Greg Flynn, Global President, Ashfield Engage
Processes, communication, healthcare delivery systems — it’s all been disrupted by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ever-changing dynamics for delivering products and services in this environment were further accelerated. As a result, healthcare companies across the globe are faced with establishing the programmes and services which will best support connections, relationships, and the flow of information between the industry, healthcare professionals (HCPs), and patients in the new normal.
However, according to Greg Flynn, Global President at Ashfield Engage, “There is no ‘new normal’ for the pharma industry; rather it needs to build for change and must continue to be more experimental. It needs to run pilots to test new approaches and strive to be customer and patient-centric.” For many companies though, moving fast and experimenting requires a flexibility their organisation lacks. This is where Ashfield Engage comes in. Ashfield Engage has been serving the life sciences industry for the past two decades, helping its clients achieve agility and success through the strategic outsourcing of engagement and commercialisation services. It operates in the world’s major healthcare markets with offices in 21 countries across North America, Europe, and Japan.
“Early on, we recognised the industry shift occurring toward remote, digital technology and then truly omnichannel interactions, along with the reliance on rich, shared data. We knew that we needed to transform our business to better provide the meaningful engagements required in this dynamic healthcare landscape. Due to our agility, company culture, and investment in technology, we are able to own this transformation and provide superior engagements with HCPs, patients, care partners, and payers on behalf of our clients,” asserts Greg.
Delivering Numerous Proprietary, Award-Winning Solutions
As an expert in strategic engagement, Ashfield Engage creates personalised, impactful experiences across all channels, delivering exceptional sales solutions, patient engagement programmes, market access strategies, events, medical information, and medical science liaison services. Every programme is underpinned by human connections, omnichannel engagement, and adaptive analytics. It also has several proprietary, award-winning solutions which make it unique in the market. The Treatment Experience Blueprint developed by its recent acquisition, NuveraLife Science Consulting, is an industry-recognised, innovative methodology and organisational planning tool for defining and aligning patient, care partner and HCP needs with organisational capabilities to deliver an enhanced treatment experience. Another key offering of Ashfield Engage is Trak360™, a customer and patient experience platform that draws upon such patient information as medication administration, HCP visits, and AI from wearables to provide a 360° view of the treatment journey thereby allowing a more cohesive, personalised experience for the patient. It allows clinical educators to plan their day to make the most of the time spent with patients and give feedback to doctors on how they’re doing. Trak360™ is also designed to fully integrate with its clients’ and clinical partners’ systems, making it easy to view, share, and act on data.
For the commercial services area, Ashfield Engage offers InsightReady™, an agile data and analytics solution coupled with ChannelReady™, which designates the best blend of channels to reach HCPs. Its implementation process, Impact Ready™ builds teams and omnichannel environments customised to clients’ needs to accelerate performance, and scale and pivot in response to the ever-changing selling environment.
Fostering a People-Centric Culture
Ashfield Engage’s mission is to help clients connect with all healthcare audiences, ensuring people get knowledge, support, and medicines when and where they need them.To achieve this goal, the company works in true, strategic partnership with its clients to create the best engagement experience possible for all healthcare audiences across multiple channels. It develops technology-driven, data-enabled engagement solutions to produce the desired results and it continually sharpens its toolset through partnerships and acquisitions.
Besides its innovative and efficient technology and service models, the key aspect that sets Ashfield Engage apart from the rest is its employee-centric work culture that focuses on inspiring and retaining its diversified talent and high-performance teams who believe in the mission and vision of the company. “It is this talent, expertise and culture that truly sets us apart and benefits our clients. For example, consider the significant responsibility and complexity of providing medical information services and the kinds of skill sets required to do so effectively. We have the knowledge and expertise to build these highly skilled and flexible teams for our clients, giving a trusted and much quicker solution than were they to develop these capabilities on their own,” comments Greg.
The positive culture at Ashfield Engage has been recognised by various awards including ‘Top Work Places 2021 USA’, ‘Great Place to Work USA’ and, in Canada, ‘Top 50 Workplace’ and ‘Best Workplaces for Women.’
Rising to the Challenges
When asked about the challenges faced by Ashfield Engage, Greg asserts, “As an engagement specialist with people at the heart of our business, our challenge was, and still is, to secure, train and retain the best candidates for any given client assignment. To succeed, we needed to review and adapt our recruitment, assessment, and training practices. This included using AI-enhanced software to identify a diverse range of candidates and set up teams with speed.”
As a key part of this approach, the company used chatbots to automatically assess candidates’ digital skills, as well as filter talent and deliver efficiencies. It also recognised the different skills required to communicate and build rapport via phone and screen-to-screen interactions and had training programmes dedicated to these techniques and best practices. Fortunately, with two decades of experience in providing remote sales teams, it had a head start in upskilling its field rep teams. “We truly believe that how we do business is as important as what we do, and as a result, we offer our clients a passion and dedication to their business they don’t often find elsewhere. We treat their customers and business like they’re our own. They trust us and stay with us as a result,” adds Greg.
The Steps Going Forward
Leaping forward, Ashfield Engage aims to continue expanding its support in the important areas of orphan and rare diseases, particularly for cell and gene therapies. It believes that there is a widening gap between the potential of treatment advances and the patient experience. To improve this situation, Ashfield Engage aspires to work with its clients to prioritise communication for these patients so that they understand the support and options from which they can choose and tailor their own healthcare journey. It continues to encourage effective dialogue between patients, HCPs, and the pharmaceutical industry to reach patients in the early stages of their diagnosis in order to provide personalised, effective patient support solutions for them. Meanwhile, the company is also looking forward to leveraging advanced technologies to better serve its clients. “We will continue to incorporate new technologies such as speech analytics, machine learning, and AI into the solutions we offer, recognising the opportunity these present to help us become even more sophisticated and hyper-personalised in our engagement practices,” concludes Greg.