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The value of involving Ward6 Strategy in your next Advisory Board


Think of Advisory Boards and you’d be forgiven for thinking your agency can help only by sending a medical writer to take the meeting minutes.


At Ward6, we take a different approach. Our dedicated in-house strategy team can not only help the smooth running of your Advisory Board, but also leverage those hidden insights that often come to light at these invaluable Key Opinion Leader meetings.


Ward6 Strategy Director Scott Davis discusses how the agency’s strategy team works in synergy with its medical writers, and how involving both at your next Advisory Board could strengthen your brand strategy and translate hidden insights into tactics to help your brand grow.



What expertise can Ward6 Strategy bring to an Advisory Board?


Scott discusses how Strategy brings to an Advisory Board expertise in understanding human behaviour. “Strategy is anchored in human behaviour and understanding what drives behaviour. It’s looking at not just what is said, but understanding why it is said.”


He explains that in terms of strategy, an Advisory Board is not dissimilar to consumer focus groups. “Yes, they are experts, but they are people, and their motivations and behaviours are driven by the same things as consumers”. Strategy can help drive conversations that dig further into areas where there may be leverage points that can benefit the brand.



What additional outputs can be gained from having Ward6 Strategy involved in an Advisory Board?


Scott describes how involving Ward6 Strategy at an Advisory Board puts the business challenges that sit behind the Advisory Board under a lens, helping to glean insights that inform brand strategy as well as tactics for its execution. “Part of Ward6 Strategy’s role is taking information and data and turning it into direction for the brand.”


He tells how Ward6 Strategy can also bring a wholistic brand view to Advisory Boards, complementing medical objectives, which are often the primary focus.



What synergies exist between Medical Writing and Strategy at an Advisory Board?


“Strategists and Medical Writers both have a problem-solving mindset.” However, Scott goes on to say Medical Writers and Strategists bring different perspectives to an Advisory Board, allowing robust discussion around the meeting findings to understand the underlying human behaviour challenges for a brand.


In terms of changing human behaviour, Scott explains the involvement of both Strategy and Medical Writers can allow for smarter disruption: “The rich understanding that comes from the two disciplines working together allows for smarter disruption.”

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Creativity makes all the difference


Last night Ward6 picked up another PRIME Award, holding onto its title as the most awarded agency in PRIME’s seventeen-year history.



On the evening that recognises excellence in the Australian pharmaceutical industry, the award for ‘Creativity in Communication – HCP’ went to Ward6 and its client, Biogen.


Ward6 Group CEO, Stuart Black, said, ‘We try and put creativity and innovation at the heart of everything we do. And for this project, one of the geriatricians we researched told us explicitly, we needed a radical change in thinking. The team kept coming back to three words in the brief. Progressive. Credible. Inspiring. With our thinking, our writing, and our art direction, on this occasion, we’d like to think we delivered on all three.’


To Biogen and indeed all our clients, we say a massive thank you for choosing to partner with us.

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Moving the needle in patient engagement through Pharmacy


Pharmacy has not traditionally been the first choice for pharmaceutical companies looking to improve their engagement and provide valuable educational awareness to patients and communities. Instead, they prefer to use internal Nurse-led and other Allied Health-led Patient Engagement Programs, with Pharmacy as a possible referral source.



This landscape, however, is rapidly changing, with COVID-19 only exacerbating the need to connect digitally with patients after they leave the healthcare setting. In the Australian healthcare setting, clinical programme implementation has also been complex. Many individual ownership structures and banner groups provide different workflow procedures, leaving pharmaceutical companies without the certainty of standardisation required for long-term programme implementation.



In addition to these structural challenges, the rapid clinical transaction turnover in community pharmacy, i.e., prescription review, prescription checking, and direct patient-facing interactions, complicates matters. With the average task taking one to two minutes, programmes looking to integrate into such a dynamic workflow environment must consider behavioural change a prerequisite to successful programme outcomes. However, with the advent of digital, the opportunity to leverage community pharmacy's latent capacity has never been greater. "Give us the tools, and we will finish the job," Winston Churchill once said.



The Pharmacy Guild of Australia reported approximately 350 million individual patient visits to pharmacies in Australia each year. With the average Australian visiting a pharmacy 14 times per year (digitally or in-person), pharmacists have a unique opportunity to have a meaningful impact on patient outcomes throughout their health journey. Churchill's "tools," which are outfitted with digital CRM patient engagement software, provide these professionals with real-time and historical data that is tailored to the patient. Armed with this consolidated patient information and enhanced by AI systems, pharmacists can identify potential issues at the point of care or prescription dispensing event and then intervene for better patient care.



While still subject to TGA regulations, pharmaceutical companies could now raise disease awareness directly through the pharmacy channel, providing pharmacists with a meaningful opportunity to improve care. As a result, Pharmacy may be regarded as the logical choice for addressing multibillion-dollar issues ranging from medication adherence to clinical trial participation.



