Corporate narratives at work: Healthcare orgs need stronger tech storylines

by | Sep 26, 2017 | Public Relations

From artificial intelligence to virtual reality to telehealth, emerging technologies are changing the face of modern healthcare. In order for healthcare organizations to stay competitive and attract patients, it’s critical that they incorporate their use of technology into PR and marketing efforts, asserts new research from PR, social media and marketing firm Affect.

However, many marketers struggle to effectively communicate how their organization is implementing innovative new tech, or have been hesitant to participate in the conversation about technology’s impact on healthcare because the topic is still so new.

Several recent surveys of healthcare providers show that respondents are using a variety of mobile tools to engage patients, including app-enabled patient portals, telehealth services and text communications, and nearly 52 percent of hospitals surveyed currently use three or more connected health technologies.

“As a first step, marketers need to start having conversations with their physicians, CTOs, CIOs and other influencers to better understand how their organization is leveraging emerging technology, and what their perspective is on the topic,” said Melissa Baratta, senior vice president and healthcare practice lead at Affect, in a news release.

“We’ve worked with brands that thought they weren’t doing anything unique, or couldn’t provide a meaningful point of view on the subject—but once they start asking those questions, it often turns out they have a lot to say,” she added. “Realistically, you don’t have to be making multi-billion dollar investments here in order to have a voice; being able to talk about 2-3 interesting use cases, or how tech is impacting your target audience or the industry, can make a big difference for your brand.”

Now is the time to jump into the discussion and claim share of voice. Affect provides 4 tips for healthcare organizations to incorporate tech stories into their PR and marketing programs:

Be a resource

Creating tips-based campaigns around themes that are creating a lot of buzz—such as patient data security or AI—can position your organization as a trusted resource. The insights can be presented as articles, blog posts or even social media snippets, including videos and Facebook Live posts, where the spokesperson can give expert guidance. Having executive spokespeople discuss topics that relate to industry trends can resonate from a patient, B2B and media perspective.

Ask and gather data

Surveys are a very effective way to gather data and build a compelling story, and are an especially useful tactic for B2B healthcare brands. For example, surveying physicians about the top challenges they’re experiencing with regard to data overload, followed by questions about whether they’re currently exploring AI and machine learning technologies to overcome those challenges (assuming you’re not an AI vendor), could make for a compelling storyline. Having that kind of data can enable you to create a report, develop a media campaign, and host a webinar, among other PR and marketing initiatives.

Share your opinions

Writing bylines or op-eds position your leaders as experts and innovators, and enable your organization to share what it thinks about tech trends rather than what it is doing. Can your CEO or Chief Medical Officer offer a perspective on where the industry is headed and how emerging technologies such as AI or machine learning will impact drug research or healthcare delivery? Can your physicians comment on patient needs, and how technologies such as better EMR systems can support them? These insights can be incredibly powerful. If you’re wondering where to start, ask your experts about what they’re seeing on the ground, or for a unique perspective on what’s being talked about in the news.

Predict the future

Predictions are a great way to showcase thought leadership, and again, don’t require a laundry list of your organization’s own emerging tech accomplishments. Consider issuing a predictions press release toward the end of the year, highlighting your organization’s perspective on the top ways emerging technologies will impact the industry and patients in the coming year. You can also put out a year-in-review report, or state of the industry report at the beginning of the year, highlighting important trends, sharing executive insights and some proprietary or third party supporting data and discussing whether or not those trends will likely continue.

“You don’t always have to promote what you’re doing from a tech perspective with a press release or big campaign,” said Baratta. “Organizations sometimes get hung up thinking about how to compete with the biggest healthcare companies in the country on the tech stage. The thing is, you don’t have to. Simply having a perspective on emerging tech is okay. The most important thing is getting out there and having a voice.”

As tech continues to drive conversations in the healthcare space, the organizations that have a compelling tech narrative will achieve stronger brand awareness and a competitive edge. Check out this infographic from HIMSS to see more about how healthcare orgs are using tech:

Corporate narratives at work: Healthcare orgs need stronger tech storylines

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter