It’s our anniversary this month – and what a Difference four years makes. Clients and colleagues sometimes ask me if, when we launched in 2017, we had some sort of foreknowledge about the way the world was going to be turned upside down last year.
But we can’t claim supernatural powers, only that the opportunity and latent demand for a virtual, agile Collective of talented healthcare communications practitioners were there in even those simpler and more conventional times. The pandemic has only accelerated digital, workstyle, employment and collaboration trends that were emerging long before in our healthcare industry.
Today, demand for our team’s strategic and delivery skills has never been stronger. More and more clients are discovering value and differentiation from our custom-built, project-led teams of proven specialists. The speed and effectiveness of our ability to form, reform and respond rapidly to meet clients’ fast-changing needs are perfectly attuned to these tumultuous times.
We’ve seen four healthcare communications trends emerging strongly in the past twelve months:
1. Health literacy
Clear and accessible patient communication is key to effective engagement, education, treatment and support. There’s more demand than ever before for expert writers, designers and content developers to help people understand their own health and medication better and to help increase dented trust in pharma and service providers while meeting regulatory requirements.
2. Internal communications
Rapidly transforming workstyles and changes in the external environment while most people are working remotely, make internal comms more critical than ever. We’re supporting many clients to keep vital information flowing and to embed agile and virtual work cultures. Specialist internal comms skills – along with writing, design, digital, video production and animation skills – are in high demand.
3. Digital differentiation
With so much activity now taking place virtually, it’s a challenge to differentiate and create distinctive, effective and valued stakeholder engagement. Our digital communications experts are busy advising and supporting clients to use a range of innovative channels, platforms and media, including optimisation of hybrid events.
4. Community and collaboration
The pandemic has created a strong sense of community, both locally and globally. Everyone’s had to adapt to collaborate with people beyond the bounds of the office. That’s the way we’ve always worked – our established virtual collective model gives our clients confidence because we have processes and best practice in place to enable highly effective collaborative virtual working.
The beauty of our model is that we can continuously optimise our resources and skills to meet these demands and give our clients the specialist or supplementary support they need.
We’ll be sharing more experience of tactics and approaches to handle the change and workload that these trends create for healthcare organisations. Look out for our expert blogs over the summer.
Are these the key issues for your organisation right now? If we can help you meet these – or any other – pressing healthcare communications challenges, we’d love to talk to you.
Angie Wiles, Founder of The Difference Collective, has worked in healthcare communications for over 30 years, ultimately building one of the most successful UK healthcare consultancies. Throughout her career, she has constantly looked to do things differently and make a difference to the healthcare communications industry.