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How the pandemic made an impact on the medical communications sector

Posted on: 23 Feb

When reporting on the impact of the pandemic on the wider healthcare industry, one medical professional - Dr Bhatt - claimed, “COVID-19 could actually be a force for an unintended but potentially beneficial medical revolution”.

The medical communications (MedComms) sector has experienced a revolution of its own in what has been a pivotal moment in history. Being a part of the Medical Affairs group, MedComms teams have continued to work at the cutting edge of the pharmaceutical industry. Often likened to the marketing team, MedComms professionals have remained a vital link within the healthcare industry, informing other professionals about the latest developments and acting as the bridge between pharmaceutical companies and patients. Here are three ways the pandemic has not only impacted medical communications sector, but changed it for good.

A shift to digital communications

61% of physicians believe that in-person meetings are on the decline due to the pandemic. As restrictions ease, there remains a consensus that the reliance on digital communication will continue. Many see it as an opportunity to accelerate digital capabilities and welcome the trend of medical communications being more digitally-led.

All healthcare professionals are in agreement that there’s never been a better time to embrace technology. For the medical affairs workforce, this will see a greater focus put on digital skills and data literacy – one of the top skills you need to be a successful medical writer. However, this comes with the forewarning that digital transformation must not come at the expense of creativity.

A greater focus on authenticity

One of the top trends to watch out for in MedComms is the healthcare-consumerism link. Patients are now expecting as much from healthcare companies as they do other businesses and, in turn, the healthcare industry is reminded that patients are in fact consumers. A recent survey found that 86% of consumers rank authenticity as an important factor when it comes to choosing which brands they’ll support.

While authenticity was important pre-Covid, the pandemic has launched a renewed understanding that messaging at all levels of a business must be authentic and transparent. People are looking for meaningful ways to connect with brands, so MedComms teams need to think about how they can support pharmaceutical companies throughout the product lifecycle. Whether it’s assisting with the strategic communication planning or the development of interactive media, MedComms teams have the opportunity to bring organisations and patients closer than ever.

Collaboration remains key

Collaboration has always been essential within medical and patient communications teams, but recent years have seen a more gradual shift towards cross-functional working and the breaking down of departmental silos within the pharmaceutical industry. In 2020, the healthcare industry saw collaboration like never before when Pharma giants joined forces in the fight against the pandemic. Powerhouses who were once seen as competitors become collaborators in the quest to develop a coronavirus vaccination in record-breaking time.

This culture has fostered within the smaller teams, like MedComms. By putting physical barriers between MedComms teams, the pandemic has created a heightened need for the messaging to reflect a unified landscape. While expertise and knowledge will always remain one of the top things you need to get ahead in medical communications, the 2020s has kickstarted a new era of collaboration. The clinical trial coordination and expedited regulatory pathways witnessed in the height of Covid-19 will serve as a reminder of what can be achieved when teams work together.

Advance your medical communications career with IQVIA

At IQVIA, our Medical and Patient Communications team have the opportunity to develop and contribute to a range of offerings, including medical affairs, market access, promotional activities, and patient support and adherence programs. If you have proven experience communicating with healthcare stakeholders, you could be the perfect candidate for a Medical Communications job at IQVIA.

Covid-19 has ushered a revolution, in the way we work and live. We are looking for agile professionals who can help us push the boundaries of human science and data. Browse our Medical and Patient Communications jobs and join a global organisation who are committed to changing lives.