For the health care industry, which includes biopharma and drug companies as well as other providers, good, strategic health care PR has long been a necessity – and today, it’s more interesting than ever to be involved in the process.
Misconceptions abound about the state and condition of health care in America. Health reform, once fully enacted, will change the way the medical field does business. The needs of the aging boomer population will test the strength of public and private health care systems. For those reasons and others, establishing a constructive dialogue with key publics these days is especially challenging for hospitals, doctors, pharmaceutical companies and others whose life work is helping people heal. And dialogue with these groups is a specialty of those of health care PR providers…
At the same time, anecdotal evidence suggests that health care PR is a field that’s growing in numbers and sophistication in its practice.
The challenges of the past few years have trained a generation of health care PR practitioners. Many have had to learn to deal quickly and decisively with rumors, both the flash-in-the-pan type and the ones that persist. Other health care PR pros have learned how to communicate uncomfortable truths about the nature of the medical profession. A good number of health care PR practitioners have certainly learned about all the ways the political process influences medicine, knowledge that may prove to be useful for issues that come up in the future.
The public relations profession includes many highly-qualified firms and individuals passionate about helping health care organizations find their voice, some may be specialists in health care PR. Some people are highly motivated by the work because they feel they are helping organizations that save lives; others choose the specialty because they are fascinated by the science and technology involved in healing the human body; yet others appreciate the job security inherent in certain health-related fields. Whatever is motivating its practitioners, it’s safe to say that health care PR is a growing and exciting field that’s attracting top talent. That’s good news for health care organizations – because, while communicating is getting trickier, more and more PR professionals are excited to take on the challenge.
And the situation is expected to get better. By some estimates, the number of available health care PR jobs is expected to expand by about 30 percent in the near future. Students in undergraduate and graduate communication programs are being encouraged to specialize in health care PR because of all the opportunities that field provides – and because the skills developed through working at, say, a pharmaceutical company can be very useful to other employers as well.