There is a good reason why I am part of a company that provides integrated communications solutions for our clients – it is in fact common sense. When discussing the concept of one communications strategy aiming for a common outcome with the editor of Pharmaceutical Market Europe, it became clear that as media serving the industry, PME felt that there is still a need to continue to advocate a less siloed approach to their constituents, the pharma industry, which is why I wrote this article for their ‘strategic planning masterclass’. Why, despite overall support and a move towards the approach, is it that there is still such a debate around achieving this in industry, clinical, academic and consultancy spheres of healthcare? Since the beginning of my career in medical science, through my publishing, medical education, public relations and integrated communications consultancy career it has been a consistent battle. From working under a professor battling to open doors between medical speciality research groups, to preparing review journals that attempted to dig clinical insights out of scientific publications, through counselling to collect clinical data from consumer PR lifestyle campaigns, arguing for one press release for both medical and lay media, to facilitating understanding between functions in pharma companies to deliver one communications approach. And I hear the same from others, as you will see from those quoted in my PME editorial.
Part of the truth is that even though our societal approach to communications is evolving and becoming more joined up, societal change takes time. SOPs must be updated, habits of a lifetime changed and assumptions annulled. And it is all of us, not just the pharma industry, that are adapting. MDigitalLife recently lifted the lid on the online community of physicians in the US. ‘Twitter doctors’ are seeing their blog posts push up their Twitter influence, and their personal websites raising their clinical clout (and perhaps ‘Klout’?) with patients and peers alike. And a TV chef from the UK is one of the biggest nutrition influencers online in the U.S.
But if we all examine the human nature behind this tech-driven sea change, living one medical communications strategy for all audiences becomes much simpler. Being human, our communications are relationship driven, with enhancing living and survival as the root goal. So if we can approach our medical communications with a strategy that works with and for all those involved in and influencing a clinical situation, with improved patient outcomes as a goal, everyone wins.