What is Medical Communications?

What is Medical Communications?

Ongoing education is critical to healthcare professionals in clinical and research settings alike to ensure they remain current on the state-of-the-art in order to deliver the best care to patients. Medical communications is the communication of scientific, medical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology information and data to various audiences. This information includes updates on the latest discoveries within a given disease area, as well as dissemination of data generated through clinical trials and health economic and outcomes research.

Medical communications encompass the development and delivery of programmes that facilitate scientific exchange among doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other stakeholders within the space, including payers, formulary decision-makers, and patient advocacy groups. Credible, evidence-based content is foundational to these programmes, which are designed to deliver new information and updates to various stakeholder audiences through a variety of formats and channels.

The publication of data generated from research and clinical studies is at the core of these programmes, creating peer-reviewed source references that support what is being communicated through educational programmes, tools and resources that support healthcare and medical professionals.

What does a medical communications agency do?

Pharmaceutical, biotech and device companies often engage outsource partners with expertise in developing strategies and plans to complement their in-house team and help them evolve and implement core programming. These agencies provide consultative as well as tactical support across a broad range of programmes – some specialise and focus on specific channels, such as publications or digital, while others provide full-service support across the medical communications spectrum.

Strategy development typically starts with in-depth assessments of the landscape, looking at disease – as well as treatment-specific literature and other publicly-available information – to gain a clear read on current thinking.

These assessments uncover topics of interest to particular audience groups, as well as gaps that could be fulfilled through medical communications programming. Using these insights, agencies collaborate with their client partners to create compelling scientific content using data generated from the client’s study programmes, and help them deliver that content through engagement of specialist experts, clinical practitioners and the broader healthcare community.

Supporting companies in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, medical communications agencies provide advice on how to educate their particular consumer base on the risks and benefits of new products and therapies, backed up by clinical and economic data. They also provide counsel to branding and marketing teams to ensure credible and compliant delivery of core evidence-based messages through multi-channel promotional programming. To put it simply, a medical communication agency will help healthcare and pharmaceutical companies to deliver engaging clinical evidence and opinions to their target audience.

Healthcare professional giving a scientific presentation to several people

The range of services medical communications agencies provide to their clients may include any or all of the following:

  • Strategy planning and development: Conducting in-depth landscape assessments and gap analyses to identify medical communications objectives. Inform development of an overarching strategy and plan, designed to fulfill those objectives in support of building foundational evidence and motivating behaviour change for assets and brands.
  • Publication planning, development and submission: Regulatory authorities require pharmaceutical and biotech companies to communicate their clinical data to relevant audiences, and publications programmes are designed to disseminate evidence in a timely, thoughtful manner. Data generated through clinical and health economics and outcomes research studies are shared in the form of abstract submissions to professional congresses (which, if accepted, become poster or oral presentations at the live event) as well as manuscripts. In addition to data-driven publications, plans also encompass review manuscripts, case studies, supplements, opinion pieces and other types of communication that contribute to the body of literature within a therapeutic space.
  • Expert engagement and management: Enlisting input and guidance from specialist experts is critical to the development of credible programmes that resonate with broader peer groups. Agencies collaborate with clients to help identify those experts and build strong relationships with them in support of their medical communication programmes, building relevant and strong relationships with opinion leaders
  • Medical Education: Live and virtual programmes designed to educate stakeholders about a disease or product. Grounded in science, these programs range from congress symposia to stand-alone events, webcast series, expert videos, interactive resources and training tools
  • Internal communications: A range of educational tools and resources for internal audiences across functions that are aligned with external communications messages maintaining consistency across the client’s organisation
  • Strategy Planning and development: Creating and distributing strategic communication plans
  • Event management: Providing logistical support for internal and regional congresses, advisory boards and the creation of event marketing materials

Medical communications roles include a variety of account service and scientific writing functions. Clients rely upon the scientific expertise of the medical writing staff to generate compelling, credible content that is strategically aligned and accurate, and editorial groups ensure all content adheres to medical writing standards and best practice.

Graphic and digital design teams bring scientific stories to life through visualisations and interactive platforms. Account management supports the development and implementation of all projects and programmes on behalf of assigned teams, ensuring on-time delivery efficiently, and within agreed budget parameters.

Why is medical communications important?

The pharmaceutical and healthcare industries are highly competitive and need to stay ahead of the curve to be successful. It’s difficult to bring a new product to market, as medical regulations are becoming stricter, the economy is becoming tougher and healthcare costs continue to rise globally.

The process of researching and developing new products is also a slow one, with only a couple out of thousands of drugs developed in the laboratory becoming marketable. As such, there is a demand for medical communications prior to and after the drug approval stage. The most efficient communication plans guarantee that the right information is delivered to the relevant target audience.

Successful medical communication plans contribute to scientific exchange by ensuring stakeholders involved in the diagnosis, treatment and management of conditions and diseases are aware of the latest developments in their field. Medical communications agencies help pharmaceutical, biotech and device companies effectively translate sometimes complicated science and highlight relevance to clinical practice. This contributes to the ongoing education of healthcare professionals to help them continually improve the care they deliver to patients.

Click to hear directly from our Team working in MedComms at Cello Health

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