Doctors, medical clinics and centers, and even hospitals are often seen as hardened individuals and institutions that care more about money than their patients. Even the media seems to take a certain amount of satisfaction in writing and broadcasting stories about honest mistakes, sudden hospital deaths and the odd case where foul play actually does in involve someone in the medical profession. While all of these types of incidents are the exception rather than the rule, it still leaves a negative impression in the eyes of the public. In order to give a more honest view of the medical profession health PR or Public Relations specialists are often employed to deal with the media and sometimes the public.
Duties of the Health PR Specialist
A public relations specialist has many duties. These duties comprise mainly of putting the doctor, clinic or health institution they look for in the most positive light possible. This includes such things:
- Prepare and edit all types of publications both for internal and external audiences including employees and stockholders as well as media.
- Establish and maintain a working relation with members of the community, media and even patients and potential patients.
- Plan and develop informational programs to maintain favorable public opinions of the facility and the health care services it performs.
- Arrange for public appearances, lectures and exhibits that can increase knowledge of organization and promote goodwill.
- Promote special health programs, clinics, and other activities that are benefit to the public.
- Write and edit press releases regarding the above mentioned activities.
- Study the organizational policies of the health institution and develop public relations strategies to promote and maintain a positive impression of the facility in the minds of the public, and the patients.
- Arrange promotional campaigns.
Maintaining the Public Persona
PR specialist’s jobs are often boring and repetitive but the specialist has to be prepared to continually maintain the good name and the reputation of the doctor or the institution and have the knowledge and skill to handle emergencies.
Most Public Relations experts normally have a background in communications, journalism, or have taken special classes is sociology, psychology or public relations. They then often spend several years working for a PR firm to learn the ropes and gain experience. A health PR expert also should have at least some familiarity in the medical field so they fully understand and can appreciate the nuances of not only various medical procedures, but also the dedication of the medical staff towards their patients.
It is vital that a health PR specialist be able to maintain a positive public persona in order to benefit not only the medical institution that the PR specialist works for, but also the general public so that members of the public will not hesitate to seek medical care when the needs arise.
In most cases, the PR department’s job is to simply the make the company they work for look good and maintain a positive public image, but Health PR departments and specialists are actually a bridge between the public and the health care they need while serving the institution or doctor they work for.