3 Sep

Optimizing the Managed Markets Function to Ensure Effective Payer Interactions

CHAPEL HILL, NC, Aug. 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ –Commercial and government payers can play a key role in the success or failure of pharmaceutical products. As a result, the importance of the managed markets function the role that serves as the interface between pharma and payers – has grown considerably and pharmaceutical organizations are seeking ways to optimize this critical function.

At the same time, managed markets leaders must continually identify the optimal resource levels and structures that help optimize performance, even in times of resource constraints. Sometimes the need is to grow resources. At other times, the need is to defend or reduce resources, or change how resources are managed or deployed.

To help biopharma managed markets groups more effectively conduct the many activities related to managed care interactions, Best Practices, LLC conducted a study looking at FTE, budget and activity metrics for the key functions within US managed markets groups. The report provides payer and managed care leaders with important benchmarks on the optimal size of US managed markets groups, structure models, key roles and activities, and many other key management factors.

Specifically, Optimizing the Managed Markets Function: Roles, Structures, Resources and Activities assesses the operational performance of managed markets functions within small and mid-cap pharmaceutical companies. The overall goal of this project is to illustrate how to have the most impact within the organization while continuing to operate on lean resource levels.

Staffing data (FTE), budget and organizational metrics and insights were gathered for the following roles within managed markets groups:

  • Account Management
  • Pricing
  • Clinical Specialists
  • HEOR
  • Payer Market Research
  • Reimbursement
  • Contract Management
  • Payer Customer Marketing

Best Practices, LLC engaged 11 commercial leaders from targeted small and mid-cap companies that align well in terms of size, market position and resource levels.

Leaders of the managed care function at biopharma companies can use this study to assess their efficiency levels by comparing their staffing benchmarks with those of peer organizations.

To learn more about this report, download a complimentary report excerpt at http://www3.best-in-class.com/rr1370.htm.

For related research, visit our Best Practices, LLC Web site at www.best-in-class.com/.

ABOUT BEST PRACTICES, LLC

Best Practices, LLC is a leading benchmarking and advisory services firm serving pharmaceutical and medical device companies worldwide. Best Practices, LLCs clients include all the top 10 and most of the top 50 pharmaceutical companies. The firm conducts primary research and uses its comprehensive benchmarking tools and executives interviews to form the basis for our Benchmarking Reports and advisory services utilized by top executives. Best Practices, LLC believes in the profound principle that organizations can chart a course to superior economic performance by studying the best business practices, operating tactics and winning strategies of world-class companies.

