In our fourth installment of our executive interview series (check out parts one, two, and three, if you haven’t already), we’re chatting with Colleen Hatcher, our director of business development. She’s been with us since our early days down in Nashville, and we’re so grateful that she’s come along for the ride these past 15 years.
JB: How have Praxis and the patient recruitment industry changed over the last 15 years?
CH: What a great question. Since 2004, the impact of social networks has changed the way we listen to patients and caregivers, how we look to influencers and other groups who share the same health concerns, and where we go to learn more about diagnosis and treatment options, including clinical research. We’re living in a digital world, and people have become more comfortable sharing their experiences, successes, and fears when it comes to their personal healthcare. As an industry, we are “leaning in” to listen to the patients and the experts. We’re leveraging influencers and channels of social listening to bring patients’ voices to life. Praxis has supported this by working with the pharma/biotech industry to lend our social listening and linguistic analysis expertise when pharma sponsors are developing a protocol. And, of course, we always begin every patient recruitment and retention strategy by standing in a patient’s shoes so we can develop a campaign that will educate and connect with potential study participants.
JB: Where do you see the industry going in the next five years? Ten years?
CH: Since we are living in a digital world, we will most likely continue to see more apps and virtual means of communication. Of course, this won’t completely replace face-to-face communication. We still need and thrive on human interaction – without it, we would be missing so many elements necessary not only for healthcare but also for the development of patient-physician relationships.
JB: From your perspective, what makes Praxis unique?
CH: Praxis puts people first, whether it’s understanding patients as they navigate their own healthcare, giving research site staff the proper tools to help communicate about the study, or providing sponsors smart and thoughtful recommendations to help optimize enrollment. It may sound cliché, but Praxis cares. And from a personal standpoint, we at Praxis truly value our people. We consider ourselves a family. We celebrate personal and professional successes, and we support one another when “life happens” or things don’t go as hoped. This is a unique attribute in a company.
JB: What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
CH: Surprisingly, it’s connecting with people over the phone as opposed to communicating solely by email. People have busy schedules these days, so it’s easier for most to communicate via email at their convenience. Personally, I enjoy getting to know people, connecting with them and understanding their specific recruitment and retention needs in a brief conversation. I can learn so much more about a person during a 15-minute conversation than in an exchange of emails. As I mentioned earlier, Praxis’ approach is very collaborative. Because we customize all our campaigns, having an opportunity to actually speak to a sponsor allows us to develop the smart and sound recommendation they are looking for. (This is probably why I enjoy conferences so much. I get to meet people face-to-face!)
JB: What is your advice for young professionals entering the pharmaceutical industry?
CH: My advice would be not to just look for a job, but to look for a company that will play to your strengths and has a leadership team to mentor you professionally. I look at the young professionals who have joined our team in the past few years and have seen such growth because they chose to align themselves with a company that cares about their future.
If you’d like to connect with Colleen – or any other member of the Praxis team – to discuss your next clinical trial recruitment campaign, let us know.