For the Record with Wouter Tack, VP of Clinical Operations, IQVIA – Medical Alley Association

For the Record with Wouter Tack, VP of Clinical Operations, IQVIA

Wouter joined IQVIA in September 2019 from the ‘genae’ acquisition, where he was part of the senior management team for almost 10 years – first as Director Clinical Research and then as COO.

Before this he spent over 15 years in the medical device arena working in a variety of roles on both the investigator side and the sponsor side, ranging from Clinical Study Coordinator over Product Specialist and Business Alliance Manager to Country Manager UK and Ireland.

In his current role at IQIVIA Wouter combines therapeutic area and functional responsibilities for MedTech Strategy and Clinical Operations

He is based in Belgium where he serves as the manager of the IQVIA Antwerp site. He also serves on the board of IQVIA MedTech NV.

What, in your opinion, makes IQVIA stand out in your industry?

IQVIA combines the best of 2 worlds: on one hand, we conduct clinical studies across diverse therapeutic areas and can offer an incredible number of services worldwide, with the support of huge data sets. On the other hand, IQVIA is structured so that expertise can be deployed independently of each other and tailored to the specific needs of our clients, whether they are a start-up, mid-sized or strategic partners.

What was your journey to IQVIA?

After a fantastic 10-year journey in both expert and management roles, in a clinical setting as well as in the medical device industry, going from Clinical Research Coordinator in a tertiary clinical site to Country Manager for a Medical Device multinational, I had – in the 2nd decade of my career – the opportunity to become part of the executive management team of a small CRO. By the time we got acquired by IQVIA in September 2019, we have grown this organization fivefold in revenue and headcount. From that moment on, I have been able to further direct this talented and experienced group within the extended IQVIA MedTech Clinical Solutions business unit.

How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your industry and the operations process in general?

The COVID-19 pandemic certainly interrupted medical device clinical trials and operations. We had to re-group and work with our teams and sponsors to figure out the safest way for trials to continue, for patients to be seen, how to collaborate virtually, and reduce the impact of the virus, together. Above all, we are committed to helping everyone in healthcare do what needs to be done to keep things moving forward in this new reality.

Are there changes to your industry that you see sticking around?

The evolution towards patient-centric oriented MedTech trials in combination with fully virtual clinical studies and registries has been given a major boost by the COVID-19 pandemic and is undoubtedly a favorable evolution and here to stay.

What does leadership look like to you?

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced me to quickly make some changes in my leadership style. I think this is a mutual experience for many managers. In my current way of working: trust, communication, emotional intelligence, and flexibility are the cornerstones on which I try to graft my team.

What is the best advice you have received in your career? What is the worst?

‘Look forward, not back’ is by far the best advice I’ve ever received. Learn from your mistakes, but don’t mourn them, just do better in the future, making mistakes pale in comparison to successes.

‘Don’t leave anyone behind’ is – to me – the worst advice. Organizations, projects, individuals evolve daily. At some point – when all possibilities have been exhausted, it may be better to say goodbye to each other in beauty, rather than holding on to something that is no longer and may never come again.

What have been the most rewarding moments in your career?

Early in my career prior to joining IQVIA, I once worked on a study that was particularly challenging and where everything that could go wrong actually went wrong. Thanks to the cooperation of a close-knit team and with an extraordinary commitment, the team got the study on track and turned it into a success. The moment that the sponsor of the study showed me a patient testimonial about how that study improved her quality of life significantly and asked me if this team was willing to take on the follow up study, was the most rewarding moment in my career.

What is one personal goal for the upcoming year?

As soon as COVID-19 allows it and you can travel in ‘more or less’ freedom again, I would like to make that one big trip with my entire family, which we have always postponed before COVID-19 and until today never got around to it.

How do you relax / decompress?

Our family serves as a host family for assistance dogs in training. Training with these heroes-to-be gives me the opportunity to completely clear my head and fully recharge the batteries. Thank you Robbe, Théo and Xanoush and all the other retrievers who have stayed with our host family for a shorter or longer period.

What do you enjoy most about the Medical Alley community? 

I enjoy keeping up to date on trends, advancements, and other notable medical device news provided by the Medical Alley community.

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