Essentially, healthcare communications is about how we get health messages across to an audience.
Or, as the Healthcare Communications Association puts it, ‘healthcare communications professionals are specialists in delivering health related messages, in many different ways, to a wide range of people.’ The message could be a complicated paper about cutting edge CAR-T therapy for oncologists or a public health message about hand washing and social distancing.
There are lots of ways we can do it, including events, social and mainstream media, medical publications, websites or whizzy digital stuff like apps, bots and AI.
But no matter the subject or the audience, to be effective, communication has to be relevant. So, understanding your audience and their hopes and fears is essential.
Market research surveys and focus groups can be great sources of information, but what they tend to miss are the nuances and insights that come through deeper engagement.
In this post, I’ll talk about healthcare communications means to us at Dovetail and how that deeper customer engagement can help you develop your marketing strategy.
Why communication matters
Communication is at the very heart of who we are as human beings. It’s how we exchange information.
Most healthcare communications aim to influence behaviour in some way, so we need to remember that our messages don’t land in a vacuum – our listeners and readers are influenced by their environment, beliefs and experiences. As humans, we pay attention to messages that are relevant to us, and come from people we trust.
Information for patients needs to be clear and considered enough for the right message to get through in spite of challenges like health literacy, cultural factors and language barriers. Bad patient communication can lead to poorer outcomes and higher costs.
So what does effective healthcare communications look like?
Ultimately, effective communication is a two-way process – and it starts with listening. If we’re not listening to healthcare professionals and patients, we can’t understand their problems. And if we don’t understand their problems, we often end up solving the wrong ones.
That means that good communications are essential at every stage of the product life cycle. Its insights inform everything from trials, to market access, strategic planning and support service development.
The best communications work succeeds because it fulfils not just company and brand objectives, but hits the sweet spot where it also meets the needs of healthcare professionals and patients too.
A great place to start is to find out as much as you can about the problems in your disease area. What are the pinch points in the patient pathway? What could be improved on the ground? How does your brand contribute to improving patient outcomes or experience along the whole treatment pathway?
And if you don’t know the answers, you need to start engaging with your stakeholders in order to find out.
How Dovetail can help
At Dovetail, we bring people together to solve healthcare problems. Our approach delivers strategic insights that guide commercial thinking and shape the development of robust initiatives to support healthcare professionals and patients.
We believe that when the pharmaceutical industry collaborates with healthcare professionals and patients, everyone wins. Working together, our clients and their external stakeholders share experience, resources and skills. These connections create deep strategic insights for companies, and build trust. Insights inform communications and help make them relevant. Being trusted means the message is more likely to be heard.
And with patients at the heart of everything we do, everybody involved can feel proud of what we achieve together.
To find out how the Dovetail approach can work for you, please get in touch.