3 keys to keeping up with health care advances

The complexities and pace of the industry can be dizzying, but PR pros and marketers must assimilate complex topics and convey crucial information to the public. Here’s how.

The health care industry slows down for no one.

Frequent medical breakthroughs and regulatory changes are at every turn, and someone must be a few steps ahead to announce the news to the world. That someone is the health care PR pro.

When handling such complex information, you should follow a few guidelines to streamline the process. As a liaison between medical professionals and the public, the PR expert must understand the information at hand and communicate it clearly to the target market. There’s a lot of legwork that must be completed prior to sharing your client’s message.

With the help of a few simple tips, this responsibility becomes easier:

1. Stay in the know.

Working with health care clients is like running a relay race. As soon as medical discoveries are made, the PR pro must be ready to grab the baton and run (or in this case, receive the information and make it known). There’s no room for lag time, so an expert must be prepared and on his toes every minute.

The most effective way to prepare for a breakthrough is to see it coming. The best PR pros constantly monitor industry news so they can predict potential developments based on current trends.

An expert whose client specializes in degenerative neurological disorders will be ready with a phone in hand if a breakthrough medication for Alzheimer’s disease develops. How? By keeping track of recent clinical trials and developing a ready knowledge of the industry’s advancements.

One simple way to stay on top of medical news is to regularly search keywords online. If your client practices neuromedicine, track a list of keywords such as “degenerative,” “neurology” and “gene silencing.”

2. Ask questions.

Before sharing a message with the public, the PR expert needs a keen knowledge of the subject being communicated. News monitoring is an effective approach, but an expert’s point of view can enhance your understanding.

Health care professionals are at the forefront of new discoveries and can offer valuable insight into scientific findings. For a more in-depth understanding of a topic, reach out to your client for his perspective. To take the process one step further, talk to patients and caregivers about their experiences.

It’s also important to research outside regular news monitoring. Reading scholarly articles and clinical trial reports can be time-consuming, but the wealth of information they offer can set you apart from the competition.

3. Simplify, simplify, simplify.

The goal of the health care PR pro is to build a brand and communicate the client’s message effectively. To reach the target audience, an expert must carefully tailor his message to the listener.

Once you have developed your understanding of a topic, it’s your job to convey that information to your client’s audience. Because only 12 percent of Americans have a proficient level of health literacy, most people will not understand scientific words and phrases, so use layman’s terms. Simplify the message based on a common level of understanding. Using visual aids can help your audience grasp a concept.

By following these steps, PR pros can keep up with the health care industry, while helping their clients do the same.

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