Market Research

Linda Dordevic

June 18, 2020

Linda Dordevic is senior manager of the market research panel at MMIT. Following her career in medical event planning, Dordevic joined Zitter Health Insights in 2005 to help build the company’s market research panel. Zitter became a division of MMIT in 2019. Dordevic manages the panel recruitment team in addition to building the active panelist community of health plan and integrated delivery network (IDN) advisors.

Tell us more about what you do.

I manage our panel team,

Linda Dordevic is senior manager of the market research panel at MMIT. Following her career in medical event planning, Dordevic joined Zitter Health Insights in 2005 to help build the company’s market research panel. Zitter became a division of MMIT in 2019. Dordevic manages the panel recruitment team in addition to building the active panelist community of health plan and integrated delivery network (IDN) advisors.

Tell us more about what you do.

I manage our panel team, and my role is focused on building our market research panel of payers and integrated delivery network (IDN) executives. I coordinate our market research studies by segmenting our network, whether this involves health plan pharmacy and therapeutics (P&T) members, IDN executives, patients, physicians, nurses or pharmacists, to deliver the highest quality output for our clients. This involves partnering with our product team to ensure that our surveys are clear and concise to make the most out of participants’ time and establishing a fair honorarium model that makes people feel good about participating. I place a tangible emphasis on building relationships with our market research panel and making sure that each participant is treated as our colleague — a trusted ally and a partner.

What is your day to day like?

Due to the nature of my role and market research panels in general, each day can look very different. My day-to-day is directly related to the number of projects that we are supporting at any given time throughout the year. As major market events unfold in the industry, we need the flexibility to shift our resources rather quickly. One day I might be focused on filling positions for an open study. The next, I could be working with our product and technology teams to rebuild our honorarium systems and workflows. We are always trying to figure out ways to have a better relationship with our active panelists. One of the things I like about this role is the agility of the team and the company, which keeps my life interesting.

What are some of the larger projects you are working on?

Right now, I am coordinating the HITRUST (Health Information Trust Alliance) certification for the company to ensure that our security framework is bulletproof. HITRUST is a huge project for the company as it’s really critical that we have the right systems and processes established so that we can support products like our Patient Satisfaction Survey, where we deal with various patient data attributes. Through this process, I am learning a great deal about the importance of meeting healthcare information security regulations and how that connects to the insights we deliver to our clients.

What are some of the common challenges of your role?

When working with our advisors and panelists, who are often very senior within health plans and IDNs, we are essentially competing for the time they have to spend on their day jobs, as well as with other market research firms that are looking for similar insights from these individuals. To me, that is the biggest challenge and that is why I am so dedicated to the panel and ensuring that each experience that they have with our company is 100% positive. We are very protective of our panel and we strive for perfection in every communication to establish and reinforce trust with our panel team. We define trust as consistency in our panelist workflows, delivering on what we say we are going to deliver on and ensuring that everyone feels totally comfortable in the exchange of insights and key market research findings. Today, they might be working for a health plan but tomorrow they might be working at a health system, and the next they could be in pharma. This is a tight-knit and well-connected industry, so we put a lot of time and investment into maximizing each engagement with every person. Transparency is at the core of what we do.

Can you describe how the Zitter panel has evolved over the past 18 months as part of MMIT?

It has really evolved in a great way as we became one company with MMIT, mainly because of our access to a more comprehensive network of health plans, PBMs, specialty pharmacies and IDN decision-makers. We have a new world of contacts at our fingertips and a marketing engine that helps us engage with a broader universe of individuals. Prior to joining MMIT, we did not have a ton of marketing support to drive growth in the panel. It’s been an exciting time for us, as we have new tools to deploy and new ways of hitting increasingly aggressive growth targets with a solid infrastructure that instilled confidence in our team. Between in-person conference support, direct mail campaigns and innovative digital engagement strategies, we have been able to evolve what our market research panel means to the business.

What is your favorite part of your job?

The people. I am very much a people person and I like working with my team internally as well as our panelists. I have been working with some of the same advisors as I was when I started back in 2005, which is unique. We have really been able to build somewhat of an extended family with the panel across the country. I really enjoy the camaraderie that has been established specifically with our P&T committee, because we have been together for 15 years and it’s good to see the dedication from that committee to our products and the company. Also, the support that I have had over the years from all of my managers is outstanding and the trust we have built is so important to me.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I like to spend time with my family and do projects around the house, like gardening. I love to see live music which is, sadly, not really a thing this year. I love travelling to see friends and family in California, which is where I am from originally, as well as Sonoma which is where my parents live. I am really hanging on to the one last show that has not been cancelled, which is the Sea.Hear.Now festival in Asbury Park, New Jersey in September. I’m really hoping I can maintain some sense of normalcy with all of the craziness occurring in the world and attend the concert for some good live music on the beach!

by Brooke McDonald

Fiza Bari

April 22, 2019

Fiza Bari is a senior market research manager at Zitter Insights, a unit of MMIT, leading the Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T) Perspectives team. With her team, she recreates a real world experience by allowing pharma clients to be a “fly on the wall” during a live P&T review. Bari, who holds a bachelor’s degree in molecular medicine and a master’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences, also works on custom market research projects, tapping into Zitter’s robust network of panelists for everything from quick pulse surveys (Zitter’s Payer Rapid Response) to large surveys, which help pharma clients tackle market access challenges.

