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The critical role of science in healthcare communications

The challenges and opportunities of driving the scientific agenda forward

Charlie Buckwell

As dynamic advances in science, medicine and technology continue to accelerate, the world of healthcare is becoming increasingly complex. Entirely new fields of medicine are emerging, such as human genomics and precision therapies that are tailor-made for the individual based on specific genome sequencing.

And even though science underpins nearly every aspect of these advances, the key stakeholders – the physicians, pharmacists, payers, healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies who are developing the breakthrough new therapies and treatments – find it challenging to communicate the benefits to their customers and patients.

Add to this, today’s empowered patient, who has more access to health information, and misinformation, from both valid and questionable Internet sources. As a result, we are faced with both major challenges and potential opportunities as we try to drive the scientific agenda forward in the rapidly changing and increasingly complex healthcare landscape.

With this in mind, we recently launched the McCann Health Global Scientific Council, a 450+ strong community of PhDs, MDs, scientists and medical experts, dedicated to elevating the importance of science in healthcare communications and addressing the issues of truth, trust and complexity inherent in that process.

Our aim with the Council is to apply our expertise in the scientific aspects of health communication to bring higher-level solutions to our clients and make a meaningful difference in key areas of need in medical science. This initiative is also designed to better connect and galvanise our community of scientific experts, thinkers and communicators internally and solidify our position as a top destination for great scientific talent.

We believe the Council can provide significant benefits to a wide range of audiences through the application of our role as healthcare communications experts.

For example, scientists would be able to more fully understand a particular drug’s development process, as well as the impact of that therapy on a particular newly-articulated pathophysiologic mechanism. As a result, they can help develop more creative and effective communications solutions based on clinical data that supports safe and effective use of a new drug and under what conditions.

For healthcare providers, highly qualified experts who understand the scientific underpinnings of new drug therapies can more accurately communicate how the benefits of a new drug therapy outweigh any new risks. And for physicians, highly qualified experts can help develop more engaging explicit communications steeped in evidence-based science to help ensure that patients are more expertly informed when making decisions about their health.

Also, with the health industry moving from a sales focus to a value focus, and science and evidence being the foundation of value, there is potentially an opportunity to better align clinical goals and industry goals. In so doing, we can close the gap between evidence and practice, especially if supported by expertise in health communications.

Importantly, the Council provides a platform for our scientists to have a meaningful voice in the global science and health debate. Going forward, in addition to using our knowledge and expertise to bring added value to our clients, we hope to forge new partnerships with governments, NGOs and patient advocacy groups to help address some of the world’s most daunting health challenges of our time.

Now, more than ever, it’s time to shine a light on the importance of science and recognise the critical role it plays in healthcare communications.

Charlie Buckwell is President, McCann Health Global Scientific Council

In association with

McCann Health

21st September 2018

From: Marketing

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Seven Stones is a creative, independent healthcare communications agency of movers and thinkers. We've been doing health differently since 1991....

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