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Integrated comms in the healthcare industry

By Alison Washer

As we adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19, an integrated approach to communications in healthcare is more important than ever. How we shape messaging is changing as we further understand our customers and use a hybrid approach (insights and scientific understanding) to craft messages that resonate, develop impactful campaigns and extend our reach across audiences.

As the healthcare industry evolves, understanding your customers and their communication preferences is vital. Technological advances have changed the dynamic between the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare professionals and patients, as it now must accommodate an increasingly informed and connected end user.

Looking beyond simple tactical implementation of brand strategy, an integrated communications approach should be developed from a thorough understanding of your audience (both internal and external) and the role that different communication platforms can play. This enables the development of a cohesive plan that will lead to the consistent delivery of engaging brand messages to the right audiences at the right time and, ultimately, benefit patients. An integrated approach must use an appropriate lexicon for the target audience and employ the most appropriate channels, such as face-to-face communication, digital platforms (something that we’ve all embraced because of COVID-19) and social media.

It is essential that medical communications agencies evolve to meet the communication needs of their clients and that message delivery is consistent with the core principles and business needs of these clients. Additionally, the process of capturing and analysing metrics that monitor changes in behaviour is vital to assess audience engagement and campaign impact, which can subsequently inform the evolution of strategy and the selection of appropriate communication channels.

Medical communications agencies also need to implement an integrated approach; employing individuals with expertise in science, insights, strategy and multi-channel platforms introduces a new dynamic to the client/medical communications agency relationship. Our own Chief Technology Officer is responsible for researching new technology and delivery channels to ensure we remain at the forefront of innovative, digital developments. This, combined with the effective integration of real-world insights into our communications, supports the strategic development and delivery of programmes that make a positive and measurable impact.

Alison Washer is Group Director, Client Services at Porterhouse Medical, part of the Porterhouse Medical Group

In association with

4th June 2020

From: Marketing

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