Developing & Maintaining Strategic Professional & Trade Relations Functions


Professional and trade relations groups are critical for dealing with a company’s critical stakeholder groups, such as professional, payer, and patient organizations. Despite this, these groups still must show value within healthcare organizations, while external trends are constantly shaping the role that they play in advancing corporate and business objectives.

An effective Professional & Trade Relations department invests in activities that positively shape the company’s public face to professional and trade association groups. Other key areas that these leaders should focus on to encourage success include:

  • Organizational Structure: Nearly 40% of respondents have a centralized structure for their PTR groups, and another 35% have hybrid structures that are often partially centralized. Among those with variations of decentralized structures (regional, therapeutic, etc.), only 8% are decentralized by brand.
  • Measuring & Communicating Success: Communication of success to internal constituents –especially to those that fund PTR – is essential. As a “cost center,” PTR seeks to articulate the value created through PTR investment. An array of methods exist for trumpeting “value added.” PTR executives report using formal and informal communication channels, including emails, annual reports, briefings, and newsletters to build their internal brand.
  • Effective Activities & Services: Memberships and program sponsorships are the most common activity for PTR groups with 85% of benchmark partners pursuing them. Other commonly funded activities support education, public policy initiatives and partnerships.
  • Establishing Goals & Priorities: As an “influence-oriented” function, PTR employs cross-functional collaboration as a key success factor for setting goals. The annual strategic plan – and its corresponding goals – reflects multiple stakeholders, including Marketing, Brand Team, Medical Affairs, Managed Markets, Sales and Association needs.

The overall effectiveness of PTR groups largely depends upon their structure, funds received and internal awareness about the role of PTR groups. Leaders can ultimately excel by recognizing and understanding the changing needs among leading professional and trade groups and a shifting health care landscape.

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