2 Dec 2020

MedTech Wednesday: the future of health technology PR, post-COVID

Healthcare and the latest developments in health technology have never been higher on the public agenda, following the last seven months of COVID-19 related lockdowns, curfews and regular high-profile TV briefings on public health from senior officials and scientists.

Pretty much anybody you speak to will have an opinion on the many, often conflicting, healthcare and health technology issues surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Which means that effective communication about healthcare and new developments in health technologies is more vital than ever before.

From contact-tracing to mental health and wellbeing mobile apps, through to the latest developments in tele-medicine, e-health and new wearable health technologies for monitoring or preventative purposes, technology is transforming and improving healthcare.

The focus on digital transformation across the NHS and private healthcare provision, and the rapid pace of innovation in healthcare technologies incorporating artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, fitness wearables, wellness apps, biometrics, remote diagnostics and more means that demand for reliable, trustworthy and engaging news and content on health tech is high.


Cutting through the health tech noise

It is no longer good enough to tell your potential clients that you are ‘passionate’ about health tech, because – as the cliché goes –  in these ‘unprecedented times’ (when we all have our own personal favourite virologists!) almost everybody is passionate and holds strong opinions about healthcare provision and new advances in health tech.

This means that PRs in the sector need to have a deep understanding of the market and the media opportunities for health tech entrepreneurs, brands, organisations and institutions to genuinely ‘cut through’ the noise, and to win clients the coverage, thought leadership and business opportunities that their products, services and innovations deserve.

As the number of specialist health tech media outlets, comms channels and stakeholders for health tech proliferate, clients and agencies alike need to have a laser-sharp focus on what their objectives are when developing their PR and comms strategies.

And they need to develop content that delivers. Content that is not only creative, engaging and informative, but content that is also grounded in science, approved by legitimate healthcare experts and backed up by effective facts, figures and appropriate market research.

PRs need to be more aware than ever that, whoever they are targeting with their client’s health tech content and messaging, be it potential investors, market analysts, healthcare journalists, editors and others, those people are even more likely to be suffering from ‘health tech messaging fatigue’.

In any sector where innovation is this fierce (and, let’s be clear, bogus news and scientific claims are rife) comms need to work harder than ever to not only grab an audience’s attention, but also to maintain that engagement and to make highly complex arguments to explain the value of new health tech innovations quickly and succinctly.

Liberal use of tech buzzwords no longer cut it. It’s no longer feasible to simply state that your client’s product or service is “AI-powered” or “deploys cutting-edge robotics”, without backing this up with factually-correct and scientifically-proven correct content that creatively and engagingly explains how and why and what the real-world value is in doing these things.

Otherwise, the audiences you need to communicate with are just going to see through this style of approach for what it is. And you’ve lost them at the first health tech PR hurdle.

(This post first appeared on the PRCA blog here).