Thought Leadership

Is technology removing the ‘care’ from healthcare?

New technologies are transforming our world and healthcare is no exception. But, with such rapid change, how can the industry adapt to ensure it’s not leaving patients behind?

Alison Dunlop, MSL

Managing Director, Health


Healthcare is at a crossroads. As new technologies promise to revolutionise the NHS, they also put people at risk of being further marginalised. With the rise of the ‘expert patient’ and an ever-growing digital divide, it’s time to examine technology’s impact on our healthcare system. 

Up to 30% of the population lives with two or more long-term conditions. The increasingly complex nature of chronic disease management will make it more important than ever for stakeholders to communicate with one another. The way digitisation will facilitate this communication is crucial to understand.

Additionally, where larger companies have 20 to 30 people speaking to clinicians every day to understand people’s needs, in the future they are likely to get their insights from digital routes and tools.

As experts in healthcare communications, MSL wanted to understand this shift and what it means for patients and professionals alike. So, we convened a roundtable discussion, consulting industry leaders, including communications executives, digital transformation experts, marketing chiefs and clinicians/clinical scientists to look ahead to the NHS’s digital future and the role of pharma within it.

Keeping in mind key principles proposed by the Topol Review, an enquiry led by US digital medicine expert Dr Eric Topol, we ignited an important discussion on the future of the NHS. We asked three critical questions:

  1. How do stakeholders ensure that vital personalised care is supported in an environment where remote interactions with healthcare professionals are becoming the norm?
  2. What is the solution to bridging the ‘digital divide’ to help prevent those with limited access becoming further marginalised?
  3. Where can the greatest benefit be gained from the application of new technologies such as genomics, digital medicine, artificial intelligence and robotics?


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Guest Author

Alison Dunlop, MSL

Managing Director, Health,


Alison joined MSL in July 2018 to lead its Health practice, following over 20 years as a senior leader working with a number of global agencies. She has expertise in developing award winning patient engagement strategies across owned, earned and paid channels globally to influence patient behaviour. Alison is adept at building communities to influence and effect change across a range of therapeutic areas for clients such as GSK, Novartis, Pfizer, Shire, Allergan and Johnson & Johnson. As part of her work for GSK, Alison led a global awareness campaign, aimed at addressing barriers to vaccination. Alison also led a UK campaign for GSK’s Cervarix vaccine (Human Papillomavirus Vaccine) to educate mothers and their teenage daughters about the importance of vaccination to prevent transmission of the HPV virus. As an executive member of the Healthcare Communications Agency, Alison champions best practice across the health industry.

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