Impact of the Pandemic on Medical and Scientific Affairs

Podcast, Videos


In this episode of Impetus Digital‘s Fireside Chat, I was joined by Dr. Shurjeel Choudhri, SVP and Head, Medical and Scientific Affairs, Bayer Canada, for a wide-ranging conversation on several hot topics in Pharma and healthcare. Among many other things, we explored innovative digital technologies, beyond-the-pill medicine, patient centricity, the effects of the pandemic on collaboration in the life science industry, and much, much more.

Here is a preview of our discussion:

Q: Tell us a little bit about how you are mixing medical with digital and what spurred your interest in the digital components of the healthcare system?

A: I have to say I have been interested in computers and digital topics from long before I joined Bayer. I just saw this as a really important opportunity, both to improve patient care and also to improve our own efficiency by utilizing digital tools. Perhaps, also to benefit the environment by going paperless. I cannot think of any one thing other than that, much like arriving in HIV clinical care and research at a time when new treatments were coming in, I think I just have been fortunate to be part of this digital ecosystem at a time when the tools we have available have grown really rapidly.

If you think about how we are managing to cope with the pandemic, had this happen even five or six years ago, it would have been much more challenging for everyone to work from home. Some of the things that we had already done, I’ll just give one example, we had a very active program to move all of our contracts from writing signatures to digital, using tools such as Docusign. Because we had already transitioned over, it actually was not very painful to switch to the virtual way of working. Whereas, when we used to need documents signed, we would have had to print them out, send them by courier, and get them back. But now, we could do it very quickly virtually, which also means that it becomes much more efficient. You can track them better. You don’t have documents sitting in somebody’s inbox waiting to be signed.

That was true even before the pandemic. We could see the potential. I think what has really happened in the last few months is that it really accelerated that transition as people start seeing all the value that existed. Some of these tools are not new, but we are using much more of them. Of course, they have improved because the vendors have seen the value in enhancing the ability to do virtual advisory boards and using tools such as Zoom or Team.

I think it is that perfect storm, we had the tools and people were starting to use them. Now, all of a sudden that has gotten accelerated and, for me, I think it is exciting to be part of that and leverage it to improve the way we work, both in a customer-facing way and also what we do internally.

For more of our discussion, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat with Dr. Shurjeel Choudhri, or listen to the podcast version, below.

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About Impetus Digital

Impetus Digital is the spark behind sustained healthcare stakeholder communication, collaboration, education, and insight synthesis. Our best-in-class technology and professional services ensure that life science organizations around the world can easily and cost-effectively grow and prosper—from brand or idea discovery to development, commercialization, execution, and beyond—in collaboration with colleagues, customers, healthcare providers, payers, and patients.