleague would need to make sure that description of their specific role is aligned with their company’s remit and objectives and for how the role is to be executed. You know, there’s a lot sort of packed into that, that brief statement around informing and then listening. But I believe it’s flexible enough to unpack it in a number of different ways. And to, to sort of double click into it depending on on what is of interest to the medical customer. And so I find that you can take a statement like that, and based on what is of interest to the customer, you can go further into that explaining more specific activities or, or types of conversations that you can have.
Nancy Ortiz 06:46
Thanks for that, Tim. And you know, that makes a lot of sense, I often find that it can certainly be challenging, right, describing the role of Field Medical, to someone that’s not familiar with the role in a very succinct manner. And, and it seems that today, or nowadays, in particular, we all have to get to the point, quickly write, there’s just so much time that’s available and so much coming at everyone all the time. So do you have any tips for how to connect more quickly with a medical customer and tailor the Field Medical proposition description even further?
Timothy R. Hylan 07:24
That’s a great point, Nancy. Today’s today’s challenges is to do things more quickly and in a more resonant way, with our customers, because we all sort of have limited time. It seems like although I guess we all have the same amount of time, it just like we’re trying to pack more into that amount of time that we do have. So our attention span, or the time that we give to any one task is more likely to be shorter, especially when you’re focused on something that you’re not quite sure of whether it’d be valuable to you or not. And so if you’re talking with a field colleague for the first time, and you’re trying to understand well, is this going to be a good use of my time, you want to understand very quickly, if if you want to continue to give that time or even have a subsequent engagement. So we have to as Field Medical leaders and colleagues find ways to explain that value proposition to a medical customer that will resonate with them in that moment, you know, oftentimes we’re about building long term relationships and building that over time. But that begins, that journey begins with that first engagement or that first interaction. And so there has to be something there that that will resonate with the customer to stay engaged with us longer even in that moment. You know, I know when I started out in Field Medical Affairs a number of years ago, a typical approach was you’d meet up with a customer in person in their office, and you’d have 30 to 45 minutes to meet with them, especially if it’s the first time and you would go into explaining who you were, your background, your your interests, and what you did and why you were there. And it often described the what we call the what’s in it for me that what’s in it for the customer in terms of the future opportunities, so the future things that you could do in engaging with that medical customer perhaps around engaging to meet clinical trial needs or investigator initiated research or consultancy or advisory boards or activities. That by the way, may or may not happen with every medical customer. So, you know, in the past we might express it in terms of our our specific needs and stop there and and then potentially go from there with our customers. But by contrast, nowadays, I think we need to do these two things in almost the first 30 to 45 seconds or first couple of sentences perhaps in an email if you’re doing some type of email introduction, if that’s the only way you’re able to make that initial connection. So we need to focus on this what’s in it for the medical customer today right now, and what they can immediately get from spending too. Time with you are responding to the inquiry that you’re you’re making of them. And we need to describe the value in terms of that engagement in terms of their needs and not ours, because when it’s of interest to them, they’ll they’ll give us more time to lean in and continue reading or continue listening to us know, my experience, this often means explaining that value proposition or Field Medical not not all at once, but almost parsing it out in segments, either at different points in the same conversation or over multiple engagements. In other words, communicating those specific parts of our value proposition that are most resonant to the customer in that moment, and how it can address medical needs that they have.
Nancy Ortiz 10:42
You know, I’ve I’ve always told my teams in the past, and certain will certainly will continue to say this, you know, you have to bring value, right. And, you know, it’s not a generic values, every specific thought leader, or HCP, or external stakeholder has their own needs, and you need to be able to meet those needs. And so I couldn’t agree with you more. Can you give me an example of, of what you just described? You know, what this might look like?
