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The Value of Virtual: How Remote Workshops Can Keep Market Access Efforts Moving

By Bre Penzner, Nancy Young

Pandemic or not, Xcenda's VIP 2.0 can facilitate a pharma team's "meeting of the minds."

Two key things the pharmaceutical industry relies on to get new treatments into the hands of patients are 1) collaboration between the brightest minds in science, medicine and health economics, and 2) demonstrating the value of these new therapies in order to get on payer formularies.

But what happens when traditional channels for collaborating on product value are suddenly inaccessible?

One gene therapy manufacturer recently turned to the market access experts at Xcenda to help confront that challenge as they developed value messaging for a new cancer treatment. The manufacturer initially expected that Xcenda would lead the team—comprised of medical affairs, HEOR brand and market access team members—in one of Xcenda's signature in-person workshops designed to gain internal consensus on the prioritization of the most impactful payer value messages. 

The COVID-19 pandemic soon derailed those plans. The company postponed all face-to-face meetings indefinitely and employees transitioned to working at home—making it necessary to find an alternative plan.

Productive preparation

Fortunately, Xcenda had VIP 2.0. This interactive virtual platform is used by Xcenda consultants to gather input from participants on the value messages and review the client team's commentary in advance to ensure that workshop time is used efficiently. The Xcenda team was quickly able to pivot this manufacturer team to a virtual workshop and keep launch activities moving.

Before the meeting, Xcenda's value experts worked closely with core members of the client team to review materials and draft messages about the new therapy based on existing data and market insights. This "message bank" feeds the VIP 2.0 tool.

Going digital

Once messages are loaded into the platform, a voting link is shared with client team — generally a couple of weeks before the virtual workshop begins. Members log into VIP 2.0 to review potential value messages with supporting data points and references and offer honest feedback on which messages should be included in the final payer value story. The tool then captures the client team's votes and feedback, categorizing the messages into "keep," "maybe" or "discard" groups based on a propriety algorithm. The VIP 2.0 platform then processes and summarizes the feedback for each message, making it clear when team members concur or when specific messages require more discussion.

Remote participants take part in both the upfront voting process as well as the workshop, where the full team's feedback is presented and discussed to achieve consensus on which value messages to include in or eliminate from the final value story. For our gene therapy client, Xcenda consultants moderated the whole process and used the insights generated in VIP 2.0 as a foundation for facilitating a productive virtual workshop.

Quick Tips: making the all-virtual format productive and engaging

  • Balance workshop time with breaks

  • Use video as appropriate to ensure participants are engaged

  • Solicit feedback from participants by name

How did the client team respond?

For our gene therapy workshop, participants who had never used the VIP 2.0 platform before said they were thrilled with its efficiency.

“This is an extremely insightful and helpful tool," said one participant. “The meeting was very, very productive."Participants have also been impressed by the Xcenda team, noting they "did an awesome job in terms of prep and navigating the team's feedback and overall discussion."

Other workshops using VIP 2.0 have yielded similar comments about the platform's productivity and efficiency.

“I really like the new technology," said an employee at a leading global pharmaceutical company. “It allowed the cross-functional team to efficiently rate their responses before our in-person meeting. I also like how the material was collated and presented back so that it was clear when there were similarities in comments or there was an outlier we needed to discuss in more detail."

The employee emphasized that she wouldn't want to return to the old way of doing things. “The old Excel-based list-and-paper charts on the wall were limited," she said. “Spreadsheets can become very overwhelming and it was often hard to organize thoughts in real time on the paper charts we put on the wall."

The value add

Often, the VIP 2.0 platform is used to save time and effort when finalizing the key messages manufacturers can use to communicate the value of their product product to payers or other key stakeholders. VIP 2.0 is designed to enhance the full suite of value identification and value proposition development services Xcenda provides to its clients. And in the current environment, this virtual enhancement is virtually invaluable.

Learn More

Find out how VIP 2.0 can help you pressure test product value messaging virtually.

About The Authors

Bre Penzner
Assistant Director, Managed Markets
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Nancy Young
VP, Commercialization
Biopharma Services
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