A medical device professional discusses the value of BCMAS

Prem Sundivakkam, PhD., MBA., BCMAS

Prem Sundivakkam, PhD., MBA., BCMAS

Medical Affairs Manager

     Despite many promising breakthroughs in the health care sector, there remains a growing demand for the lifesaving therapeutics. I often ask myself, “Why does the industry appear to be so challenged? What are the setbacks in transforming the innovation to market? Is this an R&D productivity challenge, difficulty in understanding the market needs, overall risk-averse regulatory environment or the challenges in stakeholder management? It is clear that the ability to understand the market needs, to deliver the medical value across the product life cycle, and to best manage that myriad of strategic and transactional partners position scientific and medical experts to drive the organizations. However, many leaders in science are not ready to take this role. 

     Organizations need leaders with a profound understanding not only of science, but also to effectively communicate the complex and the highly valuable medical information with an increasing array of stakeholders. They need leaders who can play a far more crucial role in annulling the doubt amongst the customers on the industries’ ability to present unbiased medical information. 

     Organizations are constantly re-evaluating their training methods and strategies for the development in an employee’s skills and business growth. While the in-house trainings and practical experience cannot be substituted, they seldom provide the medical affairs’ organizations an opportunity to be taken out of the comfort zone to learn the art of engagement along with the functionalities of the various channels. 

     Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs (ACMA) is the only internationally-recognized organization that had established the standard of excellence in medical affairs. The modules provided by ACMA and the BCMAS examination covers all the skills necessary to increase the understanding of the ecosystem a medical affairs’ professional will be exposed to in an organization. It also helps in determining the capabilities that exist to understand the patient experience, access and influence a broad array of external health care stakeholders, and act as a liaison between the external medical community and the internal research organization.

     Obtaining the certification had influenced my career by shifting the focus from thinking defensively about what medical affairs can’t do to acting proactively on the things that medical affairs can do. It also helps me partake in discussions with more confidence, capture and integrate strategic information across the array of both internal and external stakeholders, and certainly had improved the level of my engagement to identify extended opportunities. 

     Given the significant changes happening in the life science industries, this is an appropriate time to reassess and redefine the goals of medical affairs function. Board Certified Medical Affairs Specialist (BCMAS) certification will certainly develop the skills needed to enable medical affairs’ professionals to meet the emerging demands and tackle them effectively. After all, the goal of balancing science and business is not to simply fit decisions into the larger picture, but to help paint that picture.