Tunnah's musings: Bringing healthcare together in the real world


As pharmaphorum films its first round table debate, Paul Tunnah muses this month on the value of getting the pharma industry, patients, prescribers and other healthcare experts in the same room and the exciting conversations that take place when you do.

Last month I wrote about the Doctors 2.0 & You conference in Paris, which brought together all kinds of different healthcare stakeholders for some very productive sessions. Events that do this are extremely beneficial, but sadly they are also quite rare and finding the time and money to attend can be difficult (although I would argue it is always worth it).

The world of digital and social media has, in many ways, turned our lives upside down. Facebook talks about having a mission to make the world more connected – a statement that could equally be applied to Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest etc. To a great extent they have all succeeded and I have always been a vocal advocate of social media as a tool to help introduce people who perhaps would never normally interact.

"But online conversation has its limitations."

But online conversation has its limitations. It also makes our lives so busy that it can reduce the time available for meeting people in real life, which is not a good thing.

Last week this was brought home to me when we tried something new and exciting at pharmaphorum. Working with one of the major pharma companies (I will not give the details away just yet!), I moderated a round table discussion on personalised healthcare in cancer and beyond, which was filmed and will be published, post editing, in September.

The aim was to trigger some productive debate around progressing personalised healthcare forwards, which can be broadcast to a larger audience than could normally attend a conference. Whilst I am clearly biased, to say it succeeded would be an understatement as it did that and more – it connected a small group of people together in a way that no-one could have foreseen.

We had four individuals, each an expert in their own respective area, taking part. Firstly, a representative from the pharma company, who spearheads its personalised healthcare initiatives, with a strong research background in this field. They were joined by a leading cancer researcher and practicing physician, a world-leading specialist in the diagnostics space flown in from the US and, last but by no means least, a cancer patient and leading facilitator of patient input into clinical trial design.

"Each of these individuals came away commenting that they learned something new in those two hours..."

That we had almost two hours of fluid discussion around where personalised healthcare has been and what needs to happen moving forwards for it to deliver more benefit to patients became almost secondary to the bonds that were formed during the debate. Each of these individuals, who know personalised healthcare inside and out from their own perspective, came away commenting that they learned something new in those two hours...and the discussion continued over coffee afterwards.

Now the hard work begins of producing the right media outputs – video and written – that will help convey the essence of the discussion. If only 10% of the vibrant nature of that discussion comes across on camera then I think it will be highly engaging, so keep an eye out for the finished result in September.

When I started pharmaphorum in late 2009, the tagline of 'bringing healthcare together', was chosen to embody our mission. A platform that speaks to pharma, but brings in the voices of all other healthcare stakeholders to help the industry change, innovate and deliver better medicines to patients.

"Our mission has never been embodied better that in that two hour discussion, with five people sat together."

Almost four years later we have reached hundreds of thousands of people online and established relationships with physicians, patients, pharma personnel and other healthcare stakeholders from all over the world.

But our mission has never been embodied better that in that two hour discussion, with five people sat together round a small table. I hope it is something we, and pharma, will do more of.

Until next month, don't forget to go offline and meet folks and, above all, stay well.


About the author:

Paul Tunnah is CEO & Founder of pharmaphorum media, which provides digital content marketing and communications solutions for the pharma sector and also manages the industry leading channel www.pharmaphorum.com, a digital podium for communicating thought leadership and innovation within pharma. For queries he can be reached through the site contact form or on Twitter @pharmaphorum.

Do the best healthcare conversations take place offline?


15 July, 2013