The Power of Integrated Medical Communications: Perspectives from Sissy Easo-Joseph of GSK
Welcome to Transforming Medical Communications, a podcast by MedComms Experts, where we talk to the biggest and brightest names in the medical field to find out how they’re driving the industry forward and building for the future. I’m your host Wesley Portegies, and our guest today is Sissy Easo-Joseph, Director of Global Scientific Communications, Antibiotic Portfolio, at GSK.
Our discussion pivots around the vital role of medical communications in the pharmaceutical industry. Sissy shares her insights on the evolution of medical communication, the importance of fielding integrated strategies, and the power of insights in shaping effective communication.
Listen to the podcast to discover how medical communications professionals drive positive change by putting patients at the center of everything they do!
Guest at a Glance:
Sissy Easo-Joseph is a Scientific and Medical Communications professional with over 23 years of leadership experience in the pharmaceutical industry. She is a results-oriented leader and an expert in strategic planning, publication planning, organizational development, financial/program management, operational excellence, and execution of scientific communications. Sissy is an M.S. in Toxicology and a Ph.D. in Health Administration.
Host at a Glance:
Wesley Portegies is the CEO and Founder of MedComms Experts, a multidisciplinary medical communications agency based in New York and Zurich, that provides modern and innovative solutions to transform the medical communications space. Wesley is an experienced serial entrepreneur who started his first company at 19 years old. He is passionate about medical communications and has over 20 years of experience in the medical industry – both on the agency and client side.
- Wesley Portegies on LinkedIn
- The evolution of medical communication over the past two decades
- A need for standardizing medical terminology across companies
- A closer look at an integrated medical communication strategy and plan
- Implementing an integrated medical communication strategy
- The role of cross-functional teams in developing an integrated strategy
- How do insights play into a medical communication strategy?
Hot Takes and Key Highlights:
The Evolution of Medical Communication
Sissy explains that medical communication is about patient-centricity, which hasn’t changed over the past two decades. The evolution centers around how information is communicated. While in the past, the focus was print-centric in the form of publications and journals, today, thanks to a digital world, we are using digital channels to disseminate information because that is how our audience wants to consume information. The patient today is more informed and savvy because information can be easily accessed from multiple online portals.
“The patient is very savvy these days, and we must keep pace with how they access information while ensuring that the information is still founded on science and good data”.
What is an Integrated Medical Communication Strategy and Plan?
An integrated medical communications strategy and plan is a strategic road map that tells the product’s story. It’s integrated because crafting the story is collaborative across cross-functional teams drawn from different business verticals. The team defines the vision and aligns the strategy with the medical communication plan. The medical communication strategy is the bridge between the medical and commercial plans at the company.
“An integrated medical communication plan is the story of your product. It defines how the story will be told and who it will be told to”.
The Playbook for Implementing a Medical Communication Strategy and Plan
The implementation starts with a collaboration between the VEO (Value, Evidence & Outcome) team and the leads of the medical and clinical teams. Building a cross-functional relationship between these teams sets the foundation, and the relationship is built over time. Next, you need to put the strategy in place based on alignment between the stakeholders, and this alignment comes from regular engagement between the teams to ensure that they are on the same page. The strategy must be based on time-bound goals, leading to the final communication plan.
“Some of these things seem slightly like grade school, but it’s not. It’s more about picking up those little things that we’ve learned as soft skills. Perhaps it may be simple, but we must reach across the table and ask how we work together to make something like a very valuable document?”
The Role of Insights in Creating the Communication Strategy
Sissy explains that insights from cross-functional teams help create a holistic communication strategy. However, insights are only valuable if they provide relevant information on issues like landscape changes or guidelines. It is also essential to separate trends from insights and evaluate how the insight can help better inform the stakeholders. If the insight impacts a foundational pillar like efficacy or patient safety, it needs to be communicated appropriately.
“We need to identify how the insights will impact our strategy and if they impact one of the foundational pillars like efficacy and safety”.