Medical Writing Services – The role of Project Manager

Medical Writing Services

A typical medical writing services agency consists of scientific and client service teams. The scientific team comprises of medical writers, subject matter experts, quality assurance, editorial and creative designing staff who primarily focuses on content development. Whereas, the client services team includes project managers/account managers who liaise with clients and scientific teams.

Medical writing services are strictly timeline bound and include both short turn around and long term projects. Medical writing services like abstract submission (late breaker) to a congress; daily congress newsletter; or a publication alert are turned around in a day or weeks’ time. Whereas, medical writing services like, publishing a manuscript; submitting a clinical study report to regulators; or organizing an ad board/symposia run over months to a yearlong period. Project management is crucial to the success of timely submissions of regulatory documents, publications or event management. Each project is an orchestra of activities that need to be well planned, executed, tracked and coordinated by a project manager involving all the internal and external stakeholders.

The Role of Project Manager

Medical Writers play an important role in scientific content development, they multitask and work closely with multiple stakeholders (scientists, medical teams, authors etc.) to communicate the research outcomes and healthcare product information to target audience. They are often overwhelmed with the project management that goes around the project delivery. Hence, project managers play a key role in supporting medical writers with the project management from conception to completion. They ease out medical writers’ burden so that writers can focus on value add content, creative thinking and develop quality documents. The project managers act as the interface between the clients and the core scientific writing team and are an integral part of the service team. They are also responsible for leading and managing designated accounts, tracking multiple projects - big and small. Project management involves developing a strong client relationship while delivering high-quality projects and ensuring overall client satisfaction. Those involved in events management coordinate production of materials to promote events, sourcing venues, program development, and vendor management.1


"Operations keep the lights on, strategy provides the light at the end of the tunnel, but project management is the train engine that moves the organization forward"

. Quoted by Joy Gumz.


Medical Writing Services - A Typical Project Management Workflow

For successful service delivery, a project manager implements the five process groups as defined by the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). The workflow is representative and not limited to the project manager's activities.

Medical Writing Services

Project Manager - Skills

The project manager plays a crucial role in managing effectively and efficiently the teamwork and projects execution. Successful project management is a combination of approximately 80% soft skills and 20% technical skills:

Soft skills:
  •    Communications - excellent oral and writing skills
  •   Collaboration
  •   Managing multiple stakeholders - working in a matrix environment
  •   Interpersonal relationship - negotiation and influencing abilities
  •   Analytical and decision making
  •   Time management
  •   Conflict management
  • Technical know-how:
  •   Medical writing domain awareness –services/products, standard operating procedures; process maps; publications/ organization’s internal tools; and high-level business operations.
  •   Hands on experience in Excel, PowerPoint and project management tools
  • Project Manager - Career Growth

    The starting career point into project management could be a junior role -project specialist who can eventually grow as 1) Project Manager / Event Manager / Event Lead. Those inclined towards science can become 2) Medical Communications Lead / Publications Manager / Service Manager --> Service Liaison. Those interested in accounts or operations side can progress as 3) Account Manager --> Account Director or 4) Operations Manager --> Operations Director. Account and Operations Managers have a scientific background, but it is not essential.

    References:

    1. Moon A. From academic to medical writer. 2016. Available at http://medcommsnetworking.com/careersguide.pdf. Accessed on Feb 1, 2019.

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    Keywords : Medical communications agency, Medical writing Agency,
    Medical writing Service, Medical communications service, Manuscript writing, Posters, Medical education