Looking Ahead: Healthcare Communications

by Laura Ann Ping 30 October 2019

The communication strategies of tomorrow will depend on how well we utilize this pool of information and ensure that patients and healthcare providers have a coherent understanding of each other’s needs.

As digital technologies begin to become more rampant in the communications business, analytical tools will become a key source for not only tracking and evaluating the effectiveness of campaigns, but also as a rich source of data to provide insights into consumer behaviour.

The communication strategies of tomorrow will depend on how well we utilise this pool of information and ensure that patients and healthcare providers have a coherent understanding of each other's needs. Thus, the key audience in the future will definitely be the patient group, while agencies will be expected to align their communication strategies with HCPs, regulators and the scientific community so that the information is consistent. Furthermore, healthcare communications will need to focus on delivering greater Value complemented by investing in time and resources to offer deep Expertise, staying current with the latest changes and trends in the larger political landscape and in their client ecosystems.

What will define success in the future for a communications agency will depend on its adaptability to evolve with the changing times, be it technology, regulation or patient needs. Establishing a deep understanding of local cultures and languages can go a long way in developing patient-centric campaigns. For instance, in Asian cultures, hospice care is often misunderstood as being “unfilial”. We must look at ways to identify the opportunity for our campaign to position itself in a manner that would best resonate with the target audience.

In an environment where strict regulation around communications by pharmaceutical and healthcare-related companies is the norm, campaign messages often run the risk of becoming convoluted and saturated replete with technical and medical jargon in compliance with the medical and legal guidelines. As a result, this can turn-off audiences and hinder the effectiveness of any campaign and this is where we must wear our creative hats and employ compelling patient stories or other human-interest stories to convey our messages in more meaningful ways.

With digital becoming increasingly prevalent and analytics improving in robustness, VR and Chatbots are opening new avenues for creativity in engaging with audiences while retaining a high level of interaction between audiences and the brand. Key to this is ensuring that such technology can be used while remaining mobile friendly and easy to access without the need to download dedicated apps.

Beyond the number of impressions or reach of a communication piece, most clients want to see if audiences are taking actions based on the communication they received. In healthcare, this could be measured by the number of clinical appointments required with a doctor about a medication, the number of visits to a website to find out more information about a health condition, or the number of times a campaign hashtag was used to raise awareness for example.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

With a degree in Medical Biochemistry, Laura has until now specialised in healthcare communications in her career. Within Activiste she is responsible for strategy development, and brand communications for its clients.