There's a game my kids play called Findit. In the game, you need to search for specific small items in a container containing a lot of different, small items. The big prize is finding the shiny penny. Today's healthcare market is similar.
By now it’s a given that technology and automation are essential components of reducing healthcare costs and increasing patient quality outcomes. The impact of automation is estimated at $18.2 billion in annual savings for hospitals and private practices. According to some recent industry reports, 85 percent of doctors use smartphones and medical apps and 40 percent say this allows them to reduce time spent on administration.
As a result, there are A LOT of companies—regardless of size and tenure—vying for a piece of the healthcare informatics/IT pie, through merger/acquisition or as startups. According to a 2013 report from McKinsey & Co. (“The ‘big data’ revolution in healthcare”), more than 200 companies created since 2010 are developing a diverse set of innovative tools to make better use of available healthcare information. Since that report was published, I would think the number is even higher, perhaps closer to 350 or 400. Not to mention the number of established companies looking to bring new solutions to market or strengthen their offerings by buying and adding on complementary technologies. Earlier this week we all saw the news that Cerner is purchasing the health care information technology business of Siemens for $1.3 billion.
Companies competing for attention and share of voice in the digital health space and established companies with new offerings to bring to market all need to demonstrate evidence of the benefits they claim their solution delivers. All constituents (consumers, hospitals, and health plans) want a product or service that has been validated and has credibility in order to mitigate any potential risk—financial or care-related. But innovation is only one part of the equation.
At a time when clutter and confusion are paramount, digital healthcare companies need to break through the noise, educate their key audiences about what they do (and what they don’t do), and articulate clearly their value proposition and differentiators. How do they do this? The time has never been riper for digital health companies to think about a strategic communications program that not only reaches key decision makers but engages them in a way that spurs action, in this case a purchasing decision. Those that don’t do this risk falling behind their competitors or getting lost completely in the shuffle.
A public relations program can take many forms, depending on who the company wants to reach, where those stakeholders are located, and what their business objectives are. At PAN, we specialize in developing creative, tailored programs for healthcare companies operating all over the globe. We serve multiple roles as our clients’ trusted partner including story teller, brand builder, and company advisor. Give us a call if you are interested in hearing our thoughts on how we can help your company take advantage of the market opportunity that is present today. Or, are you going to be one of the companies that falls behind or gets lost?