The Role of a Medical Information Specialist at Med Communications

Pharmaceutical medical information is a broad term that entails an extensive amount of drug or product data for both on- and off-label uses. As a department, medical information revolves around the creation of fair and scientifically balanced materials for patients and health care professionals. This comprises, but is not limited to, publications, dossier development, and promotional review committees. A subset of medical information includes reactively responding to unsolicited product questions from external requestors.

As a result, pharmaceutical companies have dedicated informational call centers, staffed with medical information specialists (MIS). Medical information specialists serve as product specialists that interface with clients (both the medical community and the public) to provide concise, accurate, and non-promotional data in a timely manner. They ensure clients have essential information that is clearly understandable for using the company’s products safely and effectively.

As a representative of the company, an MIS addresses the needs of clients while following company procedures. It is not uncommon for the MIS to use multiple channels, including email, letters, or even video chat, to communicate. However, a typical day consists of answering clients’ drug information questions verbally through live telephone conversations. This requires phone etiquette, such as tactful oral communication skills and active listening, in order to be successful.

In addition to responding to and documenting calls in compliance with regulatory and legal demands, the MIS also identifies and captures adverse event information and product quality complaints. Depending on the life cycle of the product, an MIS may assist with clinical trial recruitment and patient assistance programs. Medical information specialists also routinely attend medical congresses and scientific meetings. Not only do these experiences enhance the MIS’s scientific knowledge, but they also provide the client a face-to-face exchange of medical information with the MIS.

Medical information specialists are generally pharmacists or nurses who have many years of related experiences and/or drug information residency backgrounds. More often than not, most MIS’s specialize in one therapeutic area for one company. However, a portion of the MIS’s at Med Communications have a unique role. With Med Communications’ non-dedicated model option, one pharmacist may be responsible for providing medical information for several pharmaceutical companies. This model provides benefits to both our MISs and clients, as it allows our employees to diversify their skill sets and it allows us to offer our clients greater flexibility and costs savings.

MISs are vital to Med Communications as they possess the clinical expertise to communicate complex product knowledge and directly fulfill the needs of our clients and their customers.

Med Communication Fellows to Attend the Midsouth Pharmacy Residents Conference

Our 2016-2017 fellows, Melanie Shelton and Randall Johnson, will be presenting their research at the Midsouth Pharmacy Residents Conference held at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis on April 20-21, 2017. This conference meets annually to allow residents and fellows to share research in a professional setting and to network and exchange ideas for potential collaboration with leading pharmacists in the region.

Melanie will present her research on the “Challenges and Strategies for Initiating and Managing KOL Relationships.” Randall will present his research on “Assessing the Need for a Centralized Pharmaceutical Industry Fellowship Database and Impact on Student Awareness.” The preliminary data will be disclosed at this meeting and the fellows plan to submit their research afterwards to a reputable journal for publication.

A Focus on our Excellence in Medical Communications Workshops

Our Scientific Content Development team excels in developing scientific publications that accurately report clinical study results and findings for use by health care providers around the world. To assist our clients who are just beginning their medical information departments and to update established departments on new best practices, our experienced team has gathered their knowledge and expertise into a one-day training program that covers three workshops: Medical Writing Excellence, Database Management Excellence, and Medical Communication Excellence.

Topics will include:

  • Regulatory considerations from both the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Union (EU) European Medicines Agency regarding how to respond to unsolicited requests for medical information
  • Principles detailing how to present the data using fact-based and unbiased reporting
  • Organizational best practices (covering literature searches, reference documents, and consistency of content)
  • Best practices for launching a global databases
  • Innovative methods for responding to medical information requests
  • Strategies for obtaining and using feedback from both internal and external stakeholders

For more information, see our flyer, Excellence in Medical Communications Workshop Flyer.

If you’d like to bring our workshops to your team, contact Stacy Witham for more information.

Happy New Year / Best Wishes for 2017

The entire team at Med Communications would like to wish our clients, prospects, and friends a Happy New Year!

Please keep us in mind as you make plans for 2017 and let us know if we can be of service to you at any time this year.

We are here if your organization needs a partner in Medical Information, Scientific Content Development, Pharmacovigilance, or Commercial Services.

 

“Know Your Pharmacist, Know Your Medicine” – American Pharmacists Month (#APhM)

October has been designated by the American Pharmacists Association as American Pharmacists Month (#APhM), the month to celebrate pharmacists in all practice settings. The theme of the month is “Know Your Pharmacist, Know Your Medicine.” The impact that pharmacists have on health care is driven by the vast knowledge they have to offer about medications. The medical affairs services offered by Med Communications provide the foundation for the communication between consumers and health care providers. Each day at Med Communications, pharmacists and other medical professionals interact with consumers who want to know more about their medications and with health care providers who want to learn more about the medications they prescribe, administer, and manage for patients. As drug information experts, pharmacists are also able to support clinical development and scientific content development on a global scale.

