Health information commitment
Health is one of the main demands and concerns of citizens. The best response to this demand is to provide more and better health information to a public audience that is becoming increasingly more informed and educated on these matters.
To communicate to society all that is related to their quality of life and health demands excellence, professionalism, devotion, passion and responsibility as society itself demands accurate, rigorous and accessible information.
Regarding health issues, the media perform two main functions; it can interpret for the public the scientific information and government policies and, at the same time, reflect the concerns of society.
Journalists increasingly demand deep, specialised and precise knowledge of issues that form part of everyday life in terms of health and care, and, to this end, health institutions (companies, healthcare institutions or organisations working in the health sector) must provide the media with this information so that it may be deciphered, disseminated and made accessible to society as a whole.
As an organisation, the added value we bring to communications when we talk about health is significant, because we talk about issues such as science, innovation and the value of medicine. It is imperative to transmit this value beyond the business level, and help to develop and preserve the image of the sector. It is necessary to work not only individually but also as a sector and in partnership with the institutions encompassed within this field.
It is along these lines that we must trace a path for health and medicine to not just become integrated into current affairs, but for this to be done with greater specialisation and generation of information.
Particular characteristics of the pharmaceutical industry
Specifically within the environment of the pharmaceutical industry communication is also subject to regulatory and legal framework governing its reporting activity.
On a basic level, there is the Spanish Code of Practice for the Promotion of Pharmaceutical Industry Medicines, a code for self-regulation of the relations of the pharmaceutical companies with healthcare professionals and patient associations, in accordance with which any information or action aimed at raising awareness amongst the general population requires strict controls for approval. Amongst these regulations, it is not permitted to use drug trademarks in communications addressed to the general population.
On a secondary level, own Internal Deontological Codes, such as the Code of Conduct, in our case, Novartis, a benchmark for appropriate behaviour and set rules to deal with our employees, customers, suppliers, authorities and the general public. To establish attractive working conditions and to protect the assets and interests of Novartis.
Corporate communications in health
In a corporate environment, communication is based on the image, on the identity of the company that defines the essence of what it is and the communication processes established to project that image. The identity of the company, its culture, relational system and communication are key components of the new management.
In the specific case of the Novartis Group, communication is a medium to convey the objectives of the organisation; it is used to develop and implement the information policy and reporting for internal and external audiences; it coordinates, strengthens and supports the implementation of policies concerning reputation, social responsibility and transparency.
The Communications Department is responsible for the detection and channelling of informational opportunities and maintains relationships with stakeholders, as well as handling management of all activities related to communication, media and information channels.
In order to carry out effective and professional communication within an organisation, it is necessary to provide added value through innovation and trust; to carry out 360° multi-channel communication (without thinking only in terms of the written word); maintain commitment and collaboration with the sources of information (scientific associations, academic organisations, journals of renowned prestige, patient associations, hospital managers and health professionals). All this with the support of the media, adapting communications to different types of media with differential strategies based on audiences and the needs of each channel.