In today's digital space, where misinformation and fake news is easily available, accessible and on the rise, the importance of having effective communication in the Healthcare and Pharma industry has also risen.
Despite the wealth of information and expertise healthcare professionals possess the ability to communicate with patients effectively is still laid back. Many times, important health communication gets ignored because of the inefficient, intricate messaging and verbiage of the health industry.
Health communication is the practice of communicating healthcare information and implementing best practices to improve patient health outcomes that help enrich personal & community behaviours, thereby improving public health practices. And to create a health communication that serves the purpose it is important to have an understanding of the target audience, important health concepts & how to translate them into easily understandable language.
In a podcast episode with Healthcare Today by The Vibes on "Why does healthcare need to communicate more effectively?" Priyanka Bajpai, senior partner, South East Asia, SPAG/Finn Partners - a global healthcare communication agency, accentuates the need & importance of choosing the right change-makers or communicators to provide healthcare literacy while being mindful of cultural factors and language barriers. Negative patient outcomes, healthcare costs and ineffective communication affect and impair the quality of health care. To establish patient centricity and fortify the quality of health care, the core focus of effective communication has to rely on using the right messaging that can bridge the awareness & knowledge gaps between the HCP and the audience. Priyanka refers to a major campaign and advocacy done by SPAG on "The burden of heart failure in the Southeast Asia Region" as an example of effective communication that helped mitigate the gaps that were there between the awareness of the problem statement, symptoms and the treatment options available which in turn led to increased adoption rates of efficient treatment possibilities and better patient outcomes.
Talking about the evolving trends in the healthcare communication industry, Priyanka Bajpai stated that the pandemic has been a turning point for the industry. One trend noticed during the pandemic was how the patients managed to navigate the digital platforms and stay connected to their HCPs to ensure that their treatment journey is not impacted. Healthcare communicators have been working with various stakeholders such as pharma companies, patient advocacy groups and other healthcare entities to ensure that the right message is passed on to the public. The organisations will have to look for newer and more creative ways to craft specific messages for varied target audiences. These messages should provide information in the format that is most suited for the specified target audience. As healthcare communicators, it is our responsibility to ensure that complicated scientific information reaches the audience in a digestible yet compelling manner to bring out a paradigm shift in healthcare delivery.
Speaking about the prevailing challenges in the healthcare ecosystem, Priyanka Bajpai highlighted that conversations around several crucial topics are still taboo, which causes knowledge and treatment gaps. The other challenge she addresses is the need to have more communicators and more HCPs because the world just has about 50 million, healthcare professionals who in no way can alone take care of the 8 billion people without engaging them, informing them, and communicating with them.
As healthcare communicators, our role is to act as a bridge between the public and healthcare providers to offer a safe space for open communication.
In the evolving role of communication in healthcare delivery, building trust with all the stakeholders is an important aspect of developing seamless and patient-centric communication strategies.
Priyanka Bajpai, Senior Partner, Southeast Asia, SPAG/FINN PARTNERS in conversation with Manvir Victor, Healthcare Today - why does healthcare need to communicate more effectively?