Drawing on proprietary research from McCann Truth Central as well as their own research in more than 20 countries, MRM for Health’s new study, “The Truth About Our Relationships with Health” explores how our relationships with health are evolving and what brands can do about it. A recent podcast with MM+M took a look at some of the survey’s findings. Participants included:

Peter Rooney, EVP, managing director and global health practice, MRM for Health
Rob Rothschild, SVP and global strategy lead, MRM for Health
Moderator: Marc Iskowitz, editor at large, MM+M


“COVID has had a huge impact on trust in health care,” noted Rooney. The study found “that across different countries trust decreased during the pandemic — not only with patients, but with physicians, nurses, and healthcare providers.”

Burnout, as Rooney mentioned, only exacerbated the lack of trust, “and when we have burnout and lack of trust from the people we rely on most, it is only a matter of time until we see an impact on quality of care, on healthcare professionals leaving the practice and ultimately resulting in a decrease in health outcomes.”

On the other side of things, Rooney pointed out, is “the public. We’re paying more attention to our own health and are turning to possibly less credible sources.” This shift has “changed from listening to our doctor’s advice, to potentially less credible resources on the internet and in our shared communities.” Our lack of trust in the healthcare system, he noted, “is separating us from those best equipped to address our health.”


One of the global social listening truths uncovered in the study, as was Rothschild explained, was that “we have never felt more vulnerable, collectively and individually.” The reasons are that “for the first time in modern history, we’ve all experienced a common human social economic crisis. And it’s been very, very difficult for to deal with.”

Additionally, Rothschild added, “you need to look at that rising level of stress that has caused both mental and physical symptoms as having accelerated in the last two years, but understand that they have been a long time coming.”

Many have prophesized, Rothschild said, that “the next pandemic will be mental health.” He cited a statistic that “Seven in 10 people in the world say they are struggling with some level of depression.” At MRM for Health, he explained, “we’re working with our clients to create new approaches to help people open up about this.” The goal is to curtail isolation, “As we become depressed, as we become anxious, we withdraw from our friends, family and social networks.”


Brands can be instrumental in “bridging the fraying relationship with health,” Rooney and Rothschild both agreed. What it will take “for us to reach aspirations of greater wellness,” Rooney said, could be helped by “shifting from fee for service to value-based care.” That shift, “is a precursor to realizing the aspirations of a preventive type of model.”

Rothschild added, “There’s no kind of ROI on health itself.” Even as we see “more access to care” with support from “data and technology,” it’s “not going to help someone who needs the continuity of care required for a chronic condition, or even to be able to interpret multiple symptoms” that potentially “point to something more acute.”

“Especially in the U.S.” added Rooney, “our incentivization and compensation models for physicians are based on the volume of services they provide; not the value of care.” In the end, “there’s no actual benchmarking.”

What that means for brands, which, Rothschild noted, “physicians and patients believe have more power to change the world than governments or institutions,” is a focus on “helping improve health and wellbeing.” And “brands” as Rothschild noted, is a term he employs “because we want all of our clients to put themselves forward in order to understand that there are there are so many dimensions to being a brand that can help them establish relationships with their customer.”


For Rooney, brands “need to use technology and data as force multipliers to create more consistent relationships centered around the continuity of care.” Citing the promise around EHR systems, wearables and other devices, “the potential of technology and health data to connect patients and providers in new ways is tremendous.”

But with all that, he noted, “there is still also a lot of fragmentation around health and wellness versus healthcare.” As healthcare becomes “more transactional, we’re losing a bit of the humanity and continuity of care.”

To help combat that, “bands must understand the experience that’s necessary to restore the relationships between patients, their doctor, their family and their community,” said Rothschild in closing. “It’s not just what we can do” but “it’s a responsibility.”