A Scaled Approach to Advisory Board Meeting


The company needed a medical communications agency that would strategically lead and streamline internal communications amongst client stakeholders who were responsible for medical messaging and logistics at both a national and regional level to support the advisory board meeting series. It was necessary to transfer responsibility from the company’s home office to a medical communications agency to ensure consistent messaging while working with regional medical science liaisons (MSLs) and liaising with HCPs for the company entering a new disease area.


A series of regional and local advisory board meetings were conducted over the course of 3 months to build a comprehensive understanding for a pharmaceutical company of how healthcare providers (HCPs) approach the management of an important patient group.

Download this case study to learn more about the project and the solutions offered by Six Degrees Medical.

Communications Strategy Goes Virtual


A leading global pharmaceutical company was searching for a way to ensure audience reach and engagement of trial site staff for a virtual clinical trial results meeting. To differentiate its event, the company wanted to find a way to not only expand the educational opportunity through using an online meeting forum, but also to present traditional trial data in a fresh and exciting way.


eConnext™, an innovative suite of virtual meeting solutions, was offered to reach a global audience of trial site staff located in North and South America, Europe, India and Russia to share the results of a clinical trial. Each broadcast was 60 minutes in duration, with the option for on-demand access following the results meetings.

Download this case study to learn more about the project and the solutions offered by Six Degrees Medical.  



Improve Outcomes of Your Next Scientific Congress Symposium

Sponsoring a congress symposium is a highly effective method for pharmaceutical companies to share the latest data and hot topics with healthcare professionals (HCPs).  A symposium enables pharmaceutical companies, key opinion leaders (KOLs) and HCPs to discuss new research, relevant findings, best practices and future activities in an interactive atmosphere with a large audience.  Selecting the right medical communications agency to help organize a symposium is critical to ensuring strong attendance with an audience that is engaged, entertained and retains the imparted knowledge long after the congress has ended.

A symposium can be extremely valuable for pharmaceutical companies established in a market, as well as for those entering a market, to grow awareness of their company and product(s), while presenting the latest data by KOLs respected in the field.  To ensure the pharmaceutical company’s messages are conveyed effectively and in a balanced manner, their medical communications agency should have a strong knowledge of the therapeutic area of the congress.  The agency should also have proven medical writing skills, the ability to tell a compelling story, pharmaceutical symposium planning experience, strong relationships with KOLs and deep expertise in promoting symposia.  All of these capabilities are required to target the right congresses, set and meet symposium goals and timelines, collaborate with the pharmaceutical company and KOLs, market the event in accordance with congress guidelines and help develop a memorable program.  Organizing a symposium is a process that involves many moving parts and a series of key steps, so choose a medical communications agency with a proven track record.

Key Steps for Congress Symposium Planning

The following are the steps that a medical communications agency will need to take to organize a successful symposium at a congress.

Planning with the pharmaceutical company

  • Establish a target budget
  • Identify which congress(es) to sponsor to meet the pharmaceutical company’s objectives
  • Prepare the program goals and a symposium agenda
  • Recruit and liaise with expert KOLs to chair and/or present
  • Keep the pharmaceutical company and presenters on task

Liaising between the pharmaceutical company and the congress organizers

  • Review the sponsorship package for what is available and recommend the best initiatives to meet the objectives of the pharmaceutical company
  • Secure the desired time slot for the symposium and confirm any promotional opportunities
  • Obtain agenda and promotional collateral approval from congress organizers
  • Coordinate all logistics between the congress organizers, the pharmaceutical company and faculty

Supporting and driving presentation development

  • Work with presenters to integrate messaging and an engaging story through which to present their session
  • Design and help develop presentations – both slides and suggestions for audience interactivity
  • Organize and host faculty slide reviews to minimize overlap between speakers
  • Provide speaker training, if required
  • Organize A/V or technical equipment and staff to videotape the symposium for later hosting on the congress website, if permitted

