Every time we think Covid is in the rear-view, it seems another variant pops up. Beyond that, broad health issues are reaching an inflection point.
- Overturning Roe v. Wade created lots of questions around healthcare access
- Gun control regulations are top of mind following a series of horrific shootings
- People are experiencing burnout at unprecedented rates, no doubt due, in part, to the above
Despite negative headlines and a swirling sense of doom, there’s a hopeful future.
Targeted intervention in healthcare–especially early-stage companies with bright ideas and unrelenting determination–is attracting an inspiring amount of investment. Technology addressing women’s biological needs, or FemTech venture capital (VC) funding is tripling.
In addition, niche solutions have earned investors’ attention. Projections anticipate the market for virtual and augmented reality healthcare tools will grow to 16 times its size. This will help surgical training and planning, aiding chronic pain management and addressing mental health.
Targeted interventions can change the trajectory of entire populations in a good way. Innovative companies are working to ensure all people have access to healthcare when and how they need it.
PR pros have the exciting task of sharing creative solutions with the broader public. So, how do these changes inform PR? Here are five ways PR pros can have a greater impact:
Advocate for meaningful action
Rather than sharing reactive statements, companies are becoming more thoughtful about their approach. They’re leaning on action over words. One recent example is CVS Health implementing proactive health and safety measures to support its customers and employees as Hurricane Ian approaches the U.S. PR should follow suit and walk the talk.
Communicators can provide media relations strategies on important issues such as expanding health care access. By pitching bylines, interviews and Q&As, PR pros can creatively communicate a company’s work and engage audiences for support. Change for the sake of change (or in PR for the sake of publicity) won’t move the needle for an industry. However, a thoughtful and strategic approach to communicating important work – and WHY they’re taking this action – will improv brand image, customer loyalty, and improve the industry at large.
Have a healthcare story
Healthcare is not an industry that operates in a silo–it’s present in financial planning, education, cybersecurity, business, transportation, construction and food. As the system trends toward more holistic and interconnected approaches to care, every communicator will need to have a healthcare story to tell as it bleeds into every aspect of our lives. From employee well-being to financial literacy, every industry touches healthcare and the health of every employee is vital to a successful team and business.
Use creative storytelling
As PR pros, we must find creative, effective ways to tell clients’ stories to break through the news cycle. By having in-depth conversations with experts, PR professionals should find their client’s unique voice and point of view and connect it to recent events. Through those meaningful conversations and work, there is an opportunity to tell creative solutions to today’s most pressing problems.
Reassess how we reach audiences
Post-Covid the average consumer has a greater understanding of the healthcare system. As a result, there is a convergence of trade and consumer media. Mass media now reports on big issues facing healthcare, meeting the public’s demand for such news. Not only in healthcare, but every PR pro who’s not engaged consumer media as a channel for storytelling may want to revisit their approach.
Focus on metrics, customer stories and innovation
In 2021, there was a huge influx of funding across all sectors. VCs say now is the time for building–they’ve made their investments. It’s time to put the money to work.
To that point, healthcare media will require compelling reasons why they should cover a company. In turn, PR should bolster stories with proof–data is often the most compelling–that a company’s vision and/or its product are working.
In sum, the road ahead will be rocky and there are sure to be new variants and unexpected challenges. Yet, I’m encouraged that the opportunities for change in healthcare are endless, and PR pros can help create a stronger future.
RH Strategic is a Seattle and D.C.-based PR agency with a nationwide presence and additional global reach via membership in the Worldcom Public Relations Group. We provide strategic public relations for innovators in the technology, government and healthcare markets.