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#BHBIA2021 Conference – Day Two – Tuesday 11th May - blog

May 12th, 2021

11th May was the second day of our first ever virtual conference and, as with yesterday, we've created this blog to reflect on a few highlights of the sessions.

Don’t forget, if you have a Conference ticket you’ll be able to access the recordings of the presentations you missed via the web platform, once the event has finished. 

Day two was chaired by Board members Neil Reynolds and Nick Coolican Smith, with Engagement Office Liz Saunders.

Neil introduced the day by reflecting on how we, as both a wider industry and the BHBIA as an organisation, have made it through the last year, despite all the threats that Covid-19 posed to our viability, and the very fact that we are here, at our first ever virtual conference, is something to be celebrated.

Fittingly, with this being mental health awareness week, our first speaker was Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, a physiologist who specialises in maximising individual and organisational performance.

Dr Nerina explained how the fast-paced world has meant many of us live day to day in ‘survival mode’, a stressful state of trigger and activation, and for some the pandemic has exacerbated this and heightened the ‘negativity bias’ a natural tendency to focus on the bad things.

We need to take an opportunity to ‘reset’ and, instead of reacting to life, allow our brains to focus on the positives and soak in the good feelings, and look to our inner strength to help us manage uncertainty.  Practical tips included looking after ourselves physically – eating well and staying hydrated, and building recovery time into the day.  She singled out one piece of advice to help us sleep better – ban your mobile phone from your bedside!

Adam Irwin, Fieldwork Forum Chair, then gave us an update on the work being carried out by the Forum.  Following Paul’s challenge to the Forum, to really drive the agenda for best practice in the area of fieldwork, three key topic areas were identified and working groups for each of these have been set up.  The areas covered by these work streams are

  • Response Rates – building upon and updating the excellent work conducted a while ago by the Response Rates Task Force
  • Consent Forms – the group has identified consent as a barrier to participation.  The aim of this work stream is to look at options for creating more consistent and streamlined consent capture
  • Screener Design & Best Practice – This work stream has kicked off by conducting an analysis of the current situation.  Their work will focus on achieving consistency and quality in screener design

Our thanks go to Vincent Wills of Dynata and Rebecca D’Ippolitto from Sermo for answering questions posed to the Fieldwork Forum.

Our agenda then turned to a presentation by Emma Burrows, from Janssen, and Kirsty Hope, from Adelphi Research, titled ‘How can technology help us better uncover emotional triggers to prescribing decisions vs. traditional methods, and ensure high respondent engagement in virtual research?

This paper delivered great insight into the use of AI in the research setting and how it involves the respondent to a much greater extent than a traditional IDI can do.  Janssen were very pleased with the outcome of the project, they felt the AI element delivered much deeper insights into the patient-specialist consultation for them.

We then took a break from the conference platform to move to Zoom for the BHBIA AGM where Paul O’Nions, BHBIA Chair, and Neil Reynolds, BHBIA Treasurer, gave us an update on the current status of the BHBIA and an outline of the future plans for the Association.  A full report of the AGM will be published on the BHBIA website, but meanwhile, congratulations to the following award winners who were announced at the AGM:

  • Neil Osmond, Earthware – winner of the Ian Burgess award for best presenter at a one-day workshop - for 'Agile for Business Information/Market Research'
  • Alison Carr, Hamell, Claudia Wing, Janssen and Rebecca D'Ippolito, Sermo – joint winners of the Julie Stacey award for the 'Guidelines in Action' workshop

We also officially ‘presented’ Matt Beckett, CSL, with the John Aitchison Award for Outstanding Contribution, which was announced last year.

We also said thank you and farewell to Neil Osmond, who is stepping down from the Board due to work commitments.

Our day two sponsored session was delivered by Origins Insights who took the opportunity to highlight the importance of achieving a true patient population in the research sample.  And they showcased the approaches they use to ensure that appropriate patients participate in their projects, not just the most convenient ones.  Using the example of their BOBI Award winning research entry Origins Insights demonstrated how they had recruited relevant patients in a rare disease setting.

Finally the Origins Insights team touched on the importance health equality and of making sure that the research sample reflects the range of people a condition can affect.

On Monday evening we held the 2021 BOBI Awards ceremony.  We wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to take a closer look at the winning contributions which we did through the ‘Meet the Winners’ section of the day’s agenda.  You can see all of the winners and the highly commended entries on the BOBI section of the website.

The final presentation of the morning of day two was ‘The Doctor will Zoom you now’ a presentation given by Ana Edelenbosch and Kyrsten Corbijn from SKIM Europe.  Ana and Kyrsten presented the results of a research project conducted recently which looked at the impact a sudden move to digital has had on patients. 

The research found that patients were initially quite accepting of the move to tele-health until they realised that it is probably here to stay, at which point they were less keen on it.  Also that those whose healthcare was suddenly moved to distance consultations, with little or no prior experience of this approach, were less accepting of the change.  As we are unlikely to return to the pre-pandemic way of healthcare management the report delivered important insights into how patients may be feeling if a new healthcare environment if ‘forced’ upon them.

The afternoon kicked off another lively panel debate involving Jason Bonnett from Sanofi, Andrew Adams from Ipsen and Dr Amit Arora a UK Consultant Ophthalmologist. Vicky Newlove from Research Partnership ran the discussion and posed three motions to the panel.

  • Digital health can improve the patient journey
  • Digitalisation can make it easier to maximise pharma’s engagement with customers
  • The new normal is here to stay

Dr Arora shared his experience of how Moorfields Hospital had quickly adapted to the need for distanced consultations.  The biggest change being the use of video consultations which reduced the number of patients visiting Moorfields by 70%.  He recognised that whilst there had been some great successes there had also been challenges and there was still work to be done.  But overall he felt the use of digital had brought significant improvements to the patient journey

In terms of digital’s ability to maximise engagement with customers both Andrew and Jason agreed that the engagement model had changed rapidly as a result of the pandemic.  However, it has moved from one extreme to another.  They felt there was middle ground to be found but it’s not evident where that is yet.

All participants agreed that the new normal is here to stay and all felt there were benefits to this.  

But, as mentioned above, the next steps will be about finding the right balance both in mode of interaction and in the information shared.  Whilst information needs to be consistent it’s not just a case of digitising what is already created.

This just gives a flavour of the views the panellists had on the discussion topics, for further detail the video is available to view on the platform for the next 30 days.

We thank Jason, Andrew and Dr Arora for contributing their time and sharing their views in this session and Vicky for putting this panel together for us and for moderating the session.

The business element of day two completed with another round of workshops, a summary of which were included in yesterday’s feature

An additional workshop, for today only, was 

‘Why Should Anyone Listen to You’, run by professional trainer Daniel Wain.

  • Danny offered us what he described as a ‘smorgasbord’ of tips and techniques to help us be more effective at influencing people.  When influencing people, the aim should be to achieve a result that meets the needs of both parties – the other person needs to be able to see the benefit to them. Danny explained that you can use either ‘push’ or ‘pull’ approaches, but ‘pull’ is far more effective in the longer term.  He gave us some examples of influencing tactics that employ both approaches and emphasised the importance of understanding what is valued by the person you are hoping to influence, and always remembering that people are complex and different. (Update: congratulations to Danny who has won the John Wheeler award for Best Conference Workshop!)

But we weren’t done there as the BHBIA had laid on a light-hearted evening social in the form of Beats and Bingo and which was an engaging and fun way to end the day.