The healthcare industry has always been essential to nearly every aspect of our lives. It has also been a highly politicized arena – standing at the center of significant debate and, all too often, warring agendas.

The pandemic has not resolved these tensions. Yet, it has reshaped the way we think about healthcare, the many people and entities that support or provide it, and just how fundamental it is to the foundation and function of our society. This global crisis has shone a spotlight on healthcare as a fundamental human right that not everyone understands or can access equally.

In a recent conversation with PR Week, Kathryn Beiser, VP of global communications at Eli Lilly & Company, and Anne Green, principal and managing director at G&S Business Communications, explored our new realities in healthcare and the need for brands and agencies alike to put the consumer – that is, the patient – first. No matter if you follow a B2B or a B2B2C business model, the ultimate "end-user" of our healthcare system must stand at the center of everything we do.

Beiser underscored the importance of simplicity when communicating to consumers about highly complex health- or science-related topics and of working in close partnership with members of the media to share clear messages and information.

As the pandemic erupted last year, Beiser noted a strong sense of collaboration that built between the media and healthcare organizations – as well as between brands and their agencies – to help communicate appropriately about a still little-understood virus in a fast-changing landscape. Stakeholders of all kinds were eager to learn from health leaders how to combat COVID-19 and understand what might be coming next.

Green spoke of the systematic issues in the health system related to social determinants like race and economic status and the role communicators can play in addressing the significant disparities further laid bare by COVID-19. Beiser added thoughts from the pharmaceutical and drug discovery perspective on the importance of having diverse clinical trials – and building trust with patients and consumers across diverse communities, some of which have a troubled history with the healthcare industry.

These topics and more, including the relationship between health brands and communications agencies, are discussed during the PR Week video podcast. Listen to their conversation first-hand as part of our Reshaping the Future Podcast series with PR Week.

For more data and insights, download the full Reshaping the Future Healthcare report to learn how your organization can adapt to trends shaping the new rolling realities of critical industry sectors like healthcare.


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