5 New Year Resolutions for the Healthcare Industry

As we welcome 2017, it is an opportunity harness all that we have learned and apply it to a fresh and reinvigorated start. In that spirit, here are five new year resolutions that we can embrace as an industry.

1.     Always Place the Patient First

It’s something that is always said, but in practice not always done. Investor expectations, regulatory deadlines, attractive shortcuts can all tempt people to make choices that are seemingly advantageous, but are not necessarily patient oriented. For us not only to succeed as an industry, but moreover, as a caring culture, we must determine the best ways to team our business mandates with the compassion, innovation and service that patients and their caregivers deserve. Frequently we are so close to decision points we can lose perspective. The patient-first perspective doesn’t always mean sacrificing time or budget; and even when it does impact these drivers, it can make all the difference in the medium and long view.

2.     Don’t Politicize Healthcare

No one knows what the evolving world of politics holds in store, but one thing that is almost certain is that legislators will try to make healthcare a political issue. We must recognize the enormous cost of the healthcare system and seek ways to optimize care economically. Whichever political party or views you support, the simple fact is that we and those we care about most will all require healthcare. None of us is immune from illness and all of us can benefit from proactively taking care of ourselves. We rightfully pride ourselves on introducing transformational innovation in the form of treatments and devices. We must bring that same spirit of innovation to managing the cost of healthcare in a way that does not discriminate and assures everyone a dignified quality of life.

3.     Seek Opportunities to Collaborate

There’s an African proverb that states, “If you want to go quickly, go alone – if you want to go far, go together.” Technology emboldens us to move fast and take initiative. The inherent challenge now is how we direct that initiative. It takes discipline to be deliberate, and collaboration is not always intuitive. But more often than not, we are better together. Whether forming alliances with advocacy organizations, deepening relationships with advisors, partnering with professional societies or strengthening patient communities, relationship-building reaps tremendous rewards and further bonds us.

4.     Don’t Make Assumptions

Somewhere between market research testing every color and every word, to the position Steve Jobs held that research was largely unnecessary, lies the truth. Look at the big picture for context and know what you hope to accomplish. Establish a reason to be and have goals. Then it’s time to reach out to key constituents and intimately understand their perspectives. This will empower you to make sound decisions and execute branding that will resonate. Sometimes when you test every detail, disparate personal preferences leave little left to cobble together coherent communication.

5.     Remember that Healthcare Branding is Unique

It’s true that we are all consumers and therefore naturally respond to communication approaches taken in consumer advertising and marketing. But healthcare branding is unique for a number of reasons. We are a heavily regulated industry. The truth matters. In today’s climate where veracity can be challenging to discern even in the news, there is more reason than ever to maintain the highest ethical standards. Healthcare branding is serious business as are the medical conditions from which people suffer. Branding with credibility enables greater confidence. And the treatments and devices that make it to the market offer genuine hope. Whether for a company, technology, product or service, healthcare branding demands understanding the context for communication and making sure the brands connect in a compliant, compelling and compassionate manner.

As each day passes, more progress is made. Discoveries are made. Clinical trials advanced. Data assessed. And remarkable treatments and devices come to the market and provide greater hope for healthier tomorrows. We are privileged to work within an industry that can make life-changing differences. And with that privilege comes tremendous responsibility. Together our work matters – for 2017 and beyond.


by Jonathan D. Katz