Health Care, Communications Intersect at The Summit

Today, I joined many Tanner Friedman Health Care clients and more than 500 of the top professionals in that field at the 2010 Health Care Leadership Summit, which was put on by the Crain’s Detroit Business publication. No need for me to recap the sessions, you can read about them on the Crain’s Detroit site. But here are a few “takeaways” I want to share:

-Right now is a fascinating time to do Health Care public relations in Detroit. It was reinforced today that the market is on the cusp of change and Health Care itself faces a similarly pivotal moment. In times of change, communications is so crucial to success.

– Speaking of Health Care change and communications, it’s obvious that the still-new Health Care Reform law at the Federal level has still not been effectively communicated. A national poll revealed this morning by one of the speakers indicated that cable news bickering, rather than actual reporting of what’s in the thousands of pages (and what’s not), has led the public to a point of frustration, rather than understanding. Shame on the politicians who passed the law and the bureaucrats who are enacting it for not figuring out a way to explain it all to the public (they certainly have the money to do it).

-Traditional media outlets can, if they so choose, be important facilitators for future-thinking dialogue. Crain’s was able to use its power to bring together the top leadership in an important field to the region it covers. That led to at least one groundbreaking discussion – one in which