I am halfway done with the program modules!
Here's a breakdown of each module, each one containing between 2-14 mini-module lessons.
Initially, I was planning to do a blog post for each module, but after module 1 blog post, I realized I didn't want to bore anyone with details of a training, so I'm doing reviews after major progress in the program and will be keeping the descriptions pretty brief.
Feel free to ask me any specific questions by sending a message in the "contact" form. I will personally email you back directly to go into more detail about anything you'd like to know more about.
Onto my reviews/experience so far (with a fun destination pic between each module so you won't fall asleep)...
The Medical Device Industry
This is a nice one to start with because I had a little bit of an idea of what medical devices were about because my significant other works at an international medical device company. He works in the IT division, so did not actually know the intricate details and processes of the company overall, so I was able to shed some wisdom to him too.
The Diagnostics Industry
This module discussed different diagnostic tests and explained what the FDA requirements were for particular tests. I am glad there were not too many mini-modules for this module because it was a lot of information that was technical. The modules discussed the essentials.
Rules Governing Healthcare Providers and Pharmaceutical Companies
This module goes through what types of interactions are allowed and which are not between medical science liaisons (MSL), healthcare providers, and pharma companies. From these detailed interactions, I could really see how healthcare providers are quite the best fit for the MSL role naturally.
Health Economics Outcomes Research (HEOR)
This module discusses HEOR in terms of does the drug actually work, does it reduce symptoms, mortality, morbidity, etc? The module also explains pharmacoeconomics, which is the analysis of the costs of drug therapy to healthcare systems and society. I've always found HEOR very interesting as a topic, but difficult to understand and follow. This module does a good job of keeping it at an understandable level and not going into too much nitty gritty detail.
Evidence Based Medicine (EBM)
I have to admit, when I saw this title, I had flashbacks to my medical school EBM course. I won't say that this course made me suddenly fall in love and passionate about EBM as a learning topic, but it did help reinforce what the important and relevant concepts in EBM are.
Clinical Trials Design
This module is probably the one I was most familiar with. It goes through different types of studies, such as cohort study, case-control studies, etc. The examples were especially good though to reinforce the concepts.
Presentation and Communication Skills
The information in this module was directly applicable to my current work as a healthcare provider. I often have to give presentations to my staff and, honestly, no one ever taught me how to give a good presentation or go over exactly what the elements of good communication skills are. This helps a lot. MSLs give many presentations, so this skill is crucial to have. No wonder my staff always fell asleep during my presentations...
This module went over the different filings for medical device and pharmaceuticals. A lot of terms were thrown out that I had never heard of before. I am considering making flashcards for the board exam, because a lot of these terms are piling up!
This module was on the several tiers of quality systems related to medical devices and drugs. There were a LOT of technical terms that I was not familiar with, so I went through it several times. This module makes me realize how important understanding regulations well is.
Conclusion (Pros and Cons, so far):
I am not sure if it is too early to determine the pros and cons, but let's do it anyway, as a check-in. It will be helpful to compare at the end of the program, when I've completed it in its entirety.
-Pro 1: Lessons are digestible and totally doable
Because they are broken up into mini-modules, each one a few minutes to go through, I could conveniently fit them into the free spaces throughout my day. I didn't realize I had so many moments when I could have been doing something.
I did mini-modules while waiting for my dinner to be finished cooking, waiting at the pharmacy, in between work meetings and phone calls.
-Pro 2: The lessons start you off at basic level and slowly increase in their complexity
This was very important because I started with NO baseline knowledge of pharmaceutical industry, medical affairs, etc. While I have taken free online content on clinical trials, the content was always all over the place.
This program has structure and is based on real life experience of experienced people in the industry, guiding you through the learning process.
-Pro 3: The information is totally applicable at whatever stage you are at in your career transition
Right now I am making preparations to begin my transition into medical affairs, so I am very early in the process. However, I am still finding benefits and learning things I've never known before. This knowledge helps me see how I fit into this whole big picture of pharma, medical affairs, etc. Seeing where you fit into the big picture is very crucial to figuring out where in the big picture you really belong and want to be.
-Pro 4: Fits with any learning style
There are modules, mini-modules, lots of diagrams, audio, questions bank, and case scenarios to nail down the information. It works with any kind of learning style that you have. I have not gotten to the question bank and case scenarios yet, though.
-Pro 5: 24/7 support available
I haven't had to use support for any reason, but it's nice to know that someone is there for me at 3am if I can't load a module!
-Con 1: The quiz questions can be challenging
I didn't know if this was a con or not because things that don't challenge you don't help you grow, right? Some of the questions get tricky, so be advised that you cannot do it while being actively involved in another activity. I am a huge multi-tasker, so this was challenging for me to focus on one task at hand, but at the same time, I started considering it "me time" as me doing something for the advancement of my own career and development.
-Con 2: There are a lot of technical terms and information presented
I've started making flashcards, once I noticed there were many terms I was not familiar with or were hard to remember. I wonder if working in pharma means I need to know this much technical information off hand?
While there is a lot of information being presented here (in my perspective, which is someone who hasn't really been in the pharma industry), it is presented in bite-size chunks and is not like a big overwhelming textbook.
Well, that's my honest review so far!
Overall, I am thoroughly enjoying this program and am really happy I started on it.
I feel very positive that when I apply for pharma jobs this time around, I will be more knowledgable and therefore, successful.
I will see you at the next check-in.