By Hannah Noel
COVID-19 looks set to stay, albeit as it moves towards a more endemic disease – an attenuated version of the public health emergency of 2020–21. Why has medcomms played such a pivotal role during this uncertain period and what impact does it have on the sector’s evolution for the future?
Collaborative working has unquestionably helped us remain resilient. Indeed, it is something that our healthcare and pharma partners have been successfully embracing for a while. This was exemplified by pharma companies and university research institutions joining forces to develop vaccines more swiftly than ever before, with clinical trials and regulatory journeys streamlined and fast-tracked to answer the COVID-19 crisis.
To ensure the latest medicines, devices and therapies reach the patients that need them most, pharma companies rely on the medcomms sector for supportive collaboration with healthcare professionals (HCPs), to challenge existing standards of care and improve clinical practice. The pandemic has forced HCPs to conduct phone appointments, patients to delay reporting health concerns and healthcare waiting lists to grow. However, the sector’s apparent growth would suggest that this challenging environment has acted as the fire through which the role of medcomms has been forged.
The fast pace of digital transformation has without doubt helped to drive this growth as medcomms companies have adjusted to increased online communication, virtual and hybrid congresses and a home-based workforce. By embracing the burgeoning digital health ecosystem, HCPs and patients can benefit from new technologies and further automation (and efficiency gains) across the healthcare sector.
The ability to create a compelling human story around healthcare and medicine is central to what we in medcomms do. As an intrinsically human trait, it represents a way of connecting with each other, understanding the world and passing on information. During the pandemic, perhaps more than ever before, the need to make sense of the seemingly apocalyptic situation was imperative. Medcomms was integral in the supply of clinical information and public guidance to rationalise anxiety and concern.
We may not ever be free of COVID-19, but with our newly honed skills, technology and flexibility, we can ensure medcomms keeps pushing towards better experiences and outcomes for patient–physician communications.
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