Pharmacists can target and deliver personalised communications by connecting Electronic Health Records, specialist CRMs, and healthcare patient apps that offer services ranging from consultations to prescriptions to patient adherence functionality. To personalise patient engagement, additional SMS, e-mail, and point-of-contact interventions can be used. With the rise of AI-enabled health platforms, healthcare brands can use such platforms/apps for disease education, a crucial patient engagement tool for pharmaceutical companies.


— Bradley Moore

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Patient case studies the W6 way

What a patient case study should really reveal



When it comes to patient case studies, you’d be forgiven for thinking they’re printed or digital pieces, heavy on clinical detail and light on real patient insight.



Ward6 Senior Medical Writer Mike Smith discusses the agency’s way of doing patient case studies and how they can help reveal fresh insights for your brand and connect with patients in meaningful ways.



What is the Ward6 approach to patient case studies?



“We use patient case studies to bring clinical data to life, by describing what it really means to patients, carers and their families. We look at experiences and meaningful insights to help support other patients on their journeys, including dealing with a diagnosis, treatment and possible side effects. Also, wholistic approaches to help improve mental wellbeing and treatment outcomes.”



Mike explains the agency’s approach of interviewing patients and clinicians. How it captures a multitude of information and insights that may go beyond the initial brief. “Over the years, we’ve developed a pool of interview questions along with a template that arranges questions into themes. We have a wealth of knowledge across a diverse range of therapy areas to draw upon, which allows us to explore additional avenues, delivering valuable answers originally not considered.”



For clinical patient case studies, Mike says the key aim is to go beyond the clinical data and discuss with clinicians their patients’ treatment goals and how these impact on clinical decision making.



What kind of patient insights have you helped reveal when working on patient case studies?



Mike discusses how speaking with patients can help reveal the impact symptoms can have on their day-to-day lives and highlight areas where clients can provide unique patient support. “Speaking with one patient about their gastrointestinal symptoms, I discovered it meant they never took public transport, they never went on holiday and, when they did leave home, they always took a change of clothing and mapped out every public toilet. These types of insights can help inform the design of patient support programs.”



Mike went on further to explain how occasionally there can be disparity between what clinicians consider to be of high importance and what patients value most. He recalls how the insights gained from a series of patient interviews led to a change in how one client communicated their key messages.



“We changed our approach to instead lead with real patient treatment goals, and then introduce clinical data that helped support these. For example, when discussing efficacy for patient X, it meant they were able to see their daughter start school; when discussing administration for patient Y, it meant that they were able to go on a holiday.”



What do you enjoy about the Ward6 way of doing patient case studies?


“I feel proud when we uncover patient insights that help inform how key messages are communicated or how patient support materials are designed. Being able to speak directly to patients, doctors or nurses is quite a privilege. They bring you into their world and give you this invaluable, tangible meaning to clinical data. They’re speaking with you, to help drive better clinical practice or to support other patients in a similar position. I feel trusted with their information and their stories, and I want to communicate them in a way that does them justice and helps make a difference to the experiences of others.”


— Andy Kerr

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Seeing the translation of basic science into personalised medicine

It was during an incidental chat in the office when one of my colleagues asked, “so, what is your research curing?” This question has been asked many times of myself and researchers-alike, and it’s not a simple one to answer.



Before joining the Ward6 med writers team, I was a researcher looking at how the immune system responds to viral infections, using a mouse model. I personally was not curing anything, but scientific research is incremental, with each researcher having their own contribution, all with the common goal of expanding our knowledge. It’s like piecing together a giant jigsaw puzzle without knowing the final picture — little by little you see it come together — and so does the potential for changing the future of medicine.



I no longer don a white lab coat every day, and I now find myself at the other end of the spectrum where I see and appreciate the translation of basic science (i.e the discipline, not simple by any means) into the age of personalised, tailored medicine – and what an exciting time it is! But as a scientist, I say let’s not forget those who are paving the way. There are some game-changing technologies appearing in the medical space including DNA-editing (made possible by the technology more commonly referred to as CRISPR), mRNA vaccines (the COVID-19 vaccine being first of its kind) and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy, which as a T cell biologist, I’ve taken quite an interest in.



CAR-T cell therapy is in the headlines with the launch of two new cancer therapies in Australia and multiple treatment centres opening across the country. CAR-T cell therapy utilises T cells, a type of immune cell responsible for hunting down infected or cancerous cells and eliminating them from the body, but often cancer cells find a way to evade detection by these T cells. The amazing thing about CAR-T cell therapy is that the patient’s immune cells are harvested and genetically modified in a lab, making them more targeted to the specific cancer the patient has, and consequently, better able to detect and kill the cancer cells once injected back into the patient.



From the identification of T cells and their ability to kill cancer cells, to where we are today, has taken more than 50 years of research. In 1992, immunologist Michel Sadelain used newly developed genetic engineering tools to insert DNA into T cells to boost their ability to fight cancer cells. One year later, the first-generation CAR-T cell was created by Zelig Eshhar. It took another 5 years for the second-generation of CAR-T cells to be developed and this time they were biologically active and could remain alive in the body. In 2002, we saw the generation of the first CAR-T cell with promising therapeutic potential by a team of scientists at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Institute in New York. In 2003, Dr Sadelain and colleagues published a paper showing CAR-T cells killing leukaemia cells in a mouse model. Fast-forward though years of research and clinical trials to the FDA approval of CAR-T cell therapy for the treatment of relapsed and refectory acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2017, with the TGA following suit in 2018.



