At Media Contacts, one of the sectors we specialise in is Healthcare Communications. However, in that market there are so many different sectors and definitions of that phrase. We thought we’d summarise what we think Healthcare Communications means.

Healthcare communications is the general, catch all term for any form of communications in the healthcare sector. On a broad scale, it encompasses healthcare advertising and marketing, PR and medical communications (aka medical education). These terms cover all manner of messaging, from pharmaceutical brand communications, corporate communications and media relations to patient advocacy, digital assets, internal comms and crisis management.

There are lots different interpretations of the three main areas within healthcare communications which we recruit for. Everyone’s definitions will vary slightly (the disciplines merge and cross over constantly), but a rough guide is as follows:

Healthcare PR

As it sounds, public relations and all round communications. This can include media relations and all aspects of building relationships with journalists to secure media coverage, crisis communications, corporate communications, internal and external communications and all forms of raising awareness of a company or its products. It may also include digital work such as building websites and all aspects of managing meetings. In short, anything a PR agency does, but in the healthcare sector.

Healthcare Advertising

Think: marketing. Creating advertisements is a bit of what a healthcare advertising agency does, the rest is marketing in the broader sense. So that might be creating a website, producing experiential campaigns or educational materials for healthcare professionals and leave pieces for sales reps to leave with GPs, through to patient information leaflets and all aspects of patient advocacy.

Medical Communications

Also known as medical education. This can be promotional or non-promotional, often highly scientific and focussed on healthcare professionals or patients. Medical communications agencies tend to get involved at the much earlier stages of drug development than the PR and advertising agencies, but again there are lots of grey areas. The work tends to attract very scientifically minded individuals and might be anything from writing manuscripts and running advisory boards and congresses, through to running patient group activities and breathing new life into a brand close to the end of its patent. You can find out more about MedComms here.

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