Medication use is a serious topic, but American Pharmacists Month is also a time to celebrate the pharmacist with various fun and engaging activities in the work place and the community!

Enjoy this time with colleagues and reserve some time to reflect on all of the hard work pharmacists put in to advance the health care profession.

October is American Pharmacists Month

In honor of American Pharmacists Month (APhM), it is important to pause and recognize that pharmacists are a critical component of the healthcare industry. A pharmacist’s role in healthcare encompasses much more than drug education, vaccination, and medication dispensing. The role of a pharmacist has the capacity to extend further into the design, evaluation, and development of medications.2

According to the World Health Organization (WHO),1 pharmacists offer expertise in formulation development, an expansive knowledge base of pharmaceutical sciences, and qualifications to interpret diverse forms of information. Pharmacists have the skills, knowledge, and experience to contribute to patent applications, research and development projects, medication manufacturing, and postmarketing surveillance of medications. Furthermore, pharmacists (such as the pharmacists at Med Communications) have the knowledge and capability to provide detailed medical information, pertinent medical literature, and much more to healthcare professionals and to the general public.

Every October is American Pharmacists Month, so use this month to appreciate the contributions that pharmacists at Med Communications and other companies make every day.

1 World Health Organization. 4.4 Industrial pharmacy (the pharmaceutical industry). 1994. Accessed October 12, 2016.

2 Saleh GB, Rezk NL, Laika L, et. al. “Pharmacist, the pharmaceutical industry and pharmacy education in Saudi Arabia: a questionnaire-based study.” Saudi Pharm J. 2015;23.5: 573. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1319016415000572. Accessed October 12, 2016.

A Focus on Publications Writing

Scientific Content Development is one of the four pillars of services we offer at Med Communications. This encompasses many types of medical information documents: congress abstracts, posters, and slide decks for oral presentations; newsletters, sponsored journals, and congress reports; narrative reviews; systematic reviews and meta-analyses, journal supplements (comprehensive list available here). Our experienced team of medical writers excels in developing scientific publications that accurately report clinical study results and findings for use by healthcare professionals around the world.

For example, our PhD and PharmD writing team provides comprehensive writing and review of primary and secondary research manuscripts as well as word reduction, submission to journals, pre-submission inquiry letters and cover letters, correspondence with journal editors, and adherence to the journal’s editorial requirements.

Our writers are trained in Good Publication Practices (GPP3) and International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) standards, and we work with our partners at Top 10 pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturers to abide by international and local standards as well as individual company policies. For a trusted Publications Writing partner, contact Isha Bhattacharyya for more information.

Welcome to our new Fellows Melanie Shelton and Randall Johnson

After a highly competitive application and selection process, Med Communications is proud to present our two new fellows for the 2016-2017 year. We chose them because they exemplified the Med Communications integrity goals in the interview process, had excellent analytic skills in the onsite presentation of a recent journal article, and graduated with high scholastic achievement. They are both excited to start their fellowship with the expectations of improving their communication skills and becoming experts in Medical Affairs at the completion of the fellowship year. Med Communications is very happy to have them with us.

Randall Johnson is from Dallas, Texas, and graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana College of Pharmacy in May 2016. Randall has a strong clinical background and worked as a pharmacy intern in a clinical and community setting throughout pharmacy school. In his spare time, he enjoys going to the movies, reading, and participating with community service projects.

Melanie Shelton is from Clarksdale, Mississippi. She graduated with a BS in Chemistry from Jackson State University and is a May 2016 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy. Melanie has also worked in clinical and community pharmacies. She was a former student on rotation at Med Comm. In her spare time, she enjoys bowling, traveling, and outdoor activities.

For more information on our Fellowship Program, see our Fellowship page or contact fellowship@medcomminc.com.

Director of Scientific Content Development, Julia C. Jones, PharmD, PhD, is now Medical Writer Certified (MWC™)

To add to her already impressive credentials, Director of Scientific Content Development at Med Communications, Julia C. Jones, PharmD, PhD, has earned the distinction of being a member of the first group to earn the Medical Writer Certified (MWC) designation from the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA).

According to AMWA, “These medical writers have demonstrated that they possess the foundational knowledge of gathering, evaluating, organizing, interpreting and presenting information on health and medicine; familiarity with effective medical writing practices and ethical standards.” Dr. Jones took the Medical Writing Certification examination on September 30, 2015, in San Antonio, TX, before the AMWA Annual Conference. Her accomplishment is a testament to the quality of our medical writers and demonstrates how members of the Med Communications team are always learning and growing in order to bring more value to our clients.

The AMWA press release announcing the first group of individuals to be granted the Medical Writer Certified (MWC) designation can be found here.

As a member of the Med Communications leadership team, Dr. Jones manages a team of medical writers in Scientific Content Development. She joined Med Communications in 2009.