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Navigating the narrative: insights from the 20th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP)

As medical publication professionals, we are natural storytellers, expertly crafting intricate narratives that transform data into engaging stories and simplifying complex medical concepts for a broader audience. The essence of this skill was a recurring theme at the recent International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) meeting, an event that celebrated not only the coming together of experts but also the evolution over the past two decades of medical publication from a mere job to a respected profession and, ultimately, to a discipline.

Tomas Rees, author
Tomas Rees, author
Tomas Rees accepting the gavel to become Chair of the ISMPP Board of Trustees
Tomas Rees accepting the gavel to become Chair of the ISMPP Board of Trustees

This year's meeting was particularly special because it marked the 20th anniversary of our society, as well as the 15th anniversary of the Certified Medical Publication Professional (CMPP) credential, and our collective endeavours to drive forwards integrity, transparency and full disclosure. I am honoured to support these efforts as the incoming Chair of the Board of Trustees.

The art of storytelling dominated discussions. The power of a compelling narrative extends beyond raw data and figures. It connects, resonates with and involves the audience. Effective storytelling is not just about presenting facts but about placing those facts within a context that taps into our innate ability to create and understand meaning. In medical publications, turning data into a narrative does not entail the loss of scientific accuracy. It means embedding these data within a storyline that prompts the audience to reach an 'aha!' moment, highlighting the significance of the results.

We were reminded that while technology, especially artificial intelligence (AI), has advanced in creating prose, it often struggles to craft the original and meaningful stories that are the backbone of our work. Presentations emphasized that the idea of AI replacing medical writers underestimates the creativity and deep understanding that our profession demands. Generative AI has limitations and biases, and harnessing its potential effectively necessitates human expertise. Integrating human creativity with the capabilities of AI can enrich our storytelling, adding depth to the narratives that we produce. However, we face challenges such as navigating the complex web of guidelines and policies surrounding the use of generative AI. It is essential to address this fragmentation to ensure industry-wide alignment and compliance with publisher standards.

Patient experiences were another critical subject addressed. Medical communications empower patient voices and narratives, encompassing patient interactions with healthcare systems and acknowledging the centrality of health-related quality of life. The meeting also examined patient rights within the context of AI in healthcare.

Another enlightening session delved into the connection between electronic patient information (ePI) and source materials, underscoring the potential of accessible data to improve patient outcomes. Linking ePI with source materials and plain language summaries could significantly simplify and empower patients鈥 decision-making regarding their care.

Furthermore, the meeting cast a spotlight on the growing interest in metrics and the complex challenge of determining the value associated with publications. Owing to its inherent subjectivity, this task is daunting and there is no universal metric to depend on. This calls for deeper collaboration among medical affairs professionals, publishers and conference organizers. ISMPP is taking a pioneering step with its web-based metrics working group to explore and promote useful metrics.

The meeting left us invigorated, with a clear vision for the future of our profession: a future in which storytelling remains pivotal, supported by the latest technologies and a profound commitment to patient care. AI should not be overlooked; I view it as a tremendous asset that can augment our storytelling capabilities, enabling us to craft more compelling narratives and visuals. We bear the responsibility of conveying stories that enhance health knowledge and shape patient care. As we step into this exciting new era, it is time that we fully embrace the advanced tools at our disposal to transform our insights into impactful stories.

The 澳门六合彩开奖网 team at our booth
The 澳门六合彩开奖网 team at our booth