This week I had the pleasure of having Amanda Sowinski (Manager, Patient & Professional Advocacy) and Gary LaSasso (Director, Collaboration Experiences & Technologies) from Amicus Therapeutics as panelists in the webinar, “Amicus Therapeutics Collaborates With Patients to Develop Life Changing Medicine”.
Amicus Therapeutics is a patient-dedicated biotech company focused on discovering, developing, and delivering high-quality medicines for people living with rare metabolic diseases. A long time BlueJeans customer, Amicus Therapeutics won this year’s BlueJeans Best of Breed Award for the Best Collaboration Champion category.
As a member of the Patient and Professional Advocacy team, one of Amanda’s main initiatives is working with patients through the Patient Advisory Board (PAB). This program began years ago in order to address the gap in knowledge about rare diseases. These advisory boards offer an important mechanism to connect patients with doctors, researchers, medical boards and scientists so they are equipped with the information essential for creating new treatments and medicine. For Amanda and her team, bringing the patient’s voice to the forefront is critical to ensure the research and the decisions are on the right track.
Even before the pandemic restricted travels, Amanda would conduct the PABs virtually so that patients could join from anywhere using BlueJeans Meetings. This would protect patients, for whom travel could be difficult and complicated, while still allowing them to convey valuable information to doctors and researchers. Having the virtual system in place has been critical to continue the momentum of their research during the pandemic, while still keeping everyone safe.
Patients join the BlueJeans PAB meetings using any device of their choice, and Amanda says it has been very simple for patients to get used to this format. Her team provides an initial training session to get new participants familiar with BlueJeans, and after that they are self-sufficient. Simplicity of the technology and the ability for patients to join from any device from the comfort of their homes has resulted in more participation over time, with more advisory meetings now conducted virtually than in-person.
Amanda has also been using BlueJeans to work with Patient Organization Leaders. Patient Organizations, such as The United Pompe Foundation, provide valuable support to patients with rare diseases, often working with doctors and researchers closely to develop programs and trials for treatments, while also providing critical support, awareness and education in the community.
At a time when many organizations have been struggling to maintain culture and community with everyone working remotely, Amicus Therapeutics continues to effectively rally their employees around their mission. Before the pandemic, Amanda’s team in the Patient Advocacy group used to host ‘Lunch and Learns’ to bring stories of patients to the rest of the organization. These ‘Lunch and Learn’ events, where patients would typically join from their homes and the employees would meet in their office townhall space, are now fully remote. Conducted using BlueJeans Events, these sessions are broadcasted to stakeholders around the world and helps renew everyone’s commitment to the cause that the company was founded on. Participants are able to fully utilize the different features of Events like Q & A and Raise Hands to have an interactive, engaging session. Gary mentions how inspiring it has been to connect everyone’s day to day work with the impact the company is having to improve the lives of the patient communities.
Gary provided us his impression of BlueJeans from the IT perspective, having always had the opportunity to evaluate multiple conferencing solutions throughout his career as a collaboration specialist. BlueJeans’ ability to interoperate with different platforms and devices, either in conference rooms, computers or mobile devices was a critical factor in his decision-making. Gary also mentions being able to connect Microsoft Teams with Poly conference room systems using BlueJeans Gateway as an extension of the interoperability that he finds essential. The team has recently started using BlueJeans Smart Meetings in order to capture Meeting Highlights and share notes with others using recordings. Another key factor to his continued support of BlueJeans has been BlueJeans’ innovative product roadmap and the way BlueJeans has adapted to the needs of the time. Gary is excited to start using virtual backgrounds and the 5x5 gallery view when it is available later this summer.
To learn more about the BlueJeans platform and how we can help you with your initiatives, contact us today.