Dear HealthEconomics.Com Connected Community®,
On March 31, I’ll be retiring from HealthEconomics.Com and our parent company, Scientist.com. I’m passing the mantle onto an exceptional team at Scientist.com, and HealthEconomics.Com will be supported by a larger staff and even more resources. I’m excited to see where the expanded team takes HealthEconomics.Com, and I have every confidence in the future.
Of course, it’s somewhat bittersweet. I wanted to take a moment to thank you for being part of the journey. And, no retirement farewell would be complete without a bit of reflection.
For over 35 years, I’ve had a birds-eye seat participating in and watching the growth of our profession. This includes the increasing impact of our research on improving healthcare outcomes, and the expansion of our remit across geographies, intervention types, methods, stakeholders and company sectors. The most exciting part of the journey has been the deep friendships and business relationships that have been cultivated.
At HealthEconomics.Com, we forged a new way of engagement for the HEOR community. Almost 30 years ago in 1993, we built the first digital community of scientists engaged in this new type of research blending clinical, economic, and patient outcomes. The health economic community was almost non-existent, there was no professional association yet, and the research methods were being developed. We all were building the plane while flying, so to speak.
I felt – in my gut – that our profession would advance faster and better if we could forge our divides. I still believe this. And so, HealthEconomics.Com attempted to foster collaboration using the internet as the tool. In the early 90s, the internet was neither useful nor accessible to the average person. There was no Google. No web design platforms. No 5G (or even 1G). What we created at HealthEconomics.Com wasn’t always elegant, but we did achieve something that has enabled tens of thousands of researchers to have a place of engagement for connection, knowledge, and insight.
Whether you’ve been a part of our audience for a year or several decades, you might enjoy a few of our “firsts”. HealthEconomics.Com provided the first…
- HEOR Web Portal. Our first iteration was cleverly named “Patti Peeples’ Guide to Health Economics Resources on the Internet”! The URL was about 120 characters long, and even included a tilda (~)!. We got a little better with website naming as the years went on.
- HEOR e-newsletter. Our first newsletter was distributed to 450 individuals, essentially those in my paper rolodex. Today, we reach 28,000+ individuals, spanning the globe from Bangalore to Birmingham.
- HEOR Jobs Board and Digital Career Fair. Well-before recruiting via the internet was common, we launched a digital, interactive way for companies to post open positions, and to “meet” candidates in digital booths, interview in real-time, and more efficiently address human resource needs.
- HEOR, RWE & Market Access Salary Survey. Most salary surveys were focused just on large companies; none were directed at our research area. We sought to change that.
- Virtual RWE and HEOR Conference. COVID catalyzed virtual events, but HealthEconomics.Com was holding virtual day-long, multi-speaker events as far back as 2013.
- Online Marketplace for Sourcing. We worked with Scientist.com, now our parent company, to expand an online marketplace for sourcing scientific research in the area of value, evidence and access.
- Value Communications and Writing Workshop. We developed the first in-person and digital multi-day workshop to train writers for HEOR, RWE and Market Access communications.
- Digital Marketing Services. We were the first website and digital asset company that could be used by solution providers to communicate their capabilities, expertise and services to researchers.
- HE-Artists. Today, sharing stories about the people behind the product or service is commonplace. But back in 2014, we started doing this with a series called HE-Artists, inviting researchers to share their passions via stories, because health economists are people too!
While these “firsts” are fun to reflect upon, I think what I’m most proud of relates to engaging with students. I recall getting an email around 2010 from a young man located in Madagascar. He was a recently-graduated pharmacist, but wanted to pursue additional education in health economics to help his country deliver better, more cost-effective healthcare. He had to walk 3 hours one-way to get to an internet café, and discovered HealthEconomics.Com as he was seeking ways to increase his knowledge base.
Resources on HealthEconomics.Com have always been free, and he would spend 1-2 days per week reading everything he could find on the website. He sent an email to thank me, and asked for additional guidance. What an opportunity to engage our community! I used our newsletter to post a request for books and resources. Within a few weeks, more than 500 pounds of literature, textbooks, and other resources had been sent to me, including money for shipping. That young man was gifted a lifetime of knowledge, thanks to your generosity. The power of community.
I’ll end on that note. Indeed, the power of community.
I’ll be available on LinkedIn, and I do hope we can remain in contact. In the near-term, I’m off to do some pottery in the mountains of North Carolina, then hike the Portuguese route of the El Camino Santiago trail. I’m sure our paths will cross again. I’ll be available in late Summer if you’d like to catch up.
Thank you for being my community.