Communicating Healthcare IT; A Roadmap for Success

Lisen Syp

“Innovation starts by intimately observing your customer,” said Jeremy Gutsche, innovation expert and CEO of TrendHunter.com, at HIMSS 2015 last month.

The business of healthcare is changing seemingly moment to moment- and innovation is everywhere- with technological advances, rise in mobile communication, a shift to a consumer driven marketplace and big data transfer and sharing just scratching the surface of what’s out there. Naturally, healthcare organizations are looking to broadcast their offerings and make a big splash for their innovations, and hiring a PR team is critical to make this a reality. Companies today can’t afford to stagnate and simply wait to have news to speak with the media as news announcements for many companies are few and far between. In order to be successful, companies must be viewed as thought leaders, putting themselves out there and commenting on industry news and what’s going on in the world.8409311086_5c6739617d_z

Image by https://www.flickr.com/photos/heisenbergmedia/ used under CC license.

At PAN Communications, we work with clients across the entire healthcare and HIT spectrums, and we are uniquely qualified to help them get to the heart of their value proposition vis a vis the market and competitive landscapes. We craft stories that clearly and passionately articulate their differentiators and share these stories through multiple communications channels to reach and engage key stakeholders.   

When initiating work with our clients, we start with a methodical assessment of the company’s earned, owned and shared assets, spend time with the executive team to understand business objectives and conduct a thorough audit of the competitive landscape. It can be daunting at the outset, so here are a few best practices that we employ here at PAN when working with new healthcare—and all—clients. This enables us to build a thoughtful roadmap, smartly utilizing data, identifying select, important news items and leveraging multiple tactics to spread our clients’ key messages and increase reach and impact.

 

  1. Determine the company’s objectives. As PR pros, our scope of talent goes way beyond facilitating media interviews and coverage. It’s important to determine up front if a thought leadership strategy through speaking opportunities at conferences and award wins will help reach your goals, or, if influencer relations with important industry and analyst groups might be the preferred activation. At PAN, we try to strike a balance between varying tactics and audiences to maximize reach for our clients, but as an initial discussion simply figuring out what matters most to the client from an outcome perspective is highly valuable.
  2. Determine what data is available for analysis- and what types of information need to be kept proprietary versus that which is approved for external use. One of our clients recently conducted a fascinating study regarding attitudes and behaviors of today’s healthcare consumer, a large portion of which will be held internally to inform business decisions and future plans. As PR counsel, we can’t assume any and all facts and figures are “pitchable” and having a precise discussion up front can save time and also offer insight into future areas of growth for the client.
  3. Become an expert. It goes without saying that we need to be keenly aware of our clients’ marketplace and competitive landscape so that we can best position their news. A competitor issue news or a study is published that is relevant to your client’s industry? These are the ideal vehicles to offer your client as a spokesperson, commenting upon the significance of the news and how it affects the healthcare landscape. For instance, an article regarding a cut to Medicare can be used to set the stage for your client’s story regarding a new HSA offering. In this case two unrelated topics are tied together to form a new POV, which is a typical PR tactic in creating relevance. Because the topics are so critically important to the well-being of our population, your client’s story takes on a halo of even greater import.
  4. Consider what portion of the budget might be used for native advertising, infographic or video creation, or other “pay for play” opportunities. At all turns, we need to consider earned, owned, and paid media so that we can maximize impact for our client.

When determining how to showcase innovation and expertise, the sky is the limit. A clear focus and precise understanding of priorities are the essential ingredients in building a solid foundation for not only immediate but also long term success.

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