Q&A with Michael Bradley,  Senior Account Director at Langland

What drives you to succeed in your role at Langland?

Passion. I’m passionate about healthcare because it really means something. Passion is infectious and I hope it comes through in the work I do. The people I’m surrounded by each day also have such diverse experiences and perspectives that it never gets boring. They inspire me.

What are the key barriers to achieving success in communications?

We all crave simplicity, but the reality is that we live in a world of ever-increasing complexity and ever-decreasing space for nuance. The need to earn attention, inspire belief and generate thought-provoking two-way conversation has never been more important. Healthcare, especially, can be seen as quite a binary industry because of the human emotion which is naturally interwoven into everything we do. Companies either succeed or fail. A treatment works or it doesn’t. It’s black or white. But the reality is far more complex than that and we need to think further, beyond these constraints. The world of health is full of grey areas. Achieving success in communications is about adding the colour.

Why is effective communication particularly important in healthcare?

Healthcare is an industry where what you say and what people believe can have such far-reaching consequences. But reputation is a fragile thing. At its core, the healthcare industry is about helping people and is a force for good, but there has been a fundamental breakdown in public trust and a prevailing ‘anti-science’ sentiment in sections of society. We have to work hard to rebuild that trust in the industry and in the people who dedicate their careers to improving global public health. The impact of increasing awareness around disease, improving treatment adherence, or generating political advocacy can’t be overstated, both from a socioeconomic perspective and also in terms of improving population-level quality of life. I firmly believe that in healthcare, imagination moves faster than regulation. We’re seeing now that the speed of scientific progress is increasing exponentially and this has become clearer than ever in the COVID-19 pandemic; the rapid discovery and development of vaccine candidates would have been impossible a few years ago. There is clearly a role for communication to provide a bridge between the many stakeholders throughout the value chain and help align patient needs with physician realities and political will.

How do you see the delivery of healthcare messaging evolving?

There used to be a level of obscurity and apathy associated with the business of how healthcare systems work at national and international scale. We’re now at an inflection point where policymakers are trying to balance restricted budgets in the face of both an economic and health crisis, while scientific progress accelerates exponentially and under increased public scrutiny. This is a significant challenge but it also gives us a rare opportunity to engage with stakeholders across the spectrum and with audiences who normally wouldn’t care. How we deliver these messages will have a lasting impact on how the industry is perceived. Now’s the time for us to step up to the plate.