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New ventures

Posted by Rachel Goddard

As restrictions in the UK are beginning to feel like a thing of the past, I have been reflecting on my time with the Springer Healthcare IME team, having joined amid the global pandemic in January this year, and plunged into the deep end with the entrance into a new disease area.

For anyone else who has onboarded virtually to a new company during the pandemic, you will know the stress and anxiety associated with the first day – wondering if the laptop will arrive in time, meticulously tidying a small section of your house so your new colleagues are impressed by your ‘nice and neat’ call backdrop, and getting properly dressed and made up to make a good first impression, after the long commute from the bedroom to the desk (or in my case, kitchen table). But I was pleasantly surprised on day one by the welcoming atmosphere I entered into, and was put at ease by the coffee calls and smiling faces, albeit experienced through a screen.

Coming from a background in medical communications, my first challenge was understanding the difference between IME / CME content and the work I had been used to, including the role it plays in the wider medical field. My focus was pushed away from the education and promotion around singular drugs, and instead my work was driven towards the development of unbiased and multifaceted educational programmes focussing on whole disease areas, whether it be driving for disease awareness or earlier diagnosis, or developing tools to make sense of complex guideline recommendations. It also very quickly became apparent to me the importance of these programmes in the wider medical field: having been designed specifically to meet an educational gap in the field, they will be directly contributing to the knowledge of the medical community and, in turn, an improvement in patient care.

One such programme in development surrounds non-alcoholic steatohepatisis (NASH), and represents Springer Healthcare IME’s first venture into the hepatology space. NASH is the advanced, inflammatory subtype of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) – the most prevalent liver disease in the western world. It is a necroinflammatory liver disease, and increases the risk for the development of cirrhosis, liver failure, hepatocellular carcinoma, and the need for liver transplant; however despite its progressive implications, NASH is typically under diagnosed in clinical practice, owing to its non-specific symptoms. For a disease that progresses to cirrhosis in approximately 20% of cases1, it is clear that there is an educational gap surrounding the knowledge of NASH as a metabolic disease, the mechanisms underlying progression, methods for diagnosis, and the management of NASH.

For the above reasons I was very excited that the first program I was able to launch with Springer Healthcare IME is the expert-led educational program “Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis: a 360 approach to management” which seeks to improve the diagnosis and management of NASH through videos, interactive eLearning modules and patient case studies – come and check it out for yourself!

I have thoroughly enjoyed my first 7 months with the team, getting to know new people, new educational formats and a new disease area, and I very much look forward to many more.

 

  1. Loomba R, Adams LA. The 20% Rule of NASH Progression: The Natural History of Advanced Fibrosis and Cirrhosis Caused by NASH. Hepatology. 2019 Dec;70(6):1885-1888