Meet Jeremy Shabtai, Benchworks’ new Director of Technology

Jeremy Shabtai recently joined our team as Director of Technology to lead strategy innovations for clients as well as expand Benchworks’ digital offerings. He has more than 12 years of digital marketing experience leading thought leadership and acting as a subject matter expert for emerging technology. He specializes in conceptualizing and developing innovative pilot programs, such as virtual reality education experiences, clinical research AI voice-assistants, chatbot customer support programs, and behavioral modification patient adherence platforms.

What brought you to Benchworks?

The opportunity to work at a small agency that’s growing. The ability to grow tech from the ground up, without the bureaucracy that you find at larger agencies—Benchworks is the perfect size, large enough to serve as an AOR for clients, yet small enough to still feel like a family.

 What are your goals for the next 6 months/first year at Benchworks?

First and foremost, I want to create new, purpose-driven partnerships that enable healthcare transformations and ultimately improve outcomes for patients. I want to facilitate different forms of partnerships, from strategic partnerships with our clients to outside specialists and small, innovative product startups that enhance our capabilities.

I want to work with clients and vendors to figure out what the problem is and then find solutions, even if the solution is really off-the-wall. I hope to create new types of experiences through digital products that change the way clients engage with patients and doctors.

I also want to leverage the different sides of Benchworks’ parent company, BW Health Group, to create new offerings for clients that help them from beginning to end of a brand’s life cycle.

Given the regulatory strictures that govern the pharma/healthcare sector, it can be difficult to be innovative. Med/Legal can be very risk-averse. Where do you see companies having the most success with implementing innovative digital strategies? What shape do these innovations take?

The innovative digital strategies that get implemented are the ones that drive business and help a company achieve its goals. For example, compliance adherence on the patient side is a big issue. So innovations that address this issue by getting people to take their meds are much more likely to make it on the market.

The strategies that are most successfully come from people who are willing to adapt and figure out how to make a solution work within the regulatory landscape.

In terms of digital innovation, what can our clients come to expect from you?

They can expect new, creative solutions to old problems. I’m interested in reinventing old ways of doing things that don’t work anymore; finding solutions that update how we approach these old problems. Take a patient getting discharged from the hospital. They get a meds list and home care plan, all on paper. So how can we create a new type of experience that starts in the hospital before they go home. A digital plan that can be on their phone.

What types of strategic partnerships would you like to foster at Benchworks?

I’d like to foster data intelligence partnerships that we can turn around and apply to a client’s business to measure their strategies and marketing effectiveness. It could be a partnership using a client’s internal data or it could be from external sources that we’ve partnered with to support a client. Data intelligence is something many of the larger pharma companies already are starting to do with varying degrees of success.

Data intelligence is something new, so the market is still trying to figure out how to make it work. But it’s also what makes it exciting. Take script writing as an example. A client has a goal of getting more scripts written for their brand, and their script-level data only tells them how many scripts are being written. With data intelligence, it’s possible to go beyond the general. You could tell a client, “scripts are being prescribed in these areas but here are the gaps or places for sales potential”. Being able to say to a client, here’s what you can do to remedy your problem or impact the outcomes through marketing.

 So, what’s your video game connection? (Star Wars: Falcon Gunner, Transformers: Battle Masters, and Habro’s Lazer Tag)

I’m a video game nerd at heart. I still play a lot and I tell my wife that it’s important for my job, even though that’s not really true anymore. I was obsessed as a kid, played with my brother all the time, which is what drove me and my brother to start a video game company. It started with a client who had an airplane game, and we said, “it should be Star Wars theme”. He said go for it and gave us access to his development team. After we completed the first 3 levels, we were invited out to Lucasfilm Skywalker Ranch to demo it. They were good with us developing it. That led to work for other companies, like the Transformers game.

So yes, I have a background in gamification. Whether to get someone to do training or take a medication, I try to put gamification into almost everything I do.

 What else would you like people to know about you?

I am obsessed with augmented reality—I think that’s going to be the future. I think of myself as a non-typical tech geek. I’m also a self-proclaimed awesome dad to 3-year-old Liam.