GCI Health initiative looks for ways to put patients front and center

GCI Health launched the Patients at the Center initiative this week, with the goal of determining ways to put consumers at the forefront of healthcare communications strategies.

GCI Health launched the Patients at the Center initiative this week, with the goal of determining ways to put consumers at the forefront of healthcare communications strategies.

The firm also wants to develop methods to help both patients and caregivers negotiate the complex healthcare environment and support their expanding needs.

Kim Sammons, GCI Health’s Atlanta market leader, said she and agency CEO Wendy Lund wanted to put into action what they have heard clients say about desiring to know and understand patient needs, as well as their experiences.

Sammons pointed to the 2014 Healthcare Marketers Trend Report from Ogilvy Commonhealth, which found that while companies claim to be patient-centric, "more than 70% of respondents said that wasn’t true."

"Our belief is our clients really do want to put the patient first and have an absolute desire to improve people’s lives," she said.

Sammons added that the firm recently held a roundtable with advocacy groups with the goal of starting a dialogue through informal conversation. The organizations’ focus areas varied from women’s and men’s health to chronic, acute, or rare diseases.

Takeaways from the roundtable included that women want customized information they don’t have to look for but that can be brought to them, said Sammons. She added that communicators need to start the conversation about getting men more involved in their healthcare choices.  

The agency is also planning a roundtable this fall with the pharmaceutical industry. Sammons said it wants to invite pharma companies "in the marketing and communications strategic partnership arena." It is also looking into online and print partnerships to "identify opportunities to jointly develop patient education tools and resources."

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