PR View by Laura Perry

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For healthcare PR professionals, our ongoing journey of change through the healthcare industry involves technology and leadership in ways that were never thought of a few short years ago. Today, we are in a whole new strategic communications world brought on by the major changes in healthcare itself (new drugs, medical tests and delivery systems are allowing people to live longer, quality lives), the magnitude of the issues affecting all aspects of the field (healthcare reform is all about access for all and who pays) and the sweeping consequences of policy decisions at all levels.

 Medical advances such as electronic records, data mining and e-prescribing  are just a few of the complicated subjects that healthcare communicators need to be successfully explaining to help consumers understand the value to their care. And with every business decision scrutinized and dissected in the media, the use of new technology and mediums can save or sink the organizational ship.

That is the convergence of healthcare and PR. The motto of the largest multi-disciplined healthcare PR organization, the PRSA Health Academy, is “where healthcare and public relations intersect.” We believe that effective strategy goes beyond how well marketing and PR are integrated. It goes to communications professionals leading thoughtful discussion at the leadership table to have our businesses truly understand the ramification on reputation to the bottom line.

As healthcare PR professionals, we are excited about the challenges before us. Together with our marketing colleagues, we will ensure that our company’s messages continue to be thoughtful, integrated and impactful.

Laura Perry is director of communications for HealthNet of California and 2007 chair of the Public Relations Society of America’s Health Academy, whose spring conference was held May 3-5 in Washington

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