Healthcare Communication Industry Tests New Offerings as Health Care Reform Evolves

August 3, 2013
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health reform

Photo Credit: http://www.cbsnews.com

Yesterday eHealth, the company that owns eHealthInsurance, an online healthcare insurance exchange announced it has signed a deal with the Federal Government to enroll tax-subsidy-eligible residents of 36 states in qualified health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). According to CNBC, in addition to eHealth, the Federal Government has also signed deals with other four web insurance exchanges. These deals will allow “web insurance brokers” to access the Federal electronic data hub, which can be used to determine tax subsidy eligibility and the amount of a subsidy. The CNBC article notes the news is a “breakthrough” for Obamacare as experts believe they could dramatically boost enrollment in those marketplaces and help keep premium costs low.

Interestingly, on the same day, comScore, a major digital measurement company announced it will launch a new service that “provides detailed, aggregated and anonymous online usage metrics for the new health insurance marketplace.” The company said the new service will include key metrics such as “Measurement of audience and visitation patterns,” “ Demographics of visitors to insurers,” “ Analysis of sources of traffic,” “Measurement of traffic to quote start and finish pages and enrollment start and finish pages,” and “Insights into social media related to the Affordable Care Act.” comScore hopes these data can translate consumer behavior in terms of using health insurance marketplace to actionable insights for health care marketers.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about how big data is changing the healthcare PR industry given the ongoing health care reform. The comSore offering highlights the changes are not only real but also happening quickly. As more elements of ACA are being implemented, we will see even more nontraditional offerings from the healthcare communication industry driven by Big Data and out-come and patient-centered care.

PRWeek recently reported that the healthcare public relation company Edelman is already in soft-launch phase for a healthcare offering focused on U.S. market access for pharmaceutical and medical device companies. In an interview with PRWeek, Rita Glaze who is leading the initiative said companies need to communicate patient outcomes in addition to safety and efficacy and the new offering will “push companies to include the reimbursement community mindset in their corporate and brand communication strategies.”

Although whether these experiments will be successful are yet to be seen, they remind us again that change is where value is created. How we respond to change as an industry determines whether we can thrive. Omnicom and Publicis believe creating a giant communication agency is the answer to changes surrounding the industry; health insurance companies like Aetna and Blue Shield have been investing heavily on data mining in response to ACA; Google and Apple believe they also deserve to be important players in health care as our society becomes more mobile and every piece of data can be moved to the “cloud.”

Connectivity, collaboration and competition among these organizations across industries are painting a brand-new picture for healthcare communication. New business functions, new areas for growth and new expertise will continue to emerge rapidly in the next few years. When the world changes, old mechanism and processes are bond to end. Although we often find it tough to act on that realization, those who can get out of active inertia will survive and thrive.

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