Creatively promoting the symposium

  • Use creative marketing, including taglines, imagery, promotional items, emails, direct mail and ads to drive symposium attendance and make a lasting impression
  • Plan for promotional tactics to ensure attendance during competitive symposium timeslots
  • Take advantage of promotional and interactivity opportunities on the congress mobile app, if available

Attendance can be encouraged through creative promotional tactics, such as room drops, personalized letters, email blasts, congress bag drops, hotel key card ads, bus wraps and other opportunities both onsite and around the city.  All of this may sound like the realm of a marketing company, but it is important to select an agency that specializes in pharmaceutical symposium planning, with a deep understanding of congresses and KOL management expertise.  It’s important to also look for an agency with medical writers that understand the therapeutic area, can produce topical and well-composed content and can communicate the data in a compelling and enduring way.

So, how working with a Medical Communications Agency can improve outcomes of your next scientific congress symposium?

At Six Degrees Medical, we specialize in turning scientific congress symposia into engaging and memorable events.  Our highly experienced team of medical communications professionals truly understands the science and data that needs to be conveyed, and we partner with pharmaceutical companies to develop strategic symposia programs that tell a lasting story.  We support KOLs to facilitate slide and session development, as well as coaching them on presenting to maximize impact and ensure they are comfortable addressing audience questions.  With our innovative and proven processes, we help fill symposia seats with interested and engaged HCPs to help achieve our clients’ objectives.


Start-up Pharma Company Conducts Successful Round of Investigator Meetings for New Trial

How Six Degrees Medical assisted one client in drawing an extensive audience and garnering impressive results for their investigator meetings.

With only one month between invitations and the day of the meetings, it was critical to offer our Pharma client a full-service approach as they delivered two investigator meetings dates.

Having completed more than 400 successful trial operations meetings, Six Degrees Medical has a unique understanding of the key elements that influence success, and the client is excited about starting this important first trial. Visit us online for more information about our services.


“I have had the great opportunity to work with Six Degrees Medical on multiple occasions over the years and have always been pleased with the way the team goes above and beyond to ensure our projects are executed to the highest standards. Thank you! I look forward to the next project!”

5 Ways AI Is Changing the Pharma Industry

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Global life expectancy at birth in the 1960s was less than 53 years, whereas children born today can expect to live 36% longer.

This increase in longevity can be largely attributed to biological and technological advances in pharma and healthcare, and with the growth of artificial intelligence (AI), we are seeing a revolution in the way healthcare is approached.

Artificial intelligence refers to the use of automated algorithms for data analysis and problem-solving much like the human mind can do. It is accurate, fast, unbiased, adaptable and can perform monotonous and repetitive tasks without fatigue. When artificial intelligence is not only processing data but also learning on its own, it is called machine learning (ML), which is a branch of AI.

Download our free whitepaper today and learn the top 5 ways artificial intelligence is driving exciting change that will improve patient outcomes.

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Outlook on Pharma: What the Next Five Years will Bring

Gone are the days of discovering and distributing innovative new drugs, marketing them aggressively and seeing record-breaking sales.
Today’s pharma companies need to play a bigger part in the conversation between healthcare professionals and patients, drive patient
engagement, and demonstrate value to all stakeholders.

Major shifts are happening in pharma and healthcare that will bring significant changes over the next five years and beyond. Technological advances, increased pressure for value- and outcome-based pricing, patient-centric drug development, a broader focus on prevention, and navigating emerging markets will necessitate changes to current business models.

Download our free whitepaper today and learn what to expect over the next five years.


You Need a Medical Communications Agency for Publication Planning

Publication planning is one of the most important components of a communications strategy for a drug or device, and it forms the base upon which pharma companies can share key scientific data on a product and spread awareness. A requirement in many countries, publishing critical data from clinical trials informs key external stakeholders of a product’s efficacy, safety and viability and serves to create an understanding of unmet needs in healthcare.

