Patient advocacy is a part of public relations that has always held a special place in my heart. It’s easy for us in the healthcare industry to get so caught up in our day-to-day to-do lists that we forget the reason (namely who) we are actually working for. Patient advocacy is the piece that brings it back home. I’ve been in the industry long enough to have seen a lot of change in how healthcare companies include patients in what they’re doing, and I’m proud to say that we’ve made huge strides and are continuing to advance toward the place where patients are full partners.
The Westwicke Blog is designed to deliver information and insights into the ever-changing world of healthcare communications.
Any company, no matter how diligent, can find itself suddenly thrust into a crisis — a natural disaster, product safety issue, whistleblower claim, or other unforeseen emergency. When an incident occurs, especially one that disrupts operations or threatens the company’s reputation, stakeholders, be they customers, shareholders or partners, will want to immediately know what happened and how they’re affected. Mishandling the crisis can exacerbate the problem and shake public trust, causing long-lasting harm. And in the current era of instantaneous digital and social media communications, if you don’t communicate during an urgent situation, others may get there first and define it for you.
I remember when reporters answered their phones because they were always at their desks, and only the very wealthy had cell phones. I remember sending materials via overnight mail, because that was the way reporters in Washington, D.C. wanted to be pitched. Then came dial-up internet and the common chime: “You’ve got mail.”