Timothy R. Hylan 11:14
Yeah, sure, you know, and this example is based on one that Ashley experienced recently say, say you’re meeting with, or would like to meet with a, you know, medical customer who’s who’s big into social media, they’re very active, they post content, perhaps they have a Twitter handle they, they share recorded videos, or even most podcasts? No, I I start right off the bat, you know, with, either if I’m on a call or a zoom call with them, or in an email by saying something like so. So Dr. Ortiz, I enjoyed viewing your podcast last week on X, you know, as a Field Medical colleague, I have medical content, which could be helpful to you. And so there’s something like that is a very beginning or a start, I described an activity that I do in this case informing. And it’s done in a way that potentially can pique their interest in terms of well, they may have some information that might be of interest to me, and certainly this individual has identified that they like to communicate information and communicate points of view by the, by their social media presence. So those individuals are always looking for new and interesting content to to absorb and learn and understand and share. So some information which I have, they might find useful that might be of interest to them. So that may be something that helps them to lean into what I have to say and want to connect with me. And so this is sort of an example of, of trying to be more precise in connecting and finding some common ground with them as well. Because if you don’t know them, and they don’t know you, you want to find some common connection that you have, in some common interest. Of course, it goes without saying that whatever content you are permitted to mention in a communication like that, of course, has to be proof content that you’re permitted to share with the customer in an inappropriate way, based on of course, your individual organizations guidance.
Nancy Ortiz 13:06
Absolutely, we certainly have to ensure that whatever it is that we do, and it’s all compliantly done. So. So thanks for that, Tim, but Field Medical roles often involve a lot of other activities than just sharing content, right?
Timothy R. Hylan 13:23
Oh, yes, certainly, you know, what I’m saying is that, that you may sometimes want to think about describing the value proposition that we bring as Field Medical in parts, not all at once, it doesn’t have to be done all upfront in some pre pre rehearsed way it’s, it’s, I find, it’s helpful to, to really try to have the two way dialogue and really try to limit what I’m my initial opening overture, if you will, is to just a couple of sentences, and really have the two way dialogue going on because that way, I’m able to better understand what’s of interest to the medical customer. So if it’s as described, if the value proposition is described in the context of something that will be of immediate value to them, that can potentially lead to some areas that perhaps I wasn’t even aware that they might be interested in. And that that can result in really a better customer experience. And so they’re more likely to repeat it, you know, in the example above, say, if the customer is, you know, this, you know, has a passion around social media, does it make sense for me to take the time in the moment to go into describing all of the work that or, or ways that I interact with customers around clinical research or advisory boards, if that’s not sort of important to them at that moment? So yes, I can do things and they’re part of the value proposition but that may be not something that I lead with no need to even spend time on in the moment. So I want to tend to focus on what’s immediate, mutual interest. Of course, in this example, if they inquired or brought up about, you know, going. Pull research reports I’ve, of course, go into that, you know, based on the cues of what they’re looking for. So I’m not saying you need to change the value proposition based on the customer you’re talking to, I’m just saying, you know, consciously consider which part of that you want to really focus on and emphasize, by knowing and paying attention to what’s important to them, and consciously choosing to follow their lead, that helps to increase the likelihood of that positive customer experience, you know, today’s, you know, crunched for time environment and need to connect quickly. It’s about focusing on that, perhaps one element of the value proposition that was most important to them in that moment.
Nancy Ortiz 15:33
That certainly makes a lot of sense. Thanks, Tim, for sharing your thoughts. It sounds like your major point, or the biggest takeaway is that fuel Medical Affairs may benefit from thinking about how to describe their value proposition in a way that provides that that WIIFM or that what’s in it for me, right for the customer right now, that it’s expressed in terms of what the customer needs, right? Or values most, and not really the focus on what the company needs or one’s own specific agenda. It’s really all about what the customer needs. So that’s what I’m hearing, Tim.
Timothy R. Hylan 16:15
Yes, it’s really find that commonality, and much more quickly in today’s I’m crunched environment. So thanks. Thanks very much, Nancy. It’s been a pleasure talking with you. I’m sharing with my broader MAPS community members, my thoughts on this, so thank you.
Nancy Ortiz 16:28
Same here, Tim. And thanks again for joining us today. If you’re a MAPS member, thank you for your support of MAPS. If you’re not yet a MAPS member and would like to access additional resources in this area. Please visit the MAPS website to explore joining today at MedicalAffairs.org/join-MAPS. This concludes the podcast.