PeterWhen you pay up to go to a conference, you’re expecting to hear the publicised presentations but you also want to learn from each other. Those shared experiences; finding out what others find challenging, successful ventures & heroic failures.

We built in a new session at the 2010 DIA Medical Information Conference – Putting Theory Into Practice, chaired by Lillian Auberson, Global Medical Information Director, Actelion. 5 short sessions displaying the range of projects that Med Info folks manage. One of the most entertaining, lively & enlightening was Peter Nacke, Global Medical Information Manager, Vifor Pharmaceuticals.

As part of Galenica, the company changed it’s strategic direction and moved from being a wholesaler led company to a more traditional pharmaceutical company structure. In ten minutes Peter told us about his journey to create a global Med Info function, along with a validated database to share information. “So what?”, you might ask. Well, Peter gave us some pearls of wisdom.

  • Company organisational changes aren’t linear – Galenica had 5 affiliate companies before they created a headquarters.
  • If you want to identify who is responsible for answering enquiries in an affiliate, phone the country number. A different person would answer his Med Info enquiry every time. Not good.
  • If you want to wrestle control of enquiries from staff who shouldn’t be doing them (marketing, regulatory etc), them sell the idea by telling you can make their life easier as you love to serve them
  • When creating a project team, remember Peter’s 3rd Pearl of Wisdom: if you want to have meetings, invite managers; if you want to get work done, identify the hands-on people.
  • If you want to have a problem, IT people will find them for you!
  • Create realistic timelines and identify milestones to get your project timings. Then add 10 weeks!
  • Communicate the milestones, but never the dates. Tell everyone you reached the next milestone, but don’t tell them if it matched your plan!

However proof in the pudding, as we say here in the UK. Peter is clearly a get-it-done guy as their database was chosen, validated and installed in just 4 months. But the final flourish in the performance was Peter’s cheeky milestone: a presentation at the DIA Medical Information & Communications Conference, October 2011 on milestones.

Peter – great pitch!