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How Astra Zeneca is using Fuze to reduce costs and provide medical education in rural Australia

August 13, 2014 by

Interview with Brent Thomas, Senior Medical Representative, Astra Zeneca 

AstraZeneca is a global innovation-driven biopharmaceutical company specialising in the discovery, development, manufacturing and marketing of prescription medicines that make a meaningful difference in healthcare.

In the past few months AstraZeneca has released two first-in-class Diabetes medications. Our aim is to educate healthcare professionals on the unique benefits of these products and how they will assist them achieve better health outcomes for their patients

Why did you choose Fuze? 

I work in Tasmania, the most southern State of Australia. Tasmania is an island separated from Australia’s mainland by over 400 kilometers of water.  The population of Tasmania is relatively small but is widely dispersed throughout the state.

When we educate healthcare professionals on new medicines we generally struggle to get the education to as wide as number as possible because healthcare professionals are very time poor and we need to run educational sessions on nights and weekends which encroaches on free time they have.

Tasmania has very few disease state area specialists who are also time poor and find it very hard to allocate time to present at educational meetings.

Prior to using Fuze we had flown Specialists in to Tasmania to present at educational meetings throughout the State which has been at a great cost to AstraZeneca and great time commitment by both the visiting Specialists and the AstraZeneca representatives. Due to infrequent flight schedules and the distances required to travel the visits would normally be at least two days to ensure that they were worthwhile. Whilst these meetings are well attended, we were not reaching the isolated healthcare processionals who would need to travel several hours or stay overnight to attend.

AstraZeneca IT Department initiated a pilot use program of Fuze to see if it could benefit how we do business. I was lucky enough to be part of this pilot program and on seeing how Fuze worked I immediately realised the advantages of this technology in helping us to educate isolated healthcare professionals across Tasmania.

How do you use Fuze today?

My first use of Fuze to educate healthcare professionals was by connecting a Specialist from Melbourne to one site in Tasmania. The benefit in this was that the education was undertaken at lunchtime which was convenient for the healthcare professionals at the site and also allowed the Specialist in Melbourne, Victoria to speak via Fuze directly to the attendees as if he was in the room instead of needing to leave his practice for a couple of days.

The first meetings that we undertook with Fuze were single site meetings and as we built confidence in the reliability of the technology and our mobile internet networks we expanded the meetings to a second site in Tasmania with no loss of quality in the broadcast.

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5. Have you discovered new uses for it?  What is your most interesting use case?

With the positive feedback we have received from our Fuze meetings and the confidence in the technology it was decided that we would try and share the educational meetings with our colleagues in Victoria. Our first multi site meeting involving Victoria involved a Specialist broadcasting from his practice in Melbourne, Victoria to four sites in metropolitan and rural Victoria and two sites in Tasmania. This meeting allowed healthcare professionals who would normally not be able to attend these events because of distance to view education information and interact with a specialist in the disease state field as well as fellow healthcare professionals from Victoria and Tasmania as if they were in the same room.

After the success of the first meeting a second multi-site educational meeting was conducted across nine sites in Victoria and Tasmania. The feedback from attendees and presenters at both multi-site meetings was very positive towards the Fuze technology and the quality of the visual and audio feeds.

As healthcare professionals did not need to commit time outside their workplace to attend an educational meeting these two multi-site meetings saw a significant increase in attendance on what we would normally have attended at offsite meetings in the past. Next week we are running our biggest multi-site meeting to date which will involve 19 sites across Victoria and Tasmania.

6​. What do you like best about Fuze?

Fuze is really easy to use and is a reliable way of communicating on a face-to-face basis. Fuze is allowing us to educate healthcare professionals in isolated areas at a time convenient to them and is reducing our costs. The value of Fuze has been seen in the growth of our new products in the areas that we have conducted the Fuze meetings.

7.​ Top tip for Fuze users?

Prepare, prepare, prepare – make sure that all participants are comfortable using Fuze. Lastly, be prepared to challenge the way you have communicated in the past.

To learn more about how to take advantage of Fuze for communication and training purposes, check out the Fuze Use Case Catalog for Learning & Development.

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