Medical teams are a critical part of the biopharmaceutical and device product lifecycle. Management depends on small medical teams to solve complex problems. Often, these small teams work under the added pressures of having their work linked to patient outcomes or important research developments. When medical teams are working with limited resources and manpower, it must be efficient while also deriving precise results.
The small medical team can succeed in the most demanding environments when it relies upon the resources of a medical science liaison or clinical operations team. These tips help you focus on what matters.
Collaborate on Goals & Norms
It is important that a small medical team understands the purpose of their work, and collaborate on goals to reach a stated mission.
Actions the team takes should link back to that broad goal. Coming up with goals as a medical team allows everyone to feel a sense of ownership and the team’s role in getting there. The success of the team then does not rely upon any one individual but on the team as a whole. It’s not the striker that loses the soccer game, after all. It’s the whole team’s loss.
The medical team devises norms that standardize elements of team operations. Agreeing to these norms as a team allows for a sense of accountability. For example, there should be norms in place for when a team member disagrees with a course of action. When there is an issue, what happens next? How does the team communicate to keep project goals and the team mission on track?
Create Time to Debrief
When a medical team is dealing with project failures, it is important to create time to debrief to determine what went wrong and to avoid similar mistakes going forward. A debriefing process would allow the team to identify errors in not only human judgment, but within existing processes. It is critical to the health of a medical team to understand where that team can improve to avoid failures the next time around.
If a project fails due to a lack of resources or human capacity, for example, it may be time to explore whether additional support is necessary. Project management for medical teams would add additional oversight on a project, and keep a medical team on track to meet project goals.
It’s also important to have open lines of communication on a medical team when things are going as planned. If the medical team is performing well, what tools are in place that can make that happen? How does the team continue to grow, and expand on its successes?
When resources are stretched thin, team members may be called to support one another to meet team objectives, or even offer support before a team member asks to demonstrate collaborative effort. Shared knowledge within a medical team is a powerful tool.
Communication should be flexible, as well. In addition to the expectation of regular debriefings and opportunities to air questions, concerns, and suggestions for improvements to the team, biotech company management should also have some flexibility around allowing the medical team to come together after moments of crisis. Medical teams should be open to a diversity of opinions, particularly as they relate to solutions around patient care.
Medical teams that have made time to communicate and create norms around communication must still follow through on processes in place. When working within clinical research or in a patient setting, clear, timely communication is a must. When in-person communication is unavailable, for example, what are the systems in place to ensure important messages get to where they need to go? Communication should be deliberate.
A medical team should have norms around not only how to reach one another, but how to do so in an effective manner. There must be a sense of mutual respect on a medical team, so that if projects fail, or there is a need to debrief around missteps on the team as a whole, communication in those tense moments remains linked to the overall team goals.
Reach Out for Help
There can come a time when the small medical team needs additional support outside of itself. That is not an indicator of a team or project failure, but recognition of the fact that a small medical team cannot do it all.
Support may come in the form of adding a team member in a specialized role, such as a medical science liaison (MSL). An MSL acts as a link between physicians and healthcare companies, including within the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Their focus is typically on a particular product, and they are seen as the expert on that product. They are the go-to when seeking out research for that product and new clinical trials, ensuring that it is being used effectively and safely.
Organizations working within clinical research that are looking for less of a specialized role and more of a support system around executing their goals may want to look at a clinical operations team. Such a team would support successful results in the clinical setting, offering expertise even when settings are under-resourced.
Treximo can act as a bridge between a medical team and their goals, optimizing processes, keeping complex projects on track, and supporting your team with individualized services to meet your goals.