By Michelle Gross

There’s an insatiable need for innovation in healthcare – from drug development and reimbursement to patient and caregiver support. While the industry plays a large role in driving progress in all of these areas, it is critical for pharma to look both in and outside of its own walls to inspire continuous, meaningful innovation.

Due in part to the highly regulated environment, change comes more slowly to healthcare than other industries with similarly large-scale needs. Like we’re seeing with the Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon and JP Morgan Chase collaboration, this perceived inertia is driving industry outsiders to try to accelerate innovation in healthcare. However, I believe the pharmaceutical industry is a key agent for change and that, as healthcare communicators, we have the tools at our fingertips to foster collaboration and innovation.  

Three ways healthcare communicators can work with our clients to inspire outside innovation:

1. Leverage our network and insights. Building relationships is an essential function of communicators – from media to patients to third parties. In combination with our aptitude for research, these relationships enable us to tap into the rich pool of insights that are so often the foundation for innovation.   

2. Issue a call to action to solve a specific problem at hand. As communicators, we are able to reach diverse audiences through an integrated approach (paid, earned, shared and owned) that effectively places a megaphone in our hands. Award-winning programs, such as the Astellas Oncology C3 Prize, have successfully resulted in innovative ideas that improve patient care because they are able to reach a plethora of stakeholders, amplifying ideas that may not have gotten the attention or support they needed otherwise.

3. Bring together parties to have an open dialogue. Whether it is online or in-person, gatherings have been and always will be at the core of igniting conversations. As communicators, we have the ability to bring key stakeholders together in a variety of forms, from advisory boards to Twitter chats.

People working in healthcare communications are grounded in research, passionate and connected – priming us to be key players in driving innovation in healthcare.


This article was originally published on LinkedIn by Michelle Gross, Spectrum Managing Director. Michelle leads the biopharma practice with over 20 years of communications experience working with top global pharma brands.