Nurses in the Flow:

Shaping Safer, Simpler and Smarter Healthcare:
A Med Affairs Perspective

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Blog Post

Marianne Gill, RN

VP, Medical Affairs

May 2024

As a VP, Medical Affairs at BD’s Medication Management Solutions, my role is multifaceted, focusing on supporting hospitals and healthcare practitioners in shared efforts to advance safer, smarter, and simpler healthcare through medication management innovation. My background as an adult ICU nurse and  experience at the bedside providing patient care was invaluable to me as I transitioned into a professional career in Medical Affairs.

My initial transition from bedside nursing to a customer education and support role for an infusion system manufacturer like BD was driven by a desire to better understand the clinical end user needs for infusion therapy, in an effort to contribute to healthcare innovation on a broader scale.  While my direct patient care experience provided valuable insights into the challenges faced by frontline healthcare providers, it was the opportunity to impact patient care on a systematic level that later drew me to the field of Medical Affairs.

Historically, the concept of Medical Affairs started with the pharmaceutical industry with a role termed "Medical Science Liaison" or MSL as function developed to help facilitate discussions between commercial/marketing drug representatives and healthcare providers regarding the appropriate use of drugs and medical devices.  

More recently, Medical Affairs has gained prominence within medical device companies in taking the lead role in providing healthcare providers non-promotional, accurate and fair-balanced scientific information, necessitating the development of a tailored approach to meet the unique needs of advancing healthcare technology in today’s increasingly regulated environment.

At BD, the role of Medical Affairs is structured around three key pillars: compliance, KOL (Key Opinion Leader) innovation, and safety post-market surveillance. These pillars serve as the foundation for ensuring that our products not only meet regulatory standards but also address the evolving needs of our customers while prioritizing patient safety.  BD Medical Affairs is an active member of the Medical Affairs Professional Society (MAPS), whose vision is to improve patient outcomes by maximizing the impact of Medical Affairs.

One aspect of Medical Affairs involves engaging in scientific exchanges with healthcare providers regarding off-label usage of our devices. While field personnel are restricted from discussing off-label use, Medical Affairs may engage to provide unbiased and non-promotional scientific data, facilitating informed decision-making by healthcare practitioners. This feedback loop informs our innovation and product development efforts, ensuring that our devices evolve to meet the changing demands of healthcare delivery.

Evidence generation lies at the heart of Medical Affairs, underscoring the importance of unbiased data in driving decision-making and product development. Partnering with internal and external stakeholders, medical affairs ensures that our products are supported by robust clinical evidence, reinforcing their efficacy and safety in real-world healthcare settings.

Moreover, Medical Affairs plays a crucial role in understanding human factors and decision-making processes among healthcare providers. By incorporating human factors into product design, we aim to create devices that support streamlined workflows and help minimize the risk of errors, ultimately enhancing patient care outcomes.

In essence, Medical Affairs serves as a bridge between healthcare providers, regulatory bodies, and internal stakeholders, championing patient safety, innovation, and evidence-based practice in the ever-evolving landscape of medical device technology. Through collaborative partnerships and a steadfast commitment to excellence, we strive to shape safer, simpler and smarter medication management for the benefit of patients worldwide.

“Nurses: In the Flow,” a BD MMS Series to share BD nurse leader perspectives and stories on how BD collaborates across healthcare with the nursing profession to support streamlined systems and solutions for smart, connected care.