GCI Health Rolls Out New ‘Patients at the Center’ Initiative

10/14/2014

New Services and Resources Designed to Ensure Communicators Have the Insights and Tools to Meet the Current Needs of Patients for Better Engagement and Activation

New York, NY – October 14, 2014 – GCI Health, a leading healthcare-focused global public relations agency, today announced the rollout of Patients at the Center, an initiative aimed at uncovering the most innovative, effective ways of putting patients at the forefront of communication strategies within the healthcare industry. The initiative is designed to support the growing needs of the healthcare industry by developing strategies to help patients and their caregivers navigate today’s healthcare environment.
This effort is underscored by the 2014 Healthcare Marketers Trend Report,* which found that while most companies say they are patient-centric, 78 percent of respondents said they are not “walking the talk,” indicating the need for a true change in the healthcare industry.
“We need to continue to focus on how patients want to receive information and expand our emphasis to better understand how they interact and engage with information and stakeholders along their healthcare journey,” said Wendy Lund, CEO, GCI Health. “As patients are accessing and evaluating a wealth of healthcare information in today’s fast-paced, digital world, we must identify the best ways to meet their needs and help them navigate their path. We are working collaboratively with patient advocacy groups and industry to uncover critical insights to ensure we are putting a ‘patient at the center’ perspective into action in all our efforts.”
Insightful Patient Advocacy Roundtable Reveals Critical Essentials
Recently, the first of several planned initiatives was kicked off at the GCI Health headquarters with a roundtable of esteemed patient advocacy groups. The focus of these groups ranged from chronic conditions like diabetes and MS, to rare diseases, to those solely focused on women’s and men’s health.
Critical insights emerged regarding the differences that exist when managing health at all ages and the importance of fostering patient confidence to ensure valuable communication with providers, including:
– Millennials are engaging with health information and their healthcare providers differently than any generation before; therefore, our communication strategies and channels need to be broadened in order to reach this generation;
– Women want information to come to them, customized to their life stage and their unique needs;
– It is time to re-evaluate our assumptions around men’s engagement with their health;
– As the U.S. demographics continue to shift over the coming years, we must focus more on adapting information to reach a culturally diverse audience;
– For patients to live better they need to be empowered with the confidence to talk to their healthcare providers in a productive way;
– There is a critical need to teach people how to access and navigate the healthcare system better; perhaps we have a unique opportunity to create a new generation of health advocates;
– Wellness remains a lifestyle principle that engages the masses and is not going away.
On the heels of the Patients at the Center Advocacy Roundtable, other initiatives are already underway. An industry roundtable is set to take place this fall with key pharmaceutical and biotech companies to discuss better ways to integrate the patient perspective into communication strategies and ensure companies are utilizing the latest approach in patient engagement. GCI Health is also exploring strategic partnerships with prestigious online health communities and top-tier consumer magazines to expand knowledge and content, as well as identify opportunities to jointly develop patient education tools and resources. The ultimate goal is to ensure the healthcare industry is helping patients locate the right resources to take control of their health and treatment, and to guide patients on how to discuss optimal solutions with their healthcare providers.
About GCI Health
GCI Health is a forward-thinking healthcare public relations agency powered by best-in-the-business professionals and is the only WPP company that specializes in healthcare public relations. With communication professionals throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, our client roster spans broadly across all healthcare sectors. GCI Health offers clients an accessible senior level leadership team, A-to-Z healthcare experience, a commitment to beating client expectations, and an obsession with anticipating the challenges of an increasingly complex and transforming healthcare communications environment. With insider’s knowledge of health media, high science, digital health strategy, consumer activation, crisis management, reputation building, patient advocacy and health education, GCI Health’s focus on delivering results is unrelenting. The agency has been recognized as one of the top five healthcare PR firms in the world by the Holmes Report in 2013 and 2014.
For more information, please contact Kim Sammons, SVP, Patient Initiatives and Advocacy at GCI Health, kim.sammons@gcihealth.com, 404-260-3555.
*Ogilvy CommonHealth: Healthcare Marketers Trend Report, 2014.
PR Week: GCI Health Looks for Ways to Put Patients Front and Center

GCI Health forged a partnership with Hearst women’s title Redbook and online health information source HealthyWomen.org. The HealthiHER Project is an attempt to better understand the health habits of women 30-60 years of age. As a first step in the project, there will be a survey of women in that demographic, addressing their healthcare decisions and needs. The goal of the research is to give these women the information and inspiration they need to make healthier choices. “We’re excited to be working with Redbook and HealthyWomen to uncover some key insights that will help us better communicate with this important population,” said GCI Health CEO Wendy Lund.


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