Imagine the number of scientists, hours in the lab, failed experiments and the years spent on clinical trials it has taken to see the translation of basic science into personalised medicine. As I sit here now, on the other side to where I started as a scientist, seeing these therapies implemented and the impact on patients’ lives — this is a shout-out to scientists in the lab this weekend.



— Dr. Tamara Suprunenko

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Audika says it’s time to stop ignoring the whats

Ward6 recently teamed-up with Audika to create a campaign of positive change and motivate over 60s to start being hearing healthy.  

It tapped into a real truth of people with hearing loss always saying pardon, sorry, huh or what when they can’t hear the conversation. 

With hearing loss affecting one in two Australians over 60, and linked to other health issues like dementia, it’s time we recognised hearing health as a vital part of our overall health.

The campaign is running across radio, TV, digital, social and retail in Australia and NZ.

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Ward6 wins in Creativity and Innovation at PRIME

Yesterday Ward6 and Novartis picked up two trophies at the 16th annual PRIME Awards. On the day that recognises excellence in the Australian healthcare communications industry, the awards for ‘Creativity in Communication – HCP’ and ‘Marketing Innovation’ went to agency and client.

Ward6 Group CEO, Stuart Black, said, “For us, this year’s PRIME award wins are all about collaboration. A successful launch takes a huge amount of preparation and if you are not working tightly as a team, month after month, you do the product and your company a disservice. We consider ourselves very fortunate to be working with an inspiring group of clients from one of the world’s great pharmaceutical companies and we’re incredibly proud to share these wins with them.”

To all our clients, we say a massive thank you for choosing to partner with us.

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How GPs got their baby fix during lockdown

Lockdown for fertility company Genea meant losing connection with GPs. Practices understandably stopped accepting medical sales reps. It was up to Ward6 and The Misfits to find another way of making baby talk.

Read how in the full B&T article here

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Ward6 wins at PRIME Awards

Last night Ward6 picked up two trophies and one highly commended at the PRIME Awards, holding onto its title as the most awarded agency in PRIME’s fifteen year history.

On the evening that recognises excellence in the Australian healthcare communications industry, awards for Launch of the Year (Biktarvy) and Marketing Campaign of the Year (Biktarvy) went to the agency, and their client Gilead.

For their work on the Neulasta brand with client Amgen, Ward6 received a Highly Commended acknowledgment for Marketing Campaign of the Year, and was shortlisted as a finalist in the Creativity in Communication category.

Ward6 was shortlisted again in the Creativity in Communication category for its work with client Bristol-Myers Squibb.

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Ward6 shortlisted for Effie Awards

Ward6 and its client, Amgen, have been shortlisted in two different categories, Health and Wellbeing and Small Budget.

Introduced by the New York American Marketing Association in 1968, the Effie® Awards have since become recognised by advertisers and agencies as the pre-eminent award in the advertising industry. Held in 51 countries around the world, the Effie Awards honour the most significant achievement in advertising and marketing communications: effectiveness.

The Effie winners will be announced at a presentation in Sydney on Thursday 5 September.

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Ward6 Away Day. A bit of culture and a lot of fun

Following agency tradition, Ward6 away day headed to a wine region for some well deserved therapy. The beautiful Mornington Peninsula was our playground for two days.

Click here to watch

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‘One product we work on saved my mother’s life’

Our CEO Stuart Black adds a personal note to how the health agency space has undergone significant transformation and why there has never been a better time to be doing what we do. Have a read of the full B&T story here.

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Ward6 continues to evolve with three new assignments and four new appointments

We are in the news today with Group CEO Stuart Black talking about our exciting new changes. Check out the full Campaign Brief article here.

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Finalist for best new product launch at Prime Awards

Ward6 was awarded finalist for Best New Product Launch at last night’s PRIME Awards, which recognises excellence in the Australian healthcare communications industry.

The agency was given the monumental task to develop a global launch campaign for Cochlear that could work across five regions around the world. The result was “Hear Your Way” - a strategic and global creative platform. The campaign highlighted the customisation capabilities of Nucleus 7 made available by the first ever Made for iPhone cochlear implantable hearing device.

“Hear Your Way” has proven to be Cochlear’s most successful product launch in the company’s 37-year history. It was launched at Apple’s flagship store in San Francisco, generating nearly 645 million media impressions.

If you’d like to hear more contact us

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Ward6 picks up trophy at Gruen

During the ABC’s Gruen, now in its ninth season, Ward6 were asked on ‘The Pitch’ how to convince Australian men to go to the doctors. This was the agency’s second appearance on the show that ‘unpicks the dark arts of advertising, branding and spin’ and we’re thrilled to have a second trophy to place in the award cabinet!

Click here to see the video