Health care transformation principally focused on implementing and encouraging widespread use of electronic medical records (EMR) and digitized personal health records (PHR) is a critical component of the current national debate to stimulate the economy, as well as to lower the cost of, and increase access to, health care.

Potential consumers of PHR and EMR technologies and services are necessarily cautious of making substantial long-term investments while this conversation is under way, especially during considering the macro economic turbulence.  Accordingly, health care information technology and services (HIT) providers must be seen as relevant to, and thought leaders of, this conversation to ease consumer concerns.

HIT vendors’ public affairs strategies should be crafted so as to work seamlessly with their overall public relations strategies in order to build and communicate their respective places in revitalizing the U.S. health care infrastructure.  At its core, a strong, effective public affairs strategy should:

  • Succinctly inform influencers of public policy, including Congress (including staffs and committees), think tanks, constituent groups and representatives of a vendor’s technologies and services

  • Closely monitor pending legislation and regulation in order to have timely access to key information regarding policy trends and actions

  • Aggressively seek targeted opportunities for a vendor’s business leadership to provide “on the record” testimony or presentations, thus creating tangible evidence of thought leadership

  • Seek to create increased awareness among federal users of PHI and EMR of a vendor’s technologies and services, using all current federal projects as natural launching points 

If federal projects do not exist, opportunities should aggressively be sought and captured in order to be a player in federal health care systems – the largest consumers of health care and IT in the world.  When public affairs and public relations are combined, thought leadership and industry recognition can be effective means of driving customer awareness and adoption.

— Bret Wacker

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