Flying high

heathrow1Jackie Marchington of Caudex is off crossing timelines today so hopefully we’ll get an update later, once she’s “stateside”. Travel safe, Jackie.

Morning all. Just caught up with overnight email from the BA lounge in T3. Nothing too drastic, but have had some additional “plane homework” to keep me occupied between here and Dallas. I have the unusual pleasure of flying business class today – courtesy of a late decision for me to attend, and BC was the only available option. Therein lies a lesson in planning (though actually, I don’t mind at all).
My plane homework consists of reviewing all the scientific services account assignments and updating the recruitment list; mugging up on the content for the team I’m going onsite to support; looking at some strategy documents to feed up to the next level in McCann Health; and updating my next few sessions for the trainee writers who have just started with us. Should keep me quiet J
Right. I’m about to trot off to the gate (which of course, is as far from the lounge as it’s possible to be) so will check in later. I have a hideously tight connecting flight, so won’t be updating you on that segment of my trip.

“It’s fab up north”

The last lot from the lovely team at AMICULUM. These from Bollington.

We have:

  • Mudskipper’s Betty en route to Vienna
  • The AMICULUM Digital team enjoying the Cheshire sunshine
  • Some of Delta Kn’s specialists in healthcare learning actually enjoying a meeting about analytics
  • Our favourite Mudskipper Kiwis, Keri and Helene, smiling surely just because it’s MedComms Day
  • Birthday girl, Carmen, hopefully about to share at least a little of that cake
  • “Duckling watch” at the Boathouse
  • The team in Bollington downing tools for a well-deserved lunch break


Turkish Delights – Adventures from an Advisory Board

Róisín O’Connor, Senior Medial Writer, Katerina Tuloo, Account Manager and Mark Davies, Scientific Services Director all of inScience Communications reflect on a successful day in Turkey.

Early start today! Up at 7am to grab a quick continental breakfast in the hotel, before we meet and greet the attendees of an advisory board held in the beautiful, East-meets-West city of Istanbul.

Our team of three arrived here yesterday afternoon, ahead of the final slide preview with the client, meeting Chair and speakers. After a good discussion, and a few final tweaks to the slide content, we opted for an early night ahead of the main event today.

So at 8.15am, with our stomachs full of strong Turkish coffee and baklava, we invite all attendees to take their seats at the table. Following the obligatory round-the-table introductions, the meeting soon begins in earnest, with presentations from the Co-Chairs setting the scene and outlining the objectives and input required from the international medical experts gathered together in the room today to make this a successful and productive meeting.

Open Round Table Discussion sessions throughout the day facilitate the exchange of valuable information and lead to some interesting, lively debates and differences of opinion between experts –all very professional and civilised of course!
Mark, as Scientific Services Director, moderated these sessions, ensuring that each of the meeting objectives are addressed, with the use of a nifty digital mind-mapping tool which captures, organises and projects key outputs onto the meeting room screen in real time as the experts debate and discuss.

As Editorial Team Lead, Róisín takes detailed notes on the discussions, which will subsequently provide the content for a comprehensive report for the client on the views, attitudes and advice provided by the experts.

With the meeting drawing to a close, we start to relax and reflect on how smoothly the day has gone… then of course, disaster strikes! Outside of the meeting room, Katerina learns that a traffic jam in the east of the city will almost certainly prevent one of the experts from arriving at the train station in time for the last train home.

Of course, Katerina, as Account Manager, springs into action, investigating alternative transport options, and quickly ascertained that a water taxi should be able to take the attendee across the Bosphorus strait, from Europe to Asia, and drop passengers off just a few minutes’ walk from the train platform. Phew. Crisis averted!

With the one attendee sailing into the sunset, and the others safely dispatched in cars to the airport, the three of us sit down for a quick debrief with a very satisfied client, to discuss deliverables, timings and next steps.

Finally, it’s time to relax – we’re off to sample some of the delights of Istanbul, tired, but with a sense of achievement for a job well done. Onwards to the next meeting – now, where is that nice kebab restaurant we passed by on the way in from the airport…


Ending the day with reflections from Darwin Healthcare Communications and a ‘selfie’!

Frances O’Connor writes in from Darwin Healthcare Communications to say she’s been collating photos and anecdotes today…

So it’s been a busy day as usual (isn’t it always!) for the Darwin team.

Phil, Kate and I were at two different pitches in Munich and Paris yesterday, back in late, and yet we were up and on the road to our Oxford office around 6.30 AM this morning! As a team, we’ve had a lot going on today. Here are photos from our leadership team meeting this morning – it looks like Kate didn’t find whatever it was as funny as Phil did!





Claire Pouwels has sent me an update from EULAR where she is organising speaker slide reviews for a satellite symposium and running interviews with the faculty – lights, camera, action! She also reports a trip to the bowels of the conference centre in order to retrieve a poster. Exciting stuff. Lindsay Napier updates that today isn’t one of the most interesting but that she’s working on a poster, an oral presentation and a manuscript resubmission all with tight deadlines.

Emilie Violette has called in to give me some feedback, multitasking while at EULAR. Cleo Hall is working on an animal health publication plan and an animation (on the same day but not quite at the same time) and David Hallett is scoping out a QoL Cancer day for another client.

As with many of the other company updates today, we don’t just work hard but also like to play hard. Yesterday, the Oxford office had a meeting of their cake club and today, we’ve had a meeting to discuss our Summer social plans. The boys in the London office have also sent me a photo of their USA decorated pod (each pod was given a different country playing in the World Cup – apologies to my American colleagues at Phase V!).



I’m sitting back at home now finishing off a few emails and reviewing a couple of agendas, looking forward to tomorrow as Thursday night is bar night at London HQ!

