Healthcare Industry is Revolutionised! Effect of PR and Communication Strategy
By Sandhya Sutodia, Co-founder, Turiya Communications LLP
Bridge the Gap between Doctors and Patients Now with Effective PR Strategy
The world has taken an unprecedented major hit this year because of the swirling pandemic, Novel Corona Virus, or most known as CoVid19, due to which world economy is being placed at the low ebb. Anyone has hardly had any idea about such a huge crisis that would unfold in the wake of 2020. In this pandemic, only one industry is standing still or trying to stand still and is at its full potential to prevent any unfortunate life loss and that is the health care industry.
The doctors, nurses, operation teams are working shoulder to shoulder in every country to uproot this global pandemic. Apart from this industry, other industries are drastically working to improve their policies for their employees, clients, and stakeholders so that they can protect them against this disease. For example, Disney Parks have implemented certain rules that will specifically focus on the healthcare of their clients, employees, and stakeholders as well. The MNC like Concentrix has re-opened their sites in India after 20th April having followed the MHA and the respective state government policies strictly to put employee safety and well-being first and needless to say, across the globe many more industries have taken up and put the healthcare requirement as a top priority.
Now, if we speak about India, the healthcare industry comprises hospitals, clinical trials, medical devices, telemedicine, medical tourism, outsourcing, and health insurance. This industry is set to become a multi-billion dollar industry, estimating 372 billion by 2022, according to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation report, (Rs 3.1 billion in FY2018-19). Even though the industry is currently facing a loss of business and this trend is expected to continue for the upcoming future (at least for 3-6 months), this particular industry will be favoured exponentially when the government announces any fiscal stimulus.
People will be concentrating more on healthcare issues than any other things, resulting in a steep rise of business in this sector and all are due to this pandemic. Looking at this scenario, one can easily understand how profitable this is going to be for any investor in the upcoming years when the current health crisis is dealt with across the globe. But it is also important to remember in order to keep any business in demand in the market, it has to be digitally strong and affluent in terms of service and this goes without saying, Communication and PR are to be on the top priority list.
With the advent of digital platforms, the whole traditional communication system has been disrupted and the age is moving at a fast pace to connect more across the globe. In any professional sector, if you want to grow, the first thing you need is to connect with the people – to let them know what you are doing and how it is going to be effective for them. Once you place sufficient reasons behind your endeavour, BOOM! You have turned your audience into potential consumers and this is only possible through strong, provocative PR – Public Relations strategy. Nowadays, medical sector is also using strong PR agencies to bridge the communication gap between doctors, healthcare professionals, and patients. But 50 years from now, the scenario was different.
- People usually came to know about a good doctor through government hospitals and nursing homes only.
- People couldn’t find the right doctor for a particular disease.
- To book an appointment, they used to wait for hours in the line.
- Information was scarce. Almost no one had an idea of how to prevent any disease on their own.
- Moreover, people used to panic in the face of any potential outbreak of a disease.
- Doctors hardly had any idea of how many patients would be visiting them and if their meds would be enough for all of them.
NOW, the entire scenario has been changed and in the face of a global pandemic, this PR has grown tremendously in the market. Let’s see how PR and Communication agencies are bridging the gap between healthcare professionals and patients/consumers.
When a PR executive waves his/ her magic wand of communicative skill for your healthcare service, be assured that your brand is making its place among your potential consumers. There are four major roles of a PR agency in the health care industry:
- Communication: The major requirement of the healthcare sector is the need to address the audience which involves a different type of people with different types of inquiries. Therefore, the most appropriate message must be sent to the right audience. For example, when communicating with the patients/consumers regarding any product or service, the focus should be on how that particular product or service is going to be useful and helps them lead a healthy life and on the other hand, if it comes to interacting with the doctors/healthcare professionals, the focus should be on patient feedback, product’s ease of use, patient information and others. In the wake of the global pandemic of CoVid19, most of the top healthcare institutions like WHO, UNICEF, are constantly keeping us aware of its spread, rules we need to follow and things we need to do and things we should not do through live streaming. A strong communication belt has been created to address every nation, every person living.
- Brand Creation: Many times, we come across a common term, ‘Your reputation precedes you’ and could you imagine what it would mean for a particular company that provides certain products or services? This is where Brand creation comes into effect and this is done by PR professionals. For a sector like healthcare which is growing with almost a lightning speed, brand creation is indispensable. Due to the revolution of digital platforms, any news with influential content spreads like wildfire on social media platforms. According to Broadband Search, in 2019, a person spends 153 minutes daily on social media platforms and do you still think people can’t be influenced about a brand creation online?
- Advisor to the Company: In the healthcare industry, the market constantly shifts and the risk factors are always there. In such situations, PR executives study market analytics and provide necessary information on consumer behaviour and product feedback to the healthcare professionals, which in turn helps them improve their services. This kind of creative approach with the help of the PR executives also works for bridging the gap between the healthcare professionals and patients/consumers.
- Lead Business Growth: If the health care companies are generating more revenues, then it is quite understandable that they have been communicating with their audience pretty well. Through exquisitely promoting the brand and spreading the message and information on various healthcare-related aspects, the companies are able to attract new customers, create a better relationship with them and harness the benefits of keeping the relationship beyond professionalism.
PR and communication agencies work round the clock to make sure that the message of the healthcare professionals reaches the consumers. The evolution of digital platforms has not only benefited the healthcare professionals like doctors, nurses, paramedic teams but also helped millions of people worldwide, sometimes directly and indirectly with useful relevant information.
- Book Appointment: Nowadays, people hardly visit a doctor’s chamber to book an appointment. Almost every renowned hospital, the nursing home has a section called, ‘Book Your Appointment’ on their websites. According to the study, around 44% would like to visit a doctor who offers an online appointment booking facility. There are several websites even that offer online doctor consultation at a very minimum price. Sometimes, patients do communicate via any hospital or healthcare facility’s Facebook page. Because of the spread of Novel Corona Virus, healthcare professionals, governments are advising people to consult online doctors and avoid any direct contact with them.
- Healthcare Information: Most of the healthcare professionals and institutions are active on all major social media platforms and they always keep sharing important news on health and guidelines to stay physically active. PR and communication agencies, which do the work on their behalf most of the time, process any worthy information as soon as possible. For example, the spread of nCorona Virus killing more than 1,70,000 people and affecting 2.5 million people across the globe– such news is making the headlines on the digital platforms nowadays. But back in 2002 when SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) appeared in China and went global within a few weeks, most of the people remained unaware of such situations because of the slow-paced communication structure.
- Share Preventive Care: For any kind of disease, health care professionals and organizations always share first-hand preventive measures. Ex. WHO- World Health Organization – keeps sharing acute preventive steps against nCorona Virus on all their social platforms and also advising globally not to panic without a reason.
PR is therefore very much important in the healthcare industry because active communication might save a life daily with the support of one healthcare professional or organization at least. In the meantime, we strongly hope that we will defeat this pandemic together and rebuild our world once again.