David Hunt is the CEO of the Havas Lynx Group. In this article, Dave shares his thoughts on the exciting future of healthcare and the role we, as creative communicators, have to play.
The Havas Lynx Group has been awarded Cannes Lions Healthcare Agency of the Year.
I am exceptionally proud of the progress that we have made, while equally excited about the work we are still to do. This is not the end, nor is it the beginning. During the last decade we have made incredible progress to change the behaviours, philosophies and ambitions of the pharma community, and as such external perceptions. Not long ago, we were suffocated by #BadPharma and the historic conduct of our industry. We were guilty of championing our pills, our commercial success, our self-importance. As such, we were dismissed by the brightest creative talent, who instead chose to advertise the latest technologies, fashions and lifestyles.
Since the inception of the Havas Lynx Group, we have been leading the charge in defining a new approach to pharmaceutical communications, one which champions transparency and considers healthcare holistically. We embrace breakthrough scientific discovery, emerging technologies and meaningful data, as well as the individual experience of all stakeholders in care.
Brilliant, empathetic, vulnerable; creatives. The spiritual partners to stakeholders across healthcare that deny tradition, champion change and demand more.
Every year, we see tens of thousands of healthcare professionals (HCPs) retire to be replaced with a new breed of digital natives. For millennial HCPs, scientific knowledge remains the foundation of their profession. But as you’d expect, their ability to use technology has transformed how they operate. The concept of learning via a textbook is now archaic, yet some of the best science is still hidden behind overwhelming reports, publications and data. To better support HCPs in this world, we need to leverage the latest technologies to ensure that for the right patient, at the right time, they have the right information. We also need to recognise the evolution in their characteristics. Today’s physician is more open to collaboration, many of them now harbour entrepreneurial tendencies where their predecessors did not and, like wider society, they are now incredibly visually conditioned. As we learnt at Cannes, pharma can no longer celebrate being social. Our content campaigns must now compete with the very best of the consumer world.
As part of our research series, we published a white paper Smiles That Save Lives, which explores the vital role of creativity on the subjective well-being of patients. Google discusses winning the moments that matter, and we need to do the same in healthcare. We need to make sure patients feel supported in the broadest sense, and that they are part of their solution. Engaged and empowered patients are the influencers. They are the heart of the community and broader crowd. They are critical in the credibility and cascade of information to the global community.
For too long we’ve failed to connect with many of our patients. The clichéd smiling patient has been the easy solution. Today we must build partnerships at an emotional level, with understanding, empathy and creativity.
The third group we must consider is the ‘invisible army’ of healthcare: carers. In the UK the estimated cost of the NHS is £134bn and the estimated value provided by unpaid carers is £132bn, a difference of just 1.5%. Unpaid carers are the glue that holds healthcare systems together. To doctors they are the partners turning treatment plans into reality, for pharma companies they are the catalyst to success, and for patients they are everything. To unlock the true potential of carers, we have to broaden our focus. We must tell better, more relevant, readily understandable stories to ensure that there is a true information exchange between the HCP, patient and carer, so that carers become project managers of care.
The future of healthcare is exciting. New technology, new science and new data have the potential to drive exponential advances in medicine. We have access to massive quantities of data harnessed from a plethora of new technologies. AI and machine learning are revolutionising how we understand and use that data, helping us to develop new, more personalised treatments more quickly and more cheaply than we ever thought possible.
In short, what we once believed to be science fiction is now a reality. But the reality of the best and most advanced treatments making their way to patients depends on our ability to raise awareness, drive education and ensure universal adoption.
Our job is to transform HCPs into innovators, so they are the rule vs the exception. Ensure patients are educated and engaged – activists for their own health and others. Help carers to become advocates and champions for their loved ones. And in doing so, ensure equal access to the latest, most progressive science, technology and data. Winning Cannes Lions Healthcare Agency of the Year is a step in our journey. We can do more, and we will do more. We know the role we must play as a creative agency to help unlock the future of medicine, today.