Addressing the challenges in Healthcare Communications: Sushmita Bandopadhyay
Sushmita Bandopadhyay, Communications Leader, Becton Dickinson India/South Asia, says today, healthcare is not about selling a product, but influencing lives
The last few years have redefined healthcare in India. Today, we are home to the world’s largest healthcare scheme with accessibility and affordability becoming the vision for the future. In a dynamic environment where policies are emerging from the cobwebs of time, regulations are seeing a dramatic shift, businesses are aligning with causes and the role of healthcare communication has taken centre stage. Today, healthcare is not about selling a product, but influencing lives. Hence, building trust with consumers becomes imperative, and understandably, takes time. While a strong communications framework is more critical than ever before, healthcare communications come with its own set of challenges.
Another important aspect of healthcare communications is the customisation of messages. While communications strategies are being created, there is no “one size fits all” approach. There is a need to engage with the audience across multiple demographics, tailoring the messages to address their demands. This is why communicators need to be cognizant. Messages must throw light on local concerns and perceptions.
While we are advancing into a future where healthcare is at the front and centre of our conversations, the one missing element is “humanizing healthcare communications”. There is a need to look at the relationship between patients and service providers through the lens of compassion. There is a need for an emotion-driven approach to make patients understand medical concepts and the way they can positively transform lives.
Innovative solutions are advancing medical research and enhancing the diagnosis. Medication management is improving patient outcomes and novel innovations help in managing challenging diseases. From the moment an innovation starts in a laboratory to the point where it becomes a medical breakthrough, is a journey of scientific advancement that must be decoded for consumers to understand the technology’s impact on their lives. Healthcare communicators make this happen.
The dynamics of the communications industry have given way to multiple channels of disseminating information. While this helps in spreading awareness, sometimes the key messages get completely distorted without the real story reaching people. Healthcare communicators sift through the content that is shared across platforms and take measures to ensure that people are not misled. If we, as healthcare communicators, truly want the patients to understand the excellence in care; communications will have to be driven through the right channels, using an integrated approach.
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