Healthcare’s Great Expedition: Display Explores Medical Innovation and Advancement

Celgene connects exploration with health care in interactive display on the importance of medical innovation.

What do space, the ocean and the desert have in common with health care? That is the question posed by Healthcare’s Great Expedition, a unique interactive experience created by Celgene and focused on innovation in medicine.

The display made its debut at the 2018 World of Technology and Science (WoTS) congress in Utrecht, Netherlands, and Celgene plans to take this Expedition experience on the road, including to the 11th World Conference of Science Journalists, July 1-5, 2019, in Lausanne, Switzerland.

At WoTS, thousands of visitors travelled through the booth navigating three sections named “Space,” “Ocean” and “Desert” to reflect environments that hold potential for human discovery and offer an interesting analogy to some of the issues faced in health care. In these exhibit areas, participants learned about the various stages of medical discovery and development, while hearing Celgene’s perspectives on the complexities of the health care environment. Visitors shared their feedback and interacted with features, including a short science-fiction film and several games.

“Celgene is proud to be part of this great health care expedition,” said Kevin Loth, Celgene Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Policy, Worldwide Markets. “We appreciate the opportunity we have to engage with members of the public about what we are doing as a company and industry. Through interactions like this, we can help people understand the critical roles pharmaceutical companies play in bringing new medicines to patients.”

Communication and Collaboration

Visitors began their tour with Space, the area of the booth focused on communication and collaboration. There, they viewed This is Axiom, a story of an astronaut lost in space and fighting for a chance to return home. Her story and the stories of those who help her along the way serve as a metaphor for the complex health care environment and the urgent need for collaboration among health care stakeholders when making decisions about patient care.

The booth also allowed stakeholders to contribute ideas regarding sustainability in health care. According to at least one attendee, rising medical costs are not the fault of any one individual stakeholder.

“It is too easy to point at other stakeholders; that will not lead us to a solution,” Arnt Wolter, strategic health care contractor from the Diakonessenhuis Hospital in Utrecht, said. “Every stakeholder can take responsibility for a part of the solution.”

Through interactions like this, we can help people understand the critical roles pharmaceutical companies play in bringing new medicines to patients.

Discovery and Exploration

The second area, Ocean, focused on the high-risk nature of medical discovery and the vast areas of exploration still open. An interactive game gave visitors the opportunity to develop an investigational medicine from its discovery; through clinical trials, regulatory approval and manufacturing; and finally launch. This exercise highlighted the many difficulties in real-world medical discovery and development. This part of the exhibit provided greater detail about the complex discovery process and the high rates of failure in pharmaceutical development.

At the end of Ocean, visitors were asked what they thought was the greatest challenge to discovering new treatment options. Answers included difficult science, challenging government policies, technological challenges, high costs and high risks. Most participants chose difficult science, followed by high costs and high risks.

Access to Medicines

Finally, visitors arrived at Desert, where access to medicines was the theme. An interactive pricing simulation game allowed participants to step into the role of a pharmaceutical company leader. In this simulation, they evaluated decisions on pricing and future investments. When asked at the end of this area to identify the primary driver of the cost of medicines, most visitors chose research and development.

Next Steps for Healthcare’s Great Expedition

The display enabled valuable conversations from diverse perspectives regarding the many facets of health care, including investments, research and development, value and innovation and the future. Celgene looks forward to gathering further perspectives at additional events with the Expedition in the coming year.