In my first job out of undergrad, I had little direct contact with the doctors at the hospital, and they had little say on how to market the non-profit facility. Contrast that with my almost one year at my current job—an ophthalmology practice with 13 physicians, 9 of whom are owners in the company and 2 of whom comprise my five-person marketing committee. Although I may not be new to health care communication, the transition to a for-profit practice from a non-profit hospital has given me plenty of opportunities to balance the wants and needs of many different stakeholders.
Whether it’s evaluating the effectiveness of a website design company or choosing a new reputation management company to distribute patient reviews, you, as the health communicator will be juggling your opinion along with that of your doctors, administrators, advertising agency, etc.
I came across an article called “12 Things to Know if You’re New to Health Care Marketing” from health care consultancy company Franklin Street. Although specifically geared toward those in hospital roles, the tips are applicable to work across health communication field, and a few resonated with my day-to-day job requirements and bear repeating for others also trying to juggle job responsibilities.
Get used to consensus-building.
I definitely find myself in more meetings, letting the other managers, doctors and owners know about the marketing initiatives in which I’m engaged and volleying for their support in the efforts that I find to be of most value. As one attempts to reach consent it’s also important to…
Set boundaries with decision-makers.
Perhaps you’re much younger that your peers, or have only been in your particular niche of the industry for a short time, but you were hired to do your job because you know health communication. Likewise, your co-workers were hired to perform their duties, so everyone must respect each other’s roles and value their expert opinion in matters that concern their segment of the business. For example…
Doctors may know their patients, but you know consumers.
As health communicators, we are trained to identify target markets and audiences and create communication plans to reach those patients. I look to my doctors to critique the technical definition of a condition of procedure before it’s used in a press release, but the design layout or image selection for a print advertisement falls to the graphic designer, media buyer, or ad agency representative. After all, as a health communicator, you are the brand ambassador, and must remember that the…
Brand is reinforced in all you do.
Hopefully we are able to see the bigger picture. It’s not simply about one print ad or one social media campaign centered on one observation month, but it’s a compilation of all those efforts that creates brand recognition. After all, the goal is top-of-mind awareness of your brand in the mind of your audience.
Whether you are starting a new career in health communication or are a seasoned veteran, the demands on your time will be many, as will be the number of people vying for your attention. By establishing boundaries and valuing the expertise that employees within your company possess, you’ll be able to more effectively execute your health communication plans on behalf of your organization.