Abstracts, congress presentations, posters and journal articles are intended to provide authoritative and digestible information to healthcare professionals about the risks and benefits associated with a drug or device. Pharma companies often enlist the services of a medical communications company to make that information compelling and use it to tell a well-organized long-term story. Medical communications companies have the ability to take scientific data and translate it into a meaningful narrative that engages stakeholders at every phase of a new product’s cycle, from clinical trials to commercialization. They understand how to strategically plan for the publication of medical research results, and they work in accordance with Good Publication Practice (GPP3)[1] guidelines, to comply with ethical and transparency best practices and legal requirements.

The GPP3 guidelines cover publications in peer-reviewed journals, as well as oral or poster presentations at scientific congresses.[1] Attendance at targeted, top-tier congresses and publishing in the best journals is very important to a drug’s first, and overall, impression. Such favourable exposure can help a pharma company obtain FDA, EPA or other regulatory body approval. Additionally, articles published and referenced in journals and presented at congresses raise awareness of unmet needs and of new, improved medicines and devices, in this way changing patients’ lives.

A good medical communications company will already have a strong knowledge of the product’s disease area and proven medical writing skills, but they should also have strategic planning, project management and marketing expertise. They need all of these capabilities to set publication goals and meet key timelines; identify and target the right congresses and publications; collaborate with the client and their designated author(s); and transform raw clinical data into the targeted, engaging medical literature. To get there, the medical communications company will need to follow a process that includes many steps.

Key Publication Planning Steps:

Initial Author Contact
  • Initiate communication with the named author(s)
  • Facilitate client-author communication
Outline Phase
  • Facilitate journal/congress selection and identify specifications
  • Discuss potential content and flow with lead author
  • Draft an abstract or manuscript outline based on direction provided by the lead author
  • Coordinate outline approval with the lead author on behalf of all named authors
First Draft Phase
  • Provide background literature searches and reviews
  • Optimize scientific communication and data presentation
  • Facilitate the development of an early draft, based on approved outline and discussion with lead author
  • Collate and incorporate author comments into an early draft
  • Provide editorial and proofreading services
Subsequent Drafts
  • Manage and collate author comments and make revisions
  • Provide reference verification services
  • Ensure journal or congress specifications are fulfilled
  • Coordinate final draft approval
Submission Process
  • Assist with the initial submission
  • Facilitate completion of copyright assignment forms
  • Manage peer-reviewed comments and assist with responses to editor requests in consultation with the author

If the submission was an abstract for the purpose of presenting at a congress, the communications company should assist with a slide deck or poster development and help the presenting author(s) prepare for the event.

A well-developed and executed publication plan that follows Good Publication Practice guidelines will provide the foundation for a solid communication strategy. It will build awareness and help healthcare providers understand and support its use to improve patients’ lives. Publication planning sets the tone and provides the foundation for all that is to come. So, for your next product, choose a medical communications company that not only has strong disease state knowledge and medical writing skills but also expertise in strategic planning, project management and marketing.

How Six Degrees Medical can help:

 Our highly experienced team of medical communications professionals truly understands client objectives and the science and data behind them. We partner with our clients to develop strategic publication plans and support authors to facilitate abstract and manuscript development. We also take care of poster and slide deck development for congresses, and we coach authors on presenting to maximize impact and ensure they are comfortable addressing audience questions. With our innovative and well-tested process, we help reduce publication development timelines, enhance the probability of target congress and journal acceptance, and grow brand and product awareness.
Tags: Medical Communications Agency Publication Planning Medcomms 


[1] ACP, ‘Good Publication Practice for Communicating Company-Sponsored Medical Research: GPP3’,  https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2424869/good-publication-practice-communicating-company-sponsored-medical-research-gpp3


Meet an SDM Team Member: Patrick Pathammavong

At Six Degrees Medical (SDM), we take the work we do very seriously. As experts in medical communications, we understand that our contributions help our clients to deliver life-changing pharmaceutical treatments into the hands of the patients who need them most. We’re driven by a purpose bigger than simply punching the clock in a 9 to 5 job- instead we see our work as fitting into a larger wellness ecosystem.

