Integrated Communications and Healthcare: Empowering Specialists to Connect with the Public

Successful integrated communications strategies can help healthcare specialists connect with the public in an impactful way through traditional and digital media.

Propelled into the spotlight by celebrities like Angelina Jolie, genetic testing has become increasingly accessible over the years. New at-home tests have flooded the market, and it is faster and easier than ever to get results. But where do you turn if those results are confusing or concerning?

This is an increasingly common question that the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) has been facing. Genetic counseling plays a number of roles beyond simply producing test results, including:

  • How inherited diseases can affect patients and their families

  • What the results of genetic tests may mean for you and your family

  • How family and medical histories may impact the chance of disease occurring or recurring

  • How to make the most informed healthcare decisions

It is common for primary care providers, oncologists and medical experts to fill this role for many patients, though they may not have the background and expertise a genetic counselor brings. A genetic counselor is able to use their medical and genetic training to support their patents as well as their expertise in counseling to provide emotional support as patients make important healthcare decisions.

NSGC’s genetic experts are eager and willing to work with the public to help them address issues of their health and wellness. To achieve this, NSGC and PCI collaborate on a strategic communications plan that blends media and digital strategy in order to best connect genetic counselors and the public to help guide them through the world of personalized medicine and position them as the go-to experts. Here’s how we’ve done it:

Media relations: New advancements in the genetics industry and stories of major celebrities regularly dominate headlines, providing an opportunity to include NSGC as part of these breaking stories. PCI responds to these announcements by utilizing key messages and having trained media experts and media contacts already in place to make the genetic counselors’ voices and insights heard. This fast-action strategy consistently results in a large number of placements in high-profile national media outlets. It also helps NSGC and its members be seen as thought leaders and the go-to experts for reporters when covering genetics related stories.

Go digital: NSGC’s own digital channels are invaluable, with their website, blogs and podcasts stocked with helpful content. With 80% of Internet users searching online for healthcare information, it is vital that the information is easy for the public to find and to understand. Blog posts and podcasts lend credibility to the experts and humanize them by simplifying complicated genetics information. Ideas for the content come from Google data or common member anecdotes, and utilize SEO best practices. Furthermore, NSGC’s social media channels empower the Society’s members to share content with their audiences, and provide a direct channel to share information with the public, including third-party endorsements from media outlets.

In an ever-changing healthcare landscape, communication is critical to connect healthcare specialists and their audiences with information that is understandable, relevant, and timely. An integrated marketing campaign allows healthcare specialists to connect with their audiences to share life-changing information in a meaningful way.