Sensitivity & Sensibility in healthcare comms

24 Jan,2017


A workshop on the do’s and don’ts of healthcare communication was conducted at the PD Hinduja Hospital in Mumbai where Sangeeta Barde, Managing Partner at Sorento Healthcare Communications shared her insight on how a healthcare facility can communicate effectively with patients/customers as they are now more informed and choosy in where they decide to get their healthcare from and take an active role in their care, experience and are choosing their own alternatives.The cost of care and quality of care and service are the most crucial factors in determining a patient’s satisfaction from a healthcare facility. Bardebelieves that digital is an important tool to communicate with the consumers and facilities need to work on making a stronger but sensible digital approach as a lot of consumers seek healthcare information online and also stressed that effective communication depends on much more on the tone of voice and body language than the words you use. 

Santosh Jangid caught up with Sangeeta Barde who has over 20 years of experience in healthcare communication and is Managing Partner at Sorento Healthcare Communications to get a better understanding of the same in Indian context.


On why healthcare communication hasn’t taken off in right earnest in India

I think the healthcare sector should start promoting itself because its lot to do with the healthcare consumer today who has evolved a lot and wants to have the information and wants to know about certain facilities, certain hospitals, certain doctors. It’s not that the person is going to immediately come to your facility because s/he is not looking at your ads only when they need it but they are also looking at your ads when they don’t need it and when you continuously keep talking about your facility, at some point of time it is also registering in their subconscious mind and whenever and wherever he/she needs it, they are going to make use of that particular information which has been put in his black box, so you have to be present in the consumer’s mind.


What are the do’s and don’ts of healthcare communication?

A very important point here is that you understand that healthcare is a very knowledge based segment and therefore having that fundamental understanding of your product is very important and therefore creating good product claims or marketing claims are very critical and that needs to be developed and it cannot be just hear and say or extempore, one needs to go through systematic exercise to develop claims when it comes to healthcare which could be interesting and which could touch human lives.


Do you think there is a need for sensitivity (and sensibility) in healthcare communication?

100 percent. I am a complete promoter of sensibility and sensitivity when it comes to promoting healthcare facilities because I personally feel that it’s not about patients but its about being human beings and every human being is born with emotions, compassion and empathy and we must try and connect with that compassion and empathy with the healthcare consumers so that he/she feels wanted, gets reassurance and confidence from the healthcare facility that he/she is going to feel good after coming to the facility so it’s really important to have emotion in healthcare advertising.


How do you see healthcare communication going forward? 

I see a lot of good times in healthcare communication and communication is not just about the television commercial but it is a lot to do with the communication with the consumer at the right time at the right place with the right tools. So it could be a communication on ground or a communication on digital and thats where I feel it’s going to more because a lot go consumers today seek healthcare information online and if you can integrate healthcare information in the life of that consumer who is an e-consumer and who is going to be your consumer going forward, I think a lot of online communication should be seen with good content and good engagement strategies.


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