The Superheroes Working Within Healthcare

22nd Jun 2016 | Posted by Felicity Haslehurst Felicity Haslehurst's picture

As a healthcare communications professional, I’ve been looking forward to attending Cannes to be inspired by the amazing work happening within the healthcare industry and the increased creativity caused by advances in technology. Not only have I been inspired by the talks which I have attended; I’ve also been amazed, emotionally moved and completely blown away.

The first talk I attended this year embodied the theme of my entire experience at the Health Lions. Superheroes: Unlocking the hidden superpowers of healthcare brands highlighted people working in a variety of creative roles within the healthcare industry. These superheroes resurfaced in various talks during the Health Lions, showing just how many ways they have put their powers to use.  

Superpower #1: Turning trash to treasure

You may have heard the tale of Rumpelstiltskin and the young girl who could spin straw into gold. This story of turning something ordinary into something extraordinary was echoed on Saturday as I learned about AbbVie’s Health Beacon, a new kind of container to dispose of clinical trash.  Anyone who has ever had a medical condition requiring self-injection is familiar with the inconvenience associated with having to dispose of medical waste. What if there was a way to turn this trash into something useful that would help patients and healthcare professionals alike?

Health Beacon is installed with technology designed to take a picture when clinical waste is deposited. This picture is sent directly to the patient’s healthcare professional, notifying them exactly when the medication was administered. When you consider the fact that one of the biggest problems with self-administered medications is that patients simply fail to self-inject on time, the benefits of this technology become clear. The results speak for themselves – during a recent trial of Beacon Health, 76% of injections were administered on time.

Superpower #2: Smartphone or Magicphone?

It is no secret smartphones have had an enormous impact on our daily lives. They help us keep in touch, on time and on trend… and they can also keep us healthy.
On Saturday I attended a talk which discussed whether pharma can ever be a true innovator in digital health. The answer was a resounding yes! Smartphones are quite literally changing lives. From the Apple Watch predicting oncoming epileptic seizures to smartphones detecting melanoma, we are just now beginning to understand how mobile technologies can help people lead healthier lives.

Superpower #3: The simple power of being human

Finally, but not to be underestimated, is the power of simply being human in the healthcare space. Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts spoke on the importance of discussing people’s health with empathy and humanity.

Having beat cancer twice, Robin’s experiences allow her to get to the heart of healthcare issues during her interviews with patients and their loved ones while educating viewers on serious topics. Perhaps the most famous example is Robin’s interview with vice-president Joe Biden, who spoke about the devastating loss of his son to cancer and his ‘moonshot’ initiative to cure cancer completely.

Of all I learnt during my two days at Health Lions, the simple power of ‘being human’ in approaching healthcare feels like it is perhaps the most important superpower of them all.

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