Who are Healthcare Communications Influencers?

Who are Healthcare Communications Influencers?

Influencer Marketing is currently out performing paid by 16 times when it comes to engagement. However in the Healthcare Communications world influencer marketing is a way of life and has been for some time due to UK regulations prohibiting promotion of prescription drugs to the public. Therefore communications for these medicines often centres around raising awareness about the disease.

In the healthcare industry, campaign messages can vary from engaging the public about a disease, to raising awareness about a product or medicine, to implementing medical education for healthcare professionals. Often the best way to do this is by using influencers, who can engage directly to your target audience. Using different types of influencers can open up new perspectives on public health problems, and will resonate with different audiences.

Here is a look at some of the most commonly used influencers in healthcare communications and when it is right to engage them depending on your communications challenges.

Healthcare Professionals (HCPs)

The term ‘HCP’ covers many different roles, which includes primary care physicians (a GP), secondary care physicians (specialists such as ophthalmologists that you would be referred to by a GP) as well as pharmacists, nurses, midwives and dentists. HCP influencers are key for influencing other medical or health professionals, through industry events, training or authoring peer-to-peer articles. HCP influencers understand the scientific detail of the campaign, and are usually well respected experts in their field.

PAGs/NGOs

Patient groups and non-governmental organisations give authority and credibility to campaigns and associated materials. These groups consists of patient representatives who act as the voice for patients, providing an insight into the challenges these patients face. These groups are impartial and unbiased, and their main interest is to support patients. Therefore, more public trust is placed in a campaign if it is endorsed by independent patient groups such as Diabetes UK or the World Health Organisation, as opposed to a commercial business. If communicating to patients and their carers, patient group support could make or break a campaign.

Patients

Patients themselves are very powerful influencers. They provide a unique and invaluable insight for healthcare professionals about what it’s like to live with a condition, and inform their perspectives on treatment options. Patients are relatable to the wider patient community, and often speak incredibly passionately about their experiences. Their impartiality means that they are highly trusted by the public, and they let fellow patients know they are not alone in living with a specific condition.

Celebrities

Even in the healthcare industry, celebrities are strong influencers, especially with common lifestyle related diseases such as diabetes and obesity. High profile celebrities who speak out about suffering from a particular disease, such as Avril Lavigne suffering from Lyme disease or Cynthia Nixon’s experience with rosacea, can also catapult a condition into the limelight and increase public awareness about it. Celebrities’ high reach on social media makes them a vital asset for raising public awareness quickly, and are valuable media spokespeople during a campaign.

Healthcare brands can capitalise on the power of influencers in a number of ways. They can benefit from increased disease awareness, if their medicine has a high market share, as it means that patients are more likely to be engaged and proactively seek advice from their HCP. In turn, HCPs who are informed about particular treatments, via their own influencers, are more likely to prescribe and advocate a treatment they are familiar with and deem credible.

If you would like to find out more about Influencer Marketing, register your interest in our training event being held on 12th July at 82 Baker Street.

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