Here’s a ‘selfie’ of me on an earlier TC, to end with!



Pubs strategy in the wilderness, anyone?

Jackie Marchington of Caudex Medical sends this from a secret location…

I am putting the lie to the manic #medcomms hashtag by taking advantage of the middle-of-the-wilderness hotel I’ve ended up at this trip. I’ve spent the morning in publication planning strategy meetings and an author call, working out of our clients’ offices and now I’m back in my hotel working outdoors for a while, appreciating the weather, the scenery and the smell of freshly cut grass.

Four hours of pubs strategy is enough to wear anyone out, but it was a really interactive and productive meeting, so roll on 2015. I’m currently updating some training materials for our three bright new shiny trainee writers who started with us last week, and a company-wide copyright licensing update/reminder for tomorrow afternoon.

Between then and now, I have another couple of hours planning congress activities tomorrow morning, along with our friendly rival agency, who works on the same account with us.

I must admit that my feelings of extreme hostility towards this hotel I had last night when the taxi driver from the airport couldn’t find it (perhaps if he’d been driving more slowly he might have done better…) have mellowed considerably now that I can appreciate the setting. It’s a bit more touristy retreat-like than the usual hotel chains us poor MedComms folks usually end up in.

Oh well, I’d better get on with it…



Keeping the stamina up with a Guinness or two…

This just in from Anna MacDougall at Springer Healthcare

Bryce McMurray and Jon Roberts from inScience Communications are currently en route back from Dublin, where last night they took the opportunity to sample a pint or two of Guinness (it would be rude not to). inScience Communications were at CBI’s Publication and Clinical Trial Disclosure event on Monday and Tuesday, both attending sessions and exhibiting.

The event focused around the latest changes in the regulatory and disclosure landscape that involves both publication experts and clinical trial disclosure personnel. Lots of interesting discussion was held around the practicalities of data reporting and the interface with publications.

Meanwhile, back at base in Chester most of the inScience Communications team are out at meetings this week. We have teams in Warsaw, Nice, Athens and London with further trips abroad next week. Spring congress season is keeping us very busy this year and we are all clocking up the air miles.


Jon and Bryce inScience Dublin BoothJon and Bryce inScience Dublin

Early starts for some at Heathrow

Becky Pamplin from iS Health Group has just sent us this…

Here at iS Health our day is beginning with members of the team bumping into each other at Heathrow on their way to two different meetings (they’ve sent me a selfie!).

We have people working at meetings in different cities around Europe this week: Frankfurt, Gothenburg, Barcelona, Milan, London.

Back in the office we are looking forward to another busy day.



Trekking across Europe in the interests of European CME

Eugene Pozniak of Siyemi Learning is trekking across Europe this week and sent this from Madrid (note Eugene and I run the European CME Forum together).

I woke this morning in Barcelona, having attended the annual meeting of the Global Alliance for Medical Education. About 60 people gathered from across Europe, US/Canada and a few from Asia (UAE, India, China) and Lisa from Australia, who is mostly based out of Singapore. The international CME community is a tight-knit group, most people in the room knew each other, and it was great to hear from this year’s programme director Don Moore, who also led us through a 1.5 day training course in how to develop educational programmes. Don is a big name in this area, especially in measuring outcomes.

As you can tell, I don’t work in MedComms directly; my activity is in Continuing Medical Education (CME) where the funding has to come from non-commercial functions (usually Medical Affairs) of the pharma companies. However, I have a background in MedComms pre-2000, and the traditional skills set of the people involved are heavily routed in MedComms. Also the MedComms agencies still make up a significant chunk of my client base as they are increasingly being asked by their pharma clients about CME and we create partnerships that are compliant under CME and regulatory rules in order to develop and present CME accredited programmes across Europe, and the world.

I had a light breakfast with a final catch up with someone from a European medical society, to discuss the 6th European CME Forum (#6ECF, November, London) and how their society can be involved in the medical society pre-meeting “Day 0” activity, as well as presenting during the meeting how they approach CME. I then dealt with the overnight emails which included a reminder from Peter about today;-) and a great piece of news from the US telling us that we had a proposal accepted to work with an international medical society to look after their CME compliance and related tasks for their biannual meetings taking place in Japan in 2014 and, all being well, Latin America in 2016. There’s a strike by French air traffic control today, and many people were having a tough time getting out of Barcelona. Luckily my next journey was by train to Madrid, for a meeting with the Steering Committee of the Lupus Academy, the EULAR congress is starting today and most of them are here for that, including from Brazil and the Philippines.

Once in Madrid I met with a couple of pharma companies to discuss the Lupus Academy and explore multiple sponsorship opportunities for 2014. One was clearly not interested and the other seems to be very keen, and even though very senior in the company, kept stressing that nothing can be agreed until we have had several more meetings between now and September when final budgets for 2014 are agreed.

On the way home on Friday I will stop off during the day at the Frankfurt Airport Sheraton, for a small closed all-day meeting hosted by the CME accreditation body in cardiology, as well as discussing CME issues in cardiology, including some innovative quality measured they are looking to introduce. It will be another good opportunity to meet up with people.

I have to say that this has been a highly unusual day, and week in general. Any day last week or next week the diary is mostly full of desk work in the office in central Manchester involving a curly sandwich lunch from the local supermarket and asking the university students to keep the noise down outside our office!

On the way home from Geneva

The day is winding to a close in Europe, here’s a brief message from Jackie Marchington of Caudex Medical. Travel safe.

Sitting in Geneva airport with colleagues from multiple agencies after a hard day’s workshopping. No writing today, just listening, note taking and moving stickers around on huge wall charts. Doesn’t sound like much, but all contribute to publication planning!