Employee story

Empowering Patient Journeys: A Story of Growth and Impact at Roche - Meet Carol

#patientjourneypartner #rochecareers #rocheapacpharma #healthcareservice
Published: 2024.03.20.
Read Traditional Chinese version here

Tell us about yourself
With 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and 7 years in the people manager role, I've gathered a wealth of knowledge that serves as a foundation for my career growth. Joining Roche in 2022 as the first Patient Journey Partner (PJP) for the Taiwan Ophthalmology Ecosystem (ECO), the system was a unique challenge.

Like many others, there must come a time to enjoy one’s spare time.  I engage in sports, watch YouTube, listen to music, read, and occasionally practice calligraphy. These little hobbies are one of the many things I look forward to doing for leisure.

When talking about career, I have always wanted to grow my career path with a company that allows me to continuously learn, take on responsibilities, and contribute significant value. At that time, Roche's Ophthalmology product had not been launched, and there was no established team. However, dwelling in the unknown humbles me to a point where I know I need to learn to adapt to new settings. 

Why did you choose Roche, why have you chosen to stay with Roche, what do you most enjoy about working at Roche? 
Under the typical career growth system in a pharmaceutical company, it is not easy for a senior salesperson to transition to a different role or advance to positions like sales manager or marketer. The system tends to lack flexibility and may set up numerous barriers, limiting personal development and potentially harming the organization by losing valuable talent. The position of PJP at Roche, however, stands out as it doesn't restrict your development. This flexibility allows individuals to plan their career paths freely, making it a significant factor in my decision to choose this role. 

Transitioning into Roche presented a significant shift in job responsibilities. It took time to adjust mentally and find my position in the PJP role. Leveraging my previous experience in the Ophthalmology market, I contributed to the team’s strategy planning and execution.
I enjoy being a strategist and planner, and I believe this is the most attractive aspect of the PJP role at Roche. Learning and gaining work experience on the job, coupled with applying these skills to career planning, are integral aspects of my professional growth within the organization.

Simultaneously, working in a pharmaceutical company should not only be about earning a salary but also carrying a sense of responsibility centered around patients. It goes beyond merely providing drugs; it involves understanding the healthcare system and patients' needs. This is why I chose the pharmaceutical industry, Roche in particular, and why I intend to continue growing with Roche.

"If there’s something you truly want, be committed to it. Do it every day, no matter what. That will make all the difference."

Carol Chang
Patient Journey Partner, Taiwan
Have you ever faced challenges that required new ways of working, and how did your and your team’s adaptability contribute to a positive outcome?
The new ways of working introduced by this model pose a considerable challenge. The two biggest challenges and changes I faced were understanding what the ecosystem was and how to execute the model. What I quickly came to understand was, the system is the squad. Integrating these two work models to effectively execute all plans and linking them to address market or internal communication challenges proved to be complex.

Adapting to Roche's new working model, which significantly differed from my prior responsibilities, brought its own set of challenges. However, the autonomy to lead tasks and the expanded creative space provided by Roche's new work content were aspects that I found excellent.

Another initial challenge was implementing Outcome-Based execution in work planning and understanding the squad model's operational structure. These difficulties were faced upon joining, requiring simultaneous execution and adjustments to align with Roche's expectations for PJP roles.

For the Ophthalmology team, the shift in the new working model brings a different perspective compared to the oncology disease field mindset. While retina disease patients may not face the risk of death, they are at risk of impending blindness. Engaging with internal customers through continuous communication and coordination is essential for the team to achieve positive outcomes both internally and externally.

In navigating this transition, we are actively finding solutions to bridge the gap between traditional and new ways of working. Embracing a "learn-unlearn-relearn" process, we engage in trial and error, learning from mistakes, with effective communication and active listening playing a key role in the overall strategy.

I have been adjusting over the past two years and there has been a gradual development of some frameworks. I have participated in the integration of the ecosystem and market analysis. Additionally, as the owner of Roche's product listing planning, I have assisted in organising and establishing the progress of the nationwide healthcare centre’s drug entry, ensuring compliance with regulations and timelines, especially plans before patients are reimbursed by Taiwan's National Health Insurance.

Can you describe how Roche’s value aligns with yours and why it is a meaningful role for you?
I believe in patient-centric engagements, and this value holds regardless of the role I undertake at Roche. For me, it carries a deeper significance. As a PJP, my role involves assisting physicians, the healthcare system, and patients in achieving more comprehensive treatment during the patient's therapeutic journey. Taking retina disease patients as an example, those suffering from neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD)  face the prospect of progressing towards blindness over the next few years.  In today's world, with advanced mobile networks, losing one's vision is equivalent to disconnecting from the world, depriving individuals of the basic joys of life. 

In the new working model, I aspire to contribute to early-stage screening in the patient journey. Early detection can benefit elderly individuals who may not be aware of potential diseases, allowing for prompt treatment. This proactive approach aims to reduce the societal issues and medical burden caused by vision impairment while enhancing the overall quality of life for patients. The patient-centred value I embrace aims to collaborate with relevant societies, patient groups, and the PJP work model to identify unmet needs, collectively addressing patients' challenges and enhancing their overall well-being in the future. 

Since joining Roche in 2022, significant milestones have been achieved in both ECO and the Squad model. We held meetings with 90-day goal check-in which led to successfully launching Roche's product in Taiwan. After two years of dedicated effort, the Taiwan team achieved numerous milestones in 2023 through patient support programs and various commercial strategies and plans. These efforts successfully expanded patient access and made significant impacts on the healthcare system. The work we do every day gives so many people the equal opportunity to timely healthcare service.

How do you perceive the innovative role in shaping your career growth within Roche?
I've realized that it is not confined to the traditional framework of sales or marketing tasks. Instead, it allows for a more creative and impactful approach to planning. This flexibility reflects the value and future potential of the position, contributing to the enhancement of my career. By expanding my career scope and portfolio, I've identified two main focal points: strategic thinking and building leadership capabilities without authority.

Firstly, in terms of strategic thinking, I proactively joined squad teams, taking ownership to contribute to strategy formulation and execution. This has driven me to understand how global strategies are devised and then translated into the strategy of the Taiwan Ophthalmology team. Roche's establishment of "One Optha" has served as a platform to gain insights into global work dynamics and information. 

Secondly, building leadership capability without authority is challenging, especially coming from a role with managerial authority. Leading a team towards common goals requires continuous learning in communication, leadership, and influence. As a Work Product owner, I utilize check-in methods to understand team members' expectations and share my thoughts. Empowering responsible Work Product members and using coaching skills acquired from previous roles, I aim to influence and guide the team to achieve objectives. I'm still in the learning phase, hoping that these experiences will contribute to my growth in my next role.

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