But working at SDM isn’t all serious. For our team, a large part of our own internal wellness ecosystem is ensuring that our corporate culture supports diversity, work/life balance, and play. Patrick Pathammavong, Medical Writer at SDM, recently sat down to share what it’s like working for SDM, and how our team prioritizes teambuilding and innovation at every opportunity.

About Patrick

Patrick has been working for SDM for over two years. After graduating from the University of Waterloo with a Master’s degree in Science (specifically, Aquatic Toxicology), Patrick joined SDM’s content team. Patrick is a perfect example of how SDM seeks to hire individuals with diverse skill sets that span multiple functional areas.

On Relationships

SDM’s projects often involve travel to facilitate full service delivery and smooth on-site rollout. Patrick enjoys travelling to assist his clients in person as they prepare for upcoming presentations and meetings. While on site, he’s able to ensure that presentations run smoothly, and make any last-minute changes necessary for the event’s success. Being there during the rehearsal stage is important in both setting the client up for success, and also further entrenching Patrick’s personal relationship with the client.

Patrick enjoys interacting with his clients and gaining a deeper understanding of the meeting attendees. This allows him to be more creative, and push the envelope to develop workshops that are more engaging and visually appealing, while also being scientifically accurate and informative in order to meet the scientific needs of the meeting program.

Patrick believes that a large part of SDM’s success is a result of the medical writers being able to integrate themselves with the clients to become an extension of their team. Having that one-to-one contact throughout the project, including weekly calls, virtual meetings and on-site visits ensures that his writing speaks to each client’s specific needs.

On Play

One of SDM’s core values is to have fun. We believe that a team that plays together stays together, and we prioritize opportunities to gather as a team outside of work hours.

“I consider Six Degrees Medical to be a family, and everyone there to be a family member”, says Patrick.

Part of this bond is related to team travel- it’s difficult to spend weeks together exploring new parts of the world and not feel uniquely connected. But the other part is due to the numerous social gatherings and team-building programs scheduled throughout the year. For instance, Patrick shared a game in which an employee is given a card that has a kind task that needs to be completed. This might be purchasing a co-worker a coffee. Once the task is complete, you sign the card and pass it on to another colleague.

In the spirit of sharing information, the team is encouraged to utilize their diverse subject matter expertise through “Grand Round Presentations”. In these scenarios, a team member chooses a topic and creates a presentation for the group. The topic doesn’t need to be medically focussed, just simply something that other team members would find interesting to learn.

The social committee plans quarterly social events like scavenger hunts, trivia nights, and canvas painting that garner a large crowd throughout the year, never failing to create lasting memories.

Most Valuable Experience

The close relationships built between the SDM team and their clients have led to many rewarding experiences for Patrick. In particular, Patrick remembers a recent experience in which SDM had been asked to produce an advisory board presentation. At the pre-event rehearsal, it became apparent that several last-minute changes would need to be made on behalf of the speaker. Having developed an understanding of the client’s needs over the preceding months, Patrick immediately understood the client’s requests, and got to work making the changes.

On the day of the presentation, all changes had been made in a timely manner, and the event was a success. The Co-Chair of the event, a prominent figure in the industry, made an announcement expressing his gratitude to Patrick and the SDM team for working so hard to pull all the last-minute details together. This “shout out” resulted in SDM meeting several other prospective clients at the event.

“It was really cool,” says Patrick, who above all was happy that he was able to assist. “I kept telling (the client), it’s okay – don’t worry about it. I wanted the presentation to be exactly how you’d want to present it.”

Six Degrees Medical: Adding Innovation and Engagement

Curious about how SDM’s culture of relationships can help your company? Contact us today to learn more about the wide range of capabilities we have to offer.