SOURCE Best Practices, LLC

RELATED LINKS
http://www.best-in-class.com

2 Sep

Researchers study smartphone interactions with implantable devices

BLOCKING SOME TRAFFIC BUT YOU CAN SEE RIGHT NOW ALL HAS CLEARED? IN TODAYS HEALTH CAST EVERYONE SEEMS TO HAVE A SMARTPHONE THESE DAYS, RIGHT? EVEN KIDS CARRY THEM AROUND. BUT HOW LONG IS IS TOO YOUNG? LOCAL10s MEDICAL SPECIALIST KRISTI KRUEGER IS RIGHT THERE IN THE NEWSROOM WITH THE ADVICE FROM THE EXPERTS. Kristi Krueger: CHILD DEVELOPMENT EXPERTS SAY NO CHILD YOUNGER THAN TEN YEARS OF AGE SHOULD HAVE A SMARTPHONE BECAUSE ITS ONLY AROUND THAT AGE THAT THEY CAN REALLY BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND THINGS LIKE THE DANGERS OF CYBERBULLYING AND ONLINE PREDATORS. EXPERTS SAY PARENTS SHOULD DROP CONTRACTS SPELLING OUT THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF HAVING A PHONE WITH YOUR CHILD AND ALSO THE REPERCUSSIONS IF YOUR CHILD BREAKS THE RULES OR BREAKS THE PHONE, AND I KNOW IT REALLY IS ALSO IMPORTANT TO KEEP THOSE LINES OF COMMUNICATION OPEN WITH YOUR CHILD AT ALL TIMES. I ALWAYS SAY FOR PARENTS, MONITOR, MONITOR, MONITOR AND BE ENGAGED WITH YOUR CHILD SO THAT HE OR SHE FEELS COMFORTABLE TALKING TO YOU IF THERE ARE PROBLEMS WITH THE HANDHELD DEVICE. Kristi Krueger: ALSO IN TODAYS HEALTHCAST THE LATEST RESEARCH ON POTENTIAL INTERACTIONS BETWEEN THESE THINGS AND THINGS LIKE PACEMAKERS. CARDIOLOGIST DR. ARI SOFFER IS HERE WITH HIS SECOND OPINION REPORT. Dr. Ari Soffer: WHEN PHYLLIS HAD A PACEMAKER IMPLANTED A FEW YEARS AGO, SHE WONDERED WHETHER HER CELL PHONE COULD CAUSE GLEENS IN THE BEGINNING, WHEN I FIRST GOT THE PACEMAKER, YES, THAT DID ENTER MY MIND. Dr. Ari Soffer: A RECENT EUROPEAN STUDY FOUND THERES A RARE CHANCE OF INTERFERENCE IF THE DEVICE IS PLACED IN A SPOT OVER THE CARDIAC DEVICE, SOMETHING FEW PEOPLE WOULD EVER DO. CELL PHONES EIN THE A VERY LOW AMOUNT OF ELECTROMAGNETIC ENERGY. ITS NON-EYE DYEING WHICH MEANS THAT IT DOESNT PENETRATE VERY MUCH, SO MOST OF THE ENERGY OF YOUR CELL PHONE IS ABSORBED BY YOUR STIN AND SUBCUTANEOUS TISSUE. Dr. Ari Soffer: AND DR. RICK FRAGAS SAID THE MOST RECENT CONCLUSIONS WERE BASED ON OLDER DEVICES. I THINK MOST OF IT IS PART OF A GENERAL DISCLAIMER BECAUSE THEORETICALLY IT COULD, BUT IN REAL LIFE, IF ANY, THE EFFECTS ARE SO MINOR THAT THEYRE UNDETECTABLE AT THE PRESENT TIME. Dr. Ari Soffer: THATS A RELIEF TO FILL WHO ALSO BE NEEDING A REPLACEMENT DEVICE IN A FEW YEARS. IM ASSUMING THAT THE NEXT PACEMAKER I GET WILL BE FURTHER ADVANCED THAN THE ONE I CURRENTLY HAVE. Dr. Ari Soffer: YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER WERE CONSTANTLY BEING BOMBARDED BY ELECTROMAGNETIC INTERFERENCE. UNTIL THE SIGNS SHOWS YOU OTHERWISE, YOU SHOULD NOT AB FRAYED THESE DEVICES, AND INSTEAD WE SHOULD EMBRACE THEIR USEFULSNESS. AND ONE MORE NOTE ON THIS. HEALTH EXPERTS SAY THAT CELL PHONE MANUFACTURERS ARE ACTUALLY CONSTANTLY MONITORING THE EFFECTS OF THEIR DEVICES AND

1 Sep

What you need to know about traveling on US 36

KUSA – The Colorado Department of Transportation says there are new rules for truck and commercial vehicle drivers when toll-collection begins on the US 36 Express Lanes starting July 22.

Small and mid-sized trucks with two or three axles may use the Express Lanes and pay a toll, or travel toll-free if they need HOV requirements and have an ExpressToll account and switchable pass.

Vehicles with four or more axles will be charges $25 surcharge per toll point, no matter how many passengers are in the vehicle.

There are six toll points from Louisville/Superior on US 36 to downtown Denver, which could equal a surcharge of $150 on that stretch.

Michael Cheroutes the Director of High Performance Transportation Enterprises encourages drivers with more than three axles to use the two free general purpose lanes.

Read more at 9News.com.

31 Aug

England react to rugby’s wild weekend with bold selection for France game

Even by the fluctuating standards of international rugby union, where little stays the same for long, it has been an eventful few days. Maybe that partially explains why England brought forward their team announcement for Saturday’s warmup against France at Twickenham by 72 hours, as if seeking to keep pace with the frenzied state of flux elsewhere.

When New Zealand are beaten by an Australia side who will soon be sharing a pool with England, Ireland rise to second in the world rankings and Argentina upset South Africa in Durban it certainly adds a dash of intrigue to the waiting game being played by all concerned before the World Cup kicks off next month. What felt like a sure thing last week no longer seems quite so predictable.

Stuart Lancaster, understandably, is rather more concerned about England’s preparations than other nations’ but he could hardly avoid the impact made by Australia’s back-row scavengers, David Pocock and Michael Hooper, during Saturday’s win over the All Blacks. If the performance of Wales’s reserves in Cardiff was rather less of a concern, the hard time endured by Richie McCaw and his team-mates at the breakdown in Sydney rang plenty of alarm bells among English fans.

Hence the reason why, having confirmed the selection of four new caps – Sam Burgess, Henry Slade, Calum Clark and Luke Cowan-Dickie – in his list of 23 names to face France on Saturday evening, Lancaster found himself fielding slightly trickier questions about the lurking Wallaby threat.

