Half of all mid-market healthcare executives say they plan to merge or acquire existing businesses in 2018, setting the stage for an unprecedented year of industry merger and acquisition activity. As healthcare organizations are pursuing partnerships and collaborations in order to remain competitive and strengthen market offerings, savvy PR professionals are focused on how these strategic partnerships will inevitably impact their healthcare clients.

In December 2017 alone, five industry mega-mergers were announced, with CVS Health’s decision to buy Aetna receiving the most ink due to its unparalleled potential to reshape the healthcare landscape. Beyond the mergers of traditional healthcare companies, tech giants are becoming increasingly interested in entering the market as the industry continues its march toward consumerization.

Today, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan announced they are teaming up to form an independent health care company that will cut costs and improve services for their employees. Earlier this month, Apple announced a feature that would allow customers to see their medical records on their iPhone. Meanwhile, Microsoft is working to develop innovative platforms to supplement its cloud-based health information management systems.

So, what does all of this mean for PR practitioners? That the industry is changing, and we need to stay on top of it. Here are seven trends we’re paying attention to as we craft stories and campaigns for our clients:

  1. Payers are becoming providers, and as lines blur, we expect trade reporters to broaden the topics they cover.
  2. Entire sections of publications will be devoted to covering these partnerships.
  3. Though many media outlets don’t currently have a dedicated healthcare reporter, we expect that to change and change quickly.
  4. Innovations in health IT will continue to be a recurring theme.
  5. Social determinants of health will remain central to the conversation, as companies seek to comprehensively address all factors that contribute to patients’ well-being.
  6. The focus of most storytelling will be on the patient – and their pain points – during this transitional time in healthcare.
  7. With tech giants taking over the industry, storytelling, data and anecdotal evidence will be crucial to breaking through the noise.

If you work in the healthcare industry and are having trouble reaching your target audiences in light of these changing trends, be sure to call in a professional – a PR professional. We make sure to stay one step ahead of the latest news and trends, and we can craft creative ideas to help your company tell your story.


RH Strategic is a Seattle and D.C.-based communications firm providing strategic public relations for innovators in the technology, public sector and healthcare markets.