​Here are some interesting takeaways from this year's New England Society of Healthcare Communicators#NESHCo2013–that really put an exclamation point on how we communicators need to be thinking and acting on behalf of our clients in the new world of healthcare.

  1. Consumers are in charge: It's no longer enough to simply put out information and expect that consumers will find it. For example, the website of an organization may be the last place they go for information. As one presenter characterized it, consumers have “reverse-engineered” B2C marketing so that now it's “C2B”.
  2. Go where the consumer is: You have to find out who your audience is and where they are and hit them with content at the right place and right time. In other words, during the “consumer buying cycle”.
  3. Baby boomers are still going to drive the market: they're demanding, they're greying and they're connected. You ignore them at your peril.
  4. Data, data, data: The more the better. Use it to identify your areas of growth and focus on those. You can't try to be everything for everyone. If you have the right research you can generate rich insights into your customers' needs, wants and expectations.
  5. Engage! It's not enough to put out content and think you've done your job. Who is reading or seeing it? Are the right audiences seeing it? To really have an impact on social media, you have to seek out conversations and engage with your audience.

It's an exciting time in healthcare communications and the expanding reach and influence of social media gives organizations and institutions many more channels to work with. That's both the challenge and the opportunity. Thanks to Candace Quinn, Karen Corrigan and Dean Browell for their presentations. By Michal Regunberg, SVP at Solomon McCown & Company