Makovsky Health is recently back from the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, and there were certainly emerging therapeutic themes for pipeline research: oncology, neuroscience and immunology were this year’s hot buttons.

How will this impact us as healthcare communications professionals?  Prognosticators abound, but there are common threads here as well.  Here is how we are calling it for 2018:

  1. Improve patient portals.  Every potential patient wants a user-friendly experience.  And every communicator wants to provide it.  Take the time and make the effort to ask, listen to and learn how patients want to engage.  Website ReferralMD reports that patients are glad to help you help them.
  2. Make the most of healthcare M&A activity.  Forget about pharma and biotech marriages.  New verticals are emerging, with insurers breaking into the pharmacy business and mega-tech giants Apple, Amazon and Google disrupting the health space.  Plan ahead and consider how to maximize the opportunities these new venues are creating.  What will the pharmacy of the future look like?  And where will it live?  What are the questions we are not yet asking?
  3. Leverage new technologies.  Advances in AI, robotics and Internet voice will accelerate development of more empathic, human-like interfaces.  With AI becoming part of everyday life, being intimately attuned to the behaviors and mindset of different patient populations is essential.  Incorporating patient insight and behavioral theory in our communications will improve interfaces with these technologies.
  4. Think “mobiley.”  Mobile Health will become even more central.  It is startling, though, how many communicators develop desktop apps and think they are done with heavy lifting.  Mobile Health is a different animal and you need to design your communications accordingly.  In the digital world, one size definitely does not fit all.  Web apps are bridging gaps between desktop and mobile devices.  Healthcare companies considering mobile apps should ensure the app can be used on multiple platforms.
  5. Tell your story visually.  Charts, graphs and infographics have always been health communications hallmarks.  Research is telling us that the demand for video content about health topics growing, and represents an opportunity for communicators to engage healthcare professional and patients in creating well-crafted digital visualizations to complete their storytelling.
  6. Bump up online network engagement. According to Managed Healthcare Executive, more than 65 percent of chief marketing officers report that they use social media to drive business and build their digital brand.  The key is understanding which networks will most efficiently engage your stakeholders and achieve your goals.  Start with your desired outcome, then determine the best route to get there.

Getting ahead of the trends and helping companies to translate, simplify, and articulate innovation is critical.  The “Power of Specialized Thinking” has never been more essential.

Lee Davies is Senior Vice President, Director of Client Services of Makovsky’s Health Practice.

thought leadership

Gen Z vs. Millennials: On The Brink of a Gen Z World
Examining the Impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on Healthcare Communications



228 East 45th Street
New York, NY 10017
[email protected]


1101 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 450
Washington, DC 20036
[email protected]