Cannes, France Fiona Olivier, Head of Public Affairs in Europe and Canada at Abbvie, took the stage to share examples of how her organization is using partnerships around the world to build more sustainability into healthcare.

Let’s start in Greece. There, the system is quite simply falling apart.

25% of Greeks are unemployed. That means fewer and fewer people able to contribute to the healthcare system. They can’t add more money to the problem, instead they need novel ways to manage the resources they have.

One place Abbvie looks for new answers is the patient journey – not just the patient herself, but the doctor, the nurse, the payer and the hospital.

Abbvie went to a hospital near Athens to understand the workflow. How many km per day were nurses walking? How did procurement process new requests? How were patients lifted in and out of beds?

Abbvie worked with the professionals in that hospital to support sustainability and create real change. The shifts in procurement process alone are saving that hospital 24 million (that could be 1 billion / year if scaled across the country, or 10% of all healthcare costs). It’s also increased nurse productivity by 33%, effectively adding 264 nurses to that hospital (12,000 if scaled across that country.)

In Ireland, the challenge is time.

It can take up to 4 years to get an appointment with a rheumatologist. Even when patients finally receive an exam, only 1/3 leave with a treatment plan.

Abbvie supports a program called Appointment Angels. It can’t change the wait time, but it can make every visit more productive.

Appointment Angels are nurses who reach out to patients to prepare them for each appointment to make sure they have the right documentation, questions and encouragement. The program also works with GPs to increase the number of patients who go to a first specialist appointments with the right screenings and tests.

The program doubled the number of patients who leave the first appointment with a treatment plan. It also increased the number who show up from 66% to 95%.

In the UK, Abbive is tackling FOFO.

No, that’s not a typo. FOMO is not the fear missing out. FOFO is the fear of finding out. It’s a powerful driver that’s keeping many away from early interventions and care.

Abbvie asked why people put off or don’t seek help. They found that 1/3 are afraid of what the doctor might tell them.

Abbvie is working with experts in health, gaming, creativity, and technology to uncover new solutions focused on people aged 40 – 60, those least engaged in their health.

We’re sleep walking toward disease,” she said, “because we’re not taking care of ourselves."

See more Abbvie partnerships and investments:

Sustainable Healthcare


About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation and Insights for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for building and scaling a global team of healthcare experts who together help life science leaders better understand the complex lives, influences and expectations of their customers. Specifically, they uncover actionable insights that fuel empathy and creativity; lead co-creation events that let marketers learn from peers, trends, and new possibilities; and help clients identify the most valuable and useful new customer experiences to create.

Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for nearly 20 years.She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she held several leadership roles at our largest agency, GSW.  There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business.

Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes.

A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. This year, she led over 250 experts to experts to focus on the most important changes in the commercial, consumer, marketing, digital and healthcare landscapes. (See reports at

Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice and Top 10 Innovation Catalysts of 2017 by MM&M, Leigh also was recognized  as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.