Q&A with Lorie Spence and Carolyn Pritchard, CONNECT’s Co-Founders
Tell us about CONNECT and what inspired you to start this new journey?
Lorie Spence: The idea behind CONNECT was inspired by sitting in a number of consulting meetings we had with our healthcare professional advisors where they were referencing the need to involve the patient more in the healthcare journey. This was a big area and gap that not a lot of agencies were supporting and we wanted to get in on the ground floor. CONNECT draws on Bridge Medical Communications strong history, expertise and network and we used our experience with Bridge to help healthcare providers build stronger partnerships with patients.
Carolyn Pritchard: I agree. If I had to add on to what Lorie mentioned, I would add that we wanted to help practitioners engage with patients through the creation of clinical support tools, patient care tools, stakeholder partnerships and experiential insights. We started CONNECT because we were seeking to give patients the opportunity to know more about what was going on in their own healthcare journey. We are passionate about providing professionals with the tools they need to empower patients and help them take charge of their own care.
Carolyn and Lorie, you have both been in the industry for over 20 years. How have your backgrounds prepared you for tackling this opportunity in the medical communications space?
Carolyn Pritchard: Drawing from my experience as a Registered Nurse, and now a leader in healthcare communications, I’ve worked with people from every corner of the field. Our background in establishing and building Bridge Medical Communications has provided us with the experience and confidence to create a new division of healthcare and fill the patient care need we found in the medical field.
Lorie Spence: I would add to that, that the area of healthcare has evolved, and practices are now even further at the center of care with the multitude of stakeholders involved, who need to work together to empower the patient. This includes industry healthcare practitioners and patient organizations. CONNECT is a division that can actually help with that collaboration and support. Personally, I often take a pragmatic approach to educating and informing healthcare practitioners and my background helped me recognize the opportunity to solve a real-world problem in patient care.
I understand that the landscape of the healthcare system can be complicated with new medical innovations and digital capabilities. How is CONNECT’s approach different from current medical communications?
Lorie Spence: With CONNECT, all interactions are focused on point-of-care activities to support shared decision-making process versus just knowledge translation and education for patients and healthcare practitioners. We are more focused on providing sources and tools to ensure decision-making and movement along the care path.
Carolyn Pritchard: I’d like to also add in the layer of Canadian healthcare because that is a differentiator for us. The Canadian healthcare system is quite different from global health and patient visits are nuanced by provincial regulations, different practitioner clinics and styles. It’s important to have tools that can be adaptable to various healthcare settings and situations and still add value to the healthcare practitioner and the patient.
CONNECT was first established back in 2020. Can you tell us about how the company has evolved since then?
Carolyn Pritchard: Since 2020, the tools and resources we have made that have been utilized by healthcare practitioners and patients have made a significant impact on the care they deliver and the care they receive. We constantly work to stay up-to-date on enhancements in the field and our portfolio of tools and resources will continue to grow as the business grows.
Lorie Spence: CONNECT and healthcare has evolved in a sense that it’s been integral to get involved with all relevant stakeholders in the development and implementation process in order to achieve optimal success and utilization. It’s evolved in that everything we’ve put out from CONNECT at this point in time has truly made a huge positive impact on practice. Through this journey we have learned how to receive endorsements and support for the correct stakeholders and we are not just developing tools for the sake of tools, we are changing the face of patient care.
Can you speak to some milestones you’ve reached or achievements your company has made thus far?
Carolyn Pritchard: We’ve created IBD tools for nursing organizations and they’ve come back to say that they would like to continue to use our tools and resources as the healthcare landscape evolves. Whether it be the introduction of new therapies or guidelines, CONNECT educates practitioners and helps them explain to patients how treatments have evolved and informs them of recent changes in regulations. We continue to work with clients and healthcare professionals as the therapeutic areas evolve since the medical landscape is ever-changing—it’s never going to be one and done thing.
Lorie Spence: We ensure that everything we develop and implement remains relevant to the evolving healthcare landscape and we are committed to staying relevant and up-to-date. We evolve as science evolves and as new evidence and new regulations develop. At CONNECT, we are committed to ensuring that new developments get incorporated into what’s available for patients.