Fiza Bari is a senior market research manager at Zitter Insights, a unit of MMIT, leading the Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T) Perspectives team. With her team, she recreates a real world experience by allowing pharma clients to be a “fly on the wall” during a live P&T review. Bari, who holds a bachelor’s degree in molecular medicine and a master’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences, also works on custom market research projects, tapping into Zitter’s robust network of panelists for everything from quick pulse surveys (Zitter’s Payer Rapid Response) to large surveys, which help pharma clients tackle market access challenges.

Q: What’s your day to day like?

A: It’s very dependent on project load. It can be a day where I’m working on multiple projects at the same time, or if I’m not working on multiple projects I’ll be working on proposals, or targeting for potential new sales. It really just depends. Right now, we’re gearing up for a June 1 session on Multiple Sclerosis and NASH (Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis), working with our panel team and getting our committee and specialists recruited. I’m also wrapping up a quantitative payer study that we’re doing for a pharma client.

Q: Can you walk us through some of Zitter’s P&T solutions?

A: When a manufacturer is looking to launch a new product, or if a competitor is launching a product, we recommend clients conduct a P&T Perspectives around six months to a year before the new product launches. What we’re able to do is replicate what happens in the real world at a payer organization, where they meet and review products. We can simulate a health plan, a PBM or an integrated delivery network; it just depends on the situation.

The meeting starts with a clinical pharmacist presenting the disease state overview, and the current products on the simulated plan’s formulary. They will then provide an overview of the products that are being reviewed, including a summary of the clinical trial data. Disease state specialists then provide their opinion on how they would prescribe the product(s) being reviewed. The clinical pharmacist closes the meeting by providing clinical recommendations for the product(s) for formulary review, then a contracting pharmacist presents current utilization of any existing formulary products, and three pricing scenarios, which can include contracting offers if applicable. The committee then votes on each scenario. The manufacturer gets to see how a simulated plan will review its product in a double-blinded manner. This candid feedback can then inform the client’s value proposition and validate pricing assumptions.

Q: What’s exciting about Zitter’s new relationship with MMIT?

A: I think because MMIT has never ventured into custom market research before, we’re really able to provide solutions for those clients whose questions can’t be answered through policy data alone. MMIT was always one of our competitors, especially when it came to policy data. Given the technology expertise that MMIT has, it is going to be exciting to see how we can improve our operational processes, which can help grow the business. Before, we were more of a boutique style market research firm without the advantage of having that technological backbone.

Q: What industry trends should clients be looking out for?

A: I think with managed care, it’s always evolving. One of the bigger trends last year and one thing that we’re tracking is copay accumulator programs. We’re trying to understand the impact of these programs, especially for clients with high-cost specialty products. It’s a big concern for them if their patients can’t afford their medications because of these programs. It has a ripple effect, because it can impact the patient’s adherence. When issues like this come up, it’s not just impacting the manufacturer, it also impacts patients, and it’s important to remember that.

Q: Any buzzworthy indications to watch out for?

A: I think payers are excited about NASH. There are no FDA-approved products in that category, and it affects a lot of people. It’s not a rare disease, and there are four manufacturers coming out with products in the next two years.

It’s going to be really interesting to see how our P&T Perspectives committee reacts to the data and how they review the new products on formulary. We’re not really sure how these products are going to be priced right now, but it will be interesting to watch the committee have that conversation. Just the fact that there’s four products coming out in a category that has no treatments is huge — it’s a lot of competition.

It will also be interesting to see if NASH manufacturers follow the non-specialty pricing trend that we saw in the chronic and episodic migraine category last year. Amgen’s Aimovig came out with non-specialty pricing, so that definitely impressed payers. Historically, specialty products have always come out with high pricing, so they might be setting a trend there where other manufacturers will be under pressure to come out with non-specialty pricing as well.

Q: What is your favorite part of the job?

A: It’s the most challenging part — just keeping afloat with my workload on so many different kinds of projects. It’s why I wanted to join the custom research team, and it’s why I’ve been on the team for four years. Because of our unique position and the fact that we’re working on everything, I’m always learning. I get to apply my scientific background to highlight key clinical benefits of new drugs, and merge that with understanding the financial impact new products have on the marketplace.

Q: What do you like to do outside of work?

A: I have a two-year-old daughter and another one on the way, so I am kept busy! I like to hang out with my daughter and my husband. We’ve had a cold winter, so we’ve been doing a lot indoors. I’m looking forward to summer and getting back outside!

by Carina Belles