Chris Robshaw, rubber-stamped as his country’s captain for the tournament, brings a slightly different set of back-row strengths and Lancaster made clear he is relying on the entire team to supply an antidote to the Pocock-Hooper danger.

In the management’s eyes, it is less about fielding a specialist groundhog seven and more a question of collective vigilance. “Stealing ball is the ultimate because you can play off the counterattack,” Lancaster said. “But getting your discipline right at the breakdown is also critical because a lot of penalties are given away there. I’ve seen a lot of penalties given against teams who are over-competing or not getting their technique right.

“In an ideal world you’d have Hooper and Pocock who are pretty good at turning ball over. They are both high-quality players and we are not surprised by how much Australia have developed. But South Africa’s main threat [at the breakdown] comes from Bismarck du Plessis and he’s a hooker. We’ve also got threats across the board … our back row are good, but so are Mako Vunipola, Brad Barritt, Dan Cole and Joe Launchbury.”

As it happens, neither of that quartet, nor indeed Robshaw, will be involved on Saturday, which reveals something about Lancaster’s approach to selection for this particular match. He was at pains to stress a significantly different XV would be representing England against Fiji in the opening fixture on 18 September and made clear that, in several cases, he is waiting for fringe candidates to make a compelling case.

Among those who would dearly love a big game are Kieran Brookes at tight-head prop and Alex Goode at full-back as they seek to edge out David Wilson and Danny Cipriani respectively, while Billy Twelvetrees and Cowan-Dickie will also be bench men on a mission.

The majority of eyes, even so, will inevitably be on Burgess, whose retention at centre ahead of his club-mate Kyle Eastmond remains a lively topic of debate. “Kyle’s a high-quality player; we’ve talked about the areas we feel he needs to work on and I’m sure he’ll get his opportunity again,” Lancaster said.

“They’re all difficult conversations; it was equally hard with Lee Dickson, Matt Mullan, Chris Ashton and Semesa Rokoduguni. But ultimately we’ve been together for five to six weeks and we’ve had a good chance to look at them. We know the type of game we want to play but the door’s not shut on anyone.”

Lancaster, who has underlined that point by invited Ben Foden and Chris Pennell to training this week, has also warned the entire squad not to allow personal ambition to subvert team priorities. He detected the odd warning sign at a training session a fortnight ago and wants no repeat, regardless of any telling substitutions he ends up making.

It will be hard, even so, for Clark – in the squad since 2012 but still uncapped – Slade and Cowan-Dickie to treat this like any other game. If they are going to make the final 31, to be named later this month, this is their best – and potentially only – opportunity to stake their claim.

Times, incidentally, are changing when Exeter supply three players to an England matchday 23 and Leicester none. Geoff Parling was once a Tiger but, following his summer move to Devon, is now officially a Chief.

31 Aug

Valve shares advice on designing great VR game interactions

Figuring out how to design the ways players interact with your VR game is tricky business, especially now when many high-profile VR headsets havent even hit the market yet. But Valves Yasser Malaika cautioned developers at GDC Europe today to look upon VR interaction design as a challenge, but also as an opportunity..

Interaction is turning out to be an essential part of VR, as a medium, says Malaika. It is profoundly satisfying for users to interact with [VR] content, and developers have a rare opportunity to freely experiment with how players reach out and touch their games.

I say touch because Malaika spoke with the assumption that most VR developers will be making experiences for players that have access to gesture controls, like those afforded by HTC Vives handheld controllers.

We favor hand controls because we feel like thats a piece of the puzzle that wasnt easily accessible, says Malaika. We feel its important for every customer to have that out of the box, so developers feel confident that they can explore VR-specific, novel experiences.

But of course, theres yet no standardized VR input scheme: right now, most players interact with VR games via either head movements, a gamepad or handheld motion controllers. Malaika suggests the standardization of VR input technology is a good thing, even at this early stage, and highlights several upsides: its easy for players to move from VR game to VR game with a minimal learning curve, and its easier for devs to target multiple platforms efficiently.

We feel its very important, in these early days, for developers to develop for multiple platforms, says Malaika. We think that mitigates some of the risks, and we hope it will help the market for VR develop in a healthy way.

Malaika went on to share some of the lessons Valve has learned about designing VR interactions, both from its own internal experiments and its partnerships with other VR developers.

Don#39;t cross the streams

His first piece of advice for VR developers to break down what you know about game design and break out traditional input conventions to figure out where they would most intuitively work in VR. The right stick on a gamepad typically controls camera movement, for example, effectively standing in for the players head movement. When youre making a VR game that supports gamepads it makes more sense to let the player control their camera using head movement and bind the right stick to some other function.

Dont cross the streams, says Malaika. In other words, dont confuse your player by using unintuitive input methods. For example, Mapping pointing or interaction with your head can be less than satisfactoryhellip;.and doing so detracts from its natural task of governing what the user is looking at.

Except sometimes, crossing the streams can actually work out okay. Malaika shared the example of a demo which the Valve engineers initially built to allow players to move through a virtual world by moving their head; when the engineers got access to motion controllers, they modified the demo to let the player move by waving their hand in a direction, and it turned out to be surprisingly enjoyable.

It was sort of strange the first time, but it was one of those things you kind of quickly get used to, and then immediately miss when you dont have, says Malaika.

Go for abstract, not hyper-realistic

Another lesson learned was that when it comes to modeling player avatars in VR, abstract trumps the real. Malaika says Valve has found that players tend to feel less immersed in games that try to model hands realistically, and more immersed in games with cartoony hands like in Owlchemy Labs Job Simulator 2050 (pictured),for example, which Valve has been using to demo its Vive headset.

Theres a really kind of interesting matrix of representation of visuals and of interaction, says Malaika. It really highlights how, in VR, theres no substitute for observing and play testing.

When Valve was creating its own Aperture Science VR demo, Malaika says the company ran into difficulties after pouring a bunch of energy into rendering the environment as realistically as possible.

We put a lot of time into trying to enhance the physical realismhellip;we had high-res textures, normal maps, parallax-sensitive environment mapshellip;all of those things really helped to make the surfaces feel tangible, says Malaika. Problem was, all that extra detail outshone the tiny clues the developers had seeded in the demo to show which objects were interactable and which were static small green and red LED lights on lab drawers, for example and wound up disappointing players by making them think they could interact with things they couldnt.

Make sure everything aplayer can do is meaningful

Malaika also recommends that VR developers avoid the temptation to render unmeaningful gestures in great detail. For example, you can require players to reach out, grasp a door handle, and turn it a full 90 degrees to open a door. Something like that, although novel the first time, can quickly become fatiguing, says Malaika. His experience suggests its probably best to save those levels of intricate detail for critical tasks. I like to ask myself the question, lsquo;Is this meaningful?

The same goes for affording your player in-game abilities — input in VR is much more limited than traditional console or PC game design, so you have to thnk very carefully about whether each input is meaningful.

In VR, you dont have a keyboard full of hotkeys, says Malaika. The buttons on a ctronller are much more limited, so you have to think about how to provide the same number of choiceshellip;and manage the number of choices a user has.

Quick note: If you happen to be developing a game for the Vive or another VR system with haptic feedback, Malaika recommends experimenting with gentle haptics. Pulses can trigger a players sense of touch, he says, and more deeply immerse them in your game by linking a virtual stimulus with their real body.

Finally, Malaika reminds fellow VR game developers to try and keep a player#39;s physical realities in mind when crafting virtual experiences.Bring interaction to the user, not vice versa, says Malaika;VR is heavily rooted in physical space, and so you have to consider things like a players height, their mobility (or lack thereof) and the room theyll be playing in when designing your next VR game.

29 Aug

How to avoid dangerous interactions between medications, food

DETROIT –

They are foods that are supposed to be good for you, but if you are taking many common medications, certain foods can cause serious reactions.

Youve probably seen the little sticker on medicine bottles that says, Take with food or Take on an empty stomach. Its there because food in your stomach changes the absorption of medications, making them more or less potent.  But the warnings Im talking about go beyond that.

For example, a grapefruit and a banana sound like a healthy way to start your day, but not if you are on certain blood pressure or cholesterol medications.

28 Aug

Gamescom 2015: ‘World of Warcraft,’ ‘Call of Duty’ and Other Big Announcements

This years biggest reveals. Among the mostly highly anticipated announcements at Gamescom were the reveal of World of Warcraft: Legion and some big news on the Call of Duty: Black Ops III front.

Blizzard Entertainment unveiledWorld of Warcraft: Legion,the online games sixth expansion, according to IGN Entertainment.

The expansion will revolve around the invasion of the Burning Legion with other features including the newBroken Isles Continent, alevel cap raise to 110, anew dungeons and raids, new Honor System, new Artifact Weapons like Ashbringer,Class Order Halls and aNew Hero Class Demon Hunter, IGN reports.

The company released a cinematic trailer to give fans a taste of things to come:

26 Aug

Play new Chipotle game and get a buy one, get one free coupon

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  Looking for a fun way to get a deal on lunch? All you have to do is play Chipotles new game.

The game is all online and asks customers to compare Chipotles ingredients to other fast food restaurant competitors. Its all an effort test your knowledge of genetically modified food.

Chipotle says that once you play the game, youll get a text for any buy one, get one meal. You will also have the opportunity to enter for a chance to win free burritos for a year.

Click here to play.