Maintaining Our Core Strength: Driving Publication Integrity Through Leadership

By Nina C Kennard, Cello Health MedErgy

This year’s ISMPP EU conference brought people from different specialities together to discuss ‘hot topics’, new and old, associated with medical affairs and more specifically medical publications. I had the pleasure of being part of the Cello Health team exhibiting at the conference and also attended a number of the informative and thought-provoking sessions.

I particularly enjoyed the session on Maintaining Our Core Strength: Driving Publication Integrity Through Leadership, with its flamboyant and always entertaining chair who made some interesting comparisons of people well known to the medical publishing world and A(?) class celebrities. So I thought I would share some key insights/thoughts that this session left me pondering on my train home after the meeting…

  • We are in an era of fake news. While fake news is not new, the ability to reach a wider audience and to target a specific demographic by understanding their pre-conceived ideas is something that we are not yet au fait with
  • Fake news is not just inaccurate reporting, it also includes exaggeration and reporting data/information out of context. When we think of the increase in childhood diseases that could be prevented by vaccinations, we realise the hard hitting consequences that fake news can have in medicine, beyond BREXIT
    • There needs to be a balance between capturing peoples imagination and keeping the integrity of the data/communication
    • Monitoring fake news can be used by journal editors to guide them in the types of articles that they publish. Partially to provide counterarguments to fake news and partially because understanding what the readership is interested in is a key part of the editors role
  • As communication and publication professionals we have a responsibility to not only ensure our news/communications are true and balanced, but also that we counteract fake news in a timely and well positioned manner – the need for speed is made increasingly difficult with the need to remain compliant at all times, but we must not let this hinder us
  • We need to stand up for good quality evidence, we need to fact check and counter arguments to fake news and we need a way to grade the news/evidence that is presented to us on social media

This year, at the ISMPP conference, it was great to see a greater amount of representation from patients/patient advocate groups. I am and have been a patient over the years for a number of different ailments and I always try to keep my experiences and knowledge of my patient journey at the forefront of my mind in my work. After all, my main aim when I joined this industry was to help patients have a better quality of life and, if possible, to get better.

If you would like to discuss any of this summary with me or would like any further information on the work that we do, please don’t hesitate to contact me: nkennard@ch-medergy.co.uk