Is The Healthcare PR Rulebook Applicable During A Pandemic?

By Leigh Anne Varney, Senior Account Supervisor

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only is there no real end in sight – and it is an understatement to say it has forever changed everything from school schedules to work life – but it’s obvious that healthcare has never been more omnipresent. It’s safe to say that from here on out, we’ll refer to almost everything in terms of pre-, during- and post-pandemic.

Flash back to January and the excitement of entering a brand-new decade. 2020! A palindrome with clear 20/20 vision. As would be the case when a new decade begins, media often take a look back at the previous 10 years as well as a look ahead to the next.  In December 2019, Becker’s Hospital Review reviewed the top 12 milestones over the past decade. Among the highlights: the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the opioid epidemic, skyrocketing healthcare costs ($3 trillion annually), the move to digital records and patient portals, and mining EHR (electronic health records) for data. The Advisory Board noted a similar list, also adding the 2014 Ebola outbreak which, in hindsight, should have better prepared us for this global pandemic. That said, no one’s crystal ball could have predicted the havoc wreaked by COVID-19.

Not unsurprisingly, both of these lists capped off with the Theranos debacle. But, it’s also clear that the world is hungry for the promises of revolutionary technology. Technology has paved the way for telemedicine to finally become an integral part of healthcare protocol.

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When you’re in the communications business, threading the news needle is even more acute  (no pun intended). Healthcare public relations – and an informed media reporting regularly on the topic – remains extremely valuable to all as we learn from this experience and move forward with real solutions. As we’ve noted in previous blog posts, sticking with key and impactful PR fundamentals will continue to yield success. In addition, and as never before, data, trust and sensitivity are valued above all else. Healthcare PR that supports factual journalism can provide steady guidance in an unpredictable world. The key to successful Healthcare PR campaigns in this sector remains being able to pivot quickly and communicating 24/7 in a world where news and research changes by the minute.

No matter how many unknowns we’re managing this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered healthcare forever, accelerating the pace and volume of information like never before. Smart, strategic communications that can help make sense of it all is vital.

Interested in learning more about healthcare public relations? Contact LCI and we’ll give you some ideas.

What are your thoughts on how Healthcare PR can further adapt to the rapidly changing industry?

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