What’s the Role of Communications in Health? It’s Vital.

July 17, 2018

Having worked in the health sector for nearly a quarter of a century and planning to be in for the next quarter-century, if the industry will have me, I never stop seeing how unique and endlessly fascinating the healthcare space is, and how we can make a difference with the work that we do. I can’t think of another industry where communications plays a more meaningful role in the lives of patients and businesses. It’s my “why” – the reason I come to work each day.

That’s one reason I was thrilled to step into the role of Industry Managing Director for Health, and work with colleagues across geographies to rethink the role of communications for our health clients, knowing it is vital to health outcomes and to business outcomes. It’s vital to helping healthcare brands become healthier themselves.

At Ketchum, we see communications as part of the cure: the connection between a business and the vitality of its brand. Effective communications drives business objectives, provides the information patients seek along their journey, impacts important health choices, supports more robust conversations in the physician’s office, and informs prescribing preferences and reimbursement decisions.

Our health clients share a mission: to improve health outcomes. We share that mission too.

I could not be more energized by the work my colleagues and I have undertaken to launch our Vital Health suite of services. Unveiled today, these services are designed to help companies in the health sector find and address the root causes of complex challenges and then imagine bold communications solutions that provide the best of health outcomes and business outcomes at the same time.


We’ve brought the best of Ketchum – including Ketchum Influencer Marketing, Ketchum 50+ and StoryWorks.health – and tailored them specifically for this industry, leveraging our communications consultancy model that gives our clients unencumbered access to the depth of our talent in the health industry and communications specialty areas.

And we’re introducing a new brand health research tool unlike anything else in the industry.

Using Predictive Analytics to Improve Brand Health 

The Vital Diagnostic is a new measurement tool that uses advanced predictive analytics to tell clients what to do differently to increase their brand health and all the vital health outcomes it drives.

It draws on the expertise of Ketchum Health’s industry experts, Ketchum Analytics and Ketchum’s change management consultancy Daggerwing Group, evaluating nine dimensions to determine a brand’s Vital Health Score: transparency, innovation, compliance, integration, social responsibility, patient-centricity, employer of choice, quality and industry leadership. Based on the Vital Health Score, Ketchum’s health experts provide a roadmap to optimize the company’s or brand’s communications strategies and give them what we call a vital advantage.

Gaining a data smart 360-degree view of a company’s brand health will help keep them ahead of the constantly shifting industry landscape and a way to help them deliver both health and business outcomes—illuminated by their unique strengths, challenges, and opportunities. Some recent examples of the Vital Diagnostic in action:

  • We partnered with a leading national hospital to create a roadmap to improving the hospital’s brand health among its target audiences, significantly increasing brand awareness and increasing patient volume by approximately 7 percent overall.
  • We worked with a global pharmaceutical company to uncover six key attributes that most contributed to the company’s Vital Health score – as well as three must-haves necessary for category leadership – allowing the company to develop a consistent global narrative to strengthen its brand health.

If you’d like to learn more about our Vital Health suite of services or the Vital Diagnostic – or just talk about any communications challenges your healthcare company is experiencing, I’d love to talk.