Healthcare PR with a new aim

PR News reported that “Data gathered by the Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that adults with chronic illnesses spend significantly less time on the Internet, which may influence the decision-making of PR professionals in healthcare.”

I think that already, any public relations professional in health care doesn’t just simply target those who are directly ill. They also target their health care providers and other information outlets that may have contact with the sick. Any PR professional knows to target multiple audiences for certain needs. Though now with this study by Pew, PR professionals can now have a better idea as to where they should aim their messages and information to.

The report, according to PR News Online, found:

• “81% of adults reporting no chronic disease go online, compared to 62% of adults reporting one or more chronic diseases.

• Among adults with chronic diseases, the number of diseases they manage has further impact on their online usage; 68% percent of adults reporting one chronic disease go online, compared to only 52% of adults reporting two or more chronic diseases.

• 61% percent of healthy adults use home broadband Internet access, compared to 45% of adults with one or more chronic diseases and 37% of adults with two or more chronic diseases. PRN”

As you can see a much smaller percentage of adults with chronic diseases are online compared to an adult without any chronic disease(s). This indicates that one working in PR whose goal is to reach these people would have to explore alternative avenues than the Internet, or perhaps target other audiences if they must go online. After all, we’re hearing consistent messages that everything and everyone is moving online, that it’s the place to be. Well in keeping up with that idea, perhaps a study should be done to find just how many health care workers who deal directly with these chronically ill are going online themselves.

Most people listen to what their doctor(s) have to say. That is why we pay them so much money–we trust them. They are the best way to disseminate important medical information to a person, because many trust their doctors implicitly. So to keep up with a world going online, it would be best to target these doctors if you’re really trying to reach the chronically ill. They will then pass the word to their patients, and then your message is reaching the right ears.

Who else do you think would be a prime target online if you’re trying to reach chronically ill individuals?

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2 Responses to Healthcare PR with a new aim

  1. dsmith says:

    Studies such as these offering insight into message reception must be so valuable for pr professionals. I could not agree more with your opinion about having to incorporate all family members and relatives when creating a campaign on behalf of a healthcare related client. Working for Human Tribe Project showed me how many people near and far mobilize to support a friend or even acquaintance in need. When someone is sick with a disease like cancer, it truly does affect an entire family which means relatives cannot be overlooked for target audiences in a campaign.

    Who knows, this information may even be useful for Radial Relations!

    • cnaughton says:

      Thanks dsmith and aguido because this info is definitely helpful for us. This study really brings all the aspects of message reception in the health care industry together very well. Like you both discussed, even though the patients are the primary stakeholders and targets in these situations, there are so many more people involved like family, friends and doctors who are just as crucial to the communication process.

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