EyeForPharma, Philadelphia – I recently joined five colleagues and hundreds of collaborators for a conference focused on how our industry can be a more trusted partner to patients, advocates and the healthcare professionals involved in their care. All in, there were 45 talks on how to create and drive change.

Of course, we couldn’t wait to bring you all the best from the show. Here are highlights from our 11 favorite talks, including memorable quotes, new data and enviable case studies. Dig in:

Adherence Starts With Hope: Laura Barry, Senior Director Customer Insights, Analytics and Experiences at Abbvie believes emotional connections can be made in the digital space. In our industry, that can be a prescription for medicine + hope. Barry took us into the powerful ways her team is supporting teenagers living with cystic fibrosis. Hint: It includes sending the legal and regulatory teams into high school cafeterias!

The New Bar for Leadership: Marc Boutin, CEO of the National Health Council, hosted a panel on how pharma embraces the new customer engagement paradigm. The speakers shared incredible examples from Kaiser Permanente, Otsuka, and Shire. The Otsuka lead talked a lot about right-sizing what we ask patients to do. Boutin weighed in, “You don’t just walk up to someone and put a ring on their finger. That pre-engagement period is really important.”

Real Human Connections: Chemelle Evans, Vice President at Snow Companies, asked panelists from Shire, UCB and AstraZeneca how we can use human connections to chart a new path for our industries. They shared moving stories from people living with binge eating disorder, epilepsy and lung cancer and showed how those stories (that empathy) can ultimately change prescribing behavior.

Six Leading Patient Centric Programs:Between each major section of the program, the Eye For Pharma team recognized some of the best work in the industry. Among our favorites were these six truly patient focused programs from Janssen, BMS, UCB, Abbott and United Therapeutics.

From Instinct to Evidence:  I had the pleasure of joining Patrick Richard on the #efpphilly stage to talk about a new path for innovation in pharmaceutical marketing. In healthcare, the appetite for innovation is strong but the tolerance for risk is not. We showed how pharma marketers are using predictive analytics to create certainty and literally model the impact of every investment before the first dollar is spent.

Patients First: Andy Schmeltz, Senior Vice President of Patient & Health Impact at Pfizer Innovative Health, spoke on how his team is doubling down on its commitment to put patients first. He shared how their “Patient’s First Triple Win” guides all the decision making at Pfizer along with some specific examples that bring the principles to life.

Patient-Finding Approaches for Rare Disease: Mark Baglin, Vice President of Global Marketing at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, works in ultra ultra rare diseases, like Hereditary ATTR Amyloidosis. It impacts 1:100,000 people – making finding them very much like hunting needles in haystacks. His team is triangulating those patients – often before they are even diagnosed – with a combination of advocacy engagement and big data detecting.

Identifying HCPs by Name at Your Website: David Reim, Chief Product Officer at DMD, asked a big question: why are sales reps still the gold standard of physician engagement. Reim thinks it’s all about identity. That rep know the doctor, her background, and what she cares about. He thinks your non-personal engagements should know doctors that way, too. Reim demo-ed a tool that can show you which prescribers have visited your website – without asking them to log in!

Creating a Culture of Measurement: David Lennon, VP & Franchise Head for US Oncology at Novartis, asked: “If you had $25 million, would you add 100 full-time sales reps or invest in digital marketing?” Most brands would choose the sales reps because they know how to do it. They probably don’t know where to spend that $25 million in digital to have real impact. Lennon then laid out a map to create the same rigor in digital marketing as we have in sales operations.

We No Longer Go Online. We Live Online: David Blair, Head of Health at Google, spoke about nothing less than the fusion of our digital and human lives. The smartphone – that single device – is radically changing healthcare. His talk featured a ton of interesting examples and data points, including this gem: 4x more Android devices are activated every minute than babies are born.

The Innovation Gap: Paul Simms, Chairman of eyeforpharma kicked off his annual conference with a call to arms: “We have an innovation gap. We invest in R&D at twice the rate of competing industries. But we haven’t made the progress we want to.” The chart he showed was the most tweeted image from the conference.

More at #EFPPhilly

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation and Insights for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for building and scaling a global team of healthcare experts who together help life science leaders better understand the complex lives, influences and expectations of their customers. Specifically, they uncover actionable insights that fuel empathy and creativity; lead co-creation events that let marketers learn from peers, trends, and new possibilities; and help clients identify the most valuable and useful new customer experiences to create.

Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for nearly 20 years.She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she held several leadership roles at our largest agency, GSW.  There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business.

Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes.

A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. This year, she led over 250 experts to experts to focus on the most important changes in the commercial, consumer, marketing, digital and healthcare landscapes. (See reports at trends.health)

Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice and Top 10 Innovation Catalysts of 2017 by MM&M, Leigh also was recognized  as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.