How many times have you heard this expression while trying to grasp the context of an anecdote or out of the ordinary occurrence? And I don't only mean private concerts with Elton John or keynotes by Michael Phelps and Clayton Christensen to name a few--thank you, Qualtrics Insight Summit.
My business model has always been to be up front. Sit in the seats, listen to the panel discussions--join the panels for discussions, or ask the questions. But I get it. Travel can be tiresome and your interests may not align with your business objectives or even the perspective of your boss. If I may use an ill-used and arguably over-used expression, value-add, it is exactly what you get when you are live at events.
DIA Medical Affairs and Scientific Communications Forum
For example, you might learn more real world evidence drinking lemon-drop martinis with a colleague during the final sessions of an event (allegedly) then actually attending the session. Or perhaps a deep dive into Section 502 of the FFDCA (Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act) dealing with false or misleading labeling. Discussions of new draft FDA guidance documents are relevant no matter which stakeholder chair you sit in especially if you have a role in medical affairs and medical writing in 2017 and beyond.
I write about data within this blog on a different tab, Data Talks, People Mumble and created a presentation on the topic about Data Innovation at DIA Medical Affairs and Scientific Communication Forum. I am picking 3 high value slides to share briefly--here they are. Let me explain.
First, we see a brilliant sketch by Giorgia Lupi. The argument here is to remind us to slow down. Yes infographics are quick little data gems but if you want to communicate something meaningful--they can be low value. Hear me out. The good news is we were introduced to a language that serves us well when we move to more complex graphics encouraged to look for insights. The bad news is to what extent should we accept a simplification or "dumbing down" of data to communicate insights leading to crucial decisions?
Sketch out your visualization and indicate what type of data is needed vs. look at your data and tell the limited story based on what is easily accessible. Giorgia always begins without "data" in her pen--just an idea or question. I suggest you do the same.
What may draw your eye to the other slide I pulled from the presentation could be the brilliant frills and crenellations of the sea slug or nudibranch. Does the sea slug approximate the non-euclidean geometry through calculations clearly more complicated than its 1000 neuron "nervous system"? Or are there mathematical relationships--experienced by dutiful practice and repetition revealing the complexity inherent in hyperbolic geometric principles? Maybe when we solely focus on complexity we are getting in our own way. Yes, it is reassuring when angles in triangles add up to 180 degrees but what happens when they don't?
This relationship reminds me of the overt "fear" of maths experienced when asked to identify, analyze, or gather insights from data. What if I told you data insights are able to be gathered by all of us--not just statisticians, data analysts, or computer programmers? Ask yourself if you aren't meant to understand the limits of datasets or clinical questions--who is? We need a common language and core competency. I hope I can help. Power to the sea slug!
The last slide I chose to highlight here is a reminder that social determinants of health are quite powerful. There are considerations beyond access to medical care and prescribed interventions. Economic stability, neighborhoods and physical environments, education, food, community and social context, and health care systems. These determinants identified by Kaiser Family Foundation all inform health outcomes and by extension the health of our communities. The zip code is more powerful in determining your health status and longevity than your genetic code...
When you fly at 30,000 feet everything looks like statistics. When you drop closer to the ground? Those values and data points become people--Bonny (I likely overheard it at a conference)
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In a world of "evidence-based" medicine I am a bigger fan of practice-based evidence.
Remember the quote by Upton Sinclair...
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”