Nick Colucci, Publicis Healthcare Group

June 2, 2008

In our line of work, three things matter: patients, speed, and transparency. Ultimately, everything we do is about patient care. Whatever the medical condition, our work encompasses mobilizing health professionals for the good of society. Our level of responsibility to that patient care mission must never be compromised. At the same time, we live in a make-it-easy world, dominated by information overload, and our charge is to deliver the important health imperatives in a timely and accessible manner.

In our line of work, three things matter: patients, speed, and transparency. Ultimately, everything we do is about patient care. Whatever the medical condition, our work encompasses mobilizing health professionals for the good of society. Our level of responsibility to that patient care mission must never be compromised. At the same time, we live in a make-it-easy world, dominated by information overload, and our charge is to deliver the important health imperatives in a timely and accessible manner.

Clients and their agencies must together examine how to make brand information relevant in a 24/7, on-demand world. Today, thanks to easy-to-use search engines, patients' journey from awareness to action is a mouse click away. Clients have to be ready to respond to the need for on-demand brand information. At the same time, we have to acknowledge the reputation dings our industry has taken. What happens to one company impacts the entire industry.

The Web has created expectations for ease-of-access, clarity, speed, and transparency. The real winners will ask themselves constantly: "How does our brand, and our efforts to support awareness and use, benefit society?"

Our pharma world is being TIVO'ed before our very eyes. From YouTube to patient blogs, everything is becoming more transparent. Yet many things remain the same. Case study learnings are the "reality show" of the physician and payer communities. The information needed will not change—but agencies will need to adjust the medium to meet customer expectations.

Moore's Law will see its realization in healthcare advertising. Advances during the past five years in hand-held and mobile technology will be exponentially greater during the next five. These devices already link us to mobile Internet access. In the coming five years, the technology will accelerate, enabling notices and alerts to fuel clinical teaching moments as never before imagined. Building relationships and partnerships with global decision makers will require more insight and creativity, and speed. Reimbursement financial systems will change radically as well, and we will see more involvement from government and third-party payers, whose voices already have been growing.

Clients should look beyond the obvious. Agencies have capabilities to maximize expertise within the global network.

The Skinny

Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (PHCG) is the industry's largest integrated healthcare communications group.

Telephone: 212-468-4033

Web site: publicishealthcare.com