Could we tear ourselves from the heat, sun and stunning views of the Camelback here in Phoenix, Arizona to bury ourselves like cave trolls in a dark windowless conference hall for hours? The content has to be compelling to resist that pull!

The 21st DIA US Medical Communications (aka Med Comms) workshop was opened on 15th March 2010 by Alicia Alexander Cadogan, Director Medical Information, Pfizer with the theme of Defining the Future of Med Comms. It’s a broad spectrum audience here, ranging from residents who are just starting out in Med Comms through to the more experienced folks who come here year after year. About 30% are here for the first time as they are attending the training day or presenting a poster.

So what was on the menu for the first day?

  • Speed dating, sorry Speed Networking
  • Healthcare reform
  • What’s fair game – a lawyers view.
  • 6 breakout sessions on contact centers, emerging technology, Medical Science Liaisons (MSL), co-marketing/alliances/Joint Ventures and promotional review.

3 lessons from Day 1.

1) We are still struggling to see where social media fit in (but we know that if we throw in a few slides about it, it looks like we might know what we’re talking about)
2) We really need to know about Comparative Effectiveness Research as it will affect product choice/funding in the US. You can bet their criteria will be intensely studied by European healthcare funding organisations, just like everyone listens to NICE, not just the UK. This is the top item on my “Check it out” list!
3) REMS Risk Evaluation & Mitigation Strategy is the real hot topic (and not Social Media). Or should that be REdefinition of Sales & Marketing (Michael McCaughn, keynote speaker). Medical Affairs/Information should be at the heart of risk management, not a side track. Make sure you are on the critical path here.

Watch out for more in-depth analysis to come on the best 3 sessions of the conference.

Must dash – got a conference to attend!