Torrential rain, blustery winds and stormy seas. It’s as if the weather here on the coast of South Carolina was reflecting the changes that are hitting our industry.

But by the start of the DIA workshop programme, the rain had cleared and the sun came out.

So what’s hot in Medical Information or Medical Affairs world today? The place to find out is the DIA Medical Communications (Med Comms) workshop at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It opened today with the Core Curriculum training session for those new to Med Comms. A new programme addition was 2 tutorial sessions – one on evidence-based medicine and the other based on the 4th annual Medical Science Liaisons (MSL) survey. Their role is similar to field-based med info professionals in Europe. The MSL community is very strong in the US; they often work closely with KOLs and are also involved in clinical trial work.

Reflecting the current economic climate, the uncertainties of employment and the impact of the new Obama administration on our industry, there is a very strong career development flavour to the programme this year, including a session on managing change.

The main session topics include a historical perspective (as it’s the 20th Annual Workshop), intuition, post-approval safety commitments and Web 2.0 in med comms. personally, I’m particularly interested in the Web 2.0 session.

All my favourites are still here; posters from resident pharmacists on interesting research projects, pearls of wisdom from more experienced folk and the update on US regulations from Lucy Rose.

Each year it gets harder to choose which of the 3 tracks to follow. There’s breakout sessions on
~ gaining external customer insight
~ managing change
~ advanced customer relationships
~ MSLs
~ quality and compliance
~ coaching for perfromance
~ career management
~ globalisation

Watch this space for more in-depth reporting and analysis!