PN specialty group brings healthcare, tech together

CHICAGO: The Porter Novelli Convergence Group is launching a new specialty practice in its Chicago office that brings together healthcare and technology PR pros into one interdisciplinary group.

CHICAGO: The Porter Novelli Convergence Group is launching a new specialty practice in its Chicago office that brings together healthcare and technology PR pros into one interdisciplinary group.

CHICAGO: The Porter Novelli Convergence Group is launching a new specialty practice in its Chicago office that brings together healthcare and technology PR pros into one interdisciplinary group.

The new practice, dubbed 'healthcare convergence,' will go after PR business from traditional healthcare service and product providers that are increasingly becoming involved in the electronic economy. It also will target technology companies with healthcare-related products and services to sell.

Porter Novelli expects that experience gained with the new operation in Chicago will allow it to roll out the health tech group to other Porter Novelli offices across the country. 'It's an opportunity that the agency has identified on a national basis,' said Jim Heininger, GM of the Chicago office and head of the new team.

Other senior people in the new group are John Laing, SVP and healthcare practice leader in Chicago, and Erica Swerdlow, a group EVP who earlier this year sold her Chicago tech PR shop to Porter Novelli.

Buying Swerdlow's firm gave Porter Novelli a major presence in the burgeoning Chicago tech PR scene and PN has continued expanding its Chicago tech practice. Heininger estimated that PN tech PR income in Chicago will reach dollars 4.2 million this year compared with dollars 2.9 million last year. PN's Chicago office PR income this year should reach dollars 11 million compared with about dollars 5.5 million last year, he added.

The new healthcare convergence group is being positioned at 'the intersection of technology and healthcare,' Heininger said. It will work with healthcare clients on technology issues ranging from back room use of technology to patient interaction, he said.

The Chicago market also has been a hotbed of growth for healthcare PR, making it a natural market in which to try out a new practice that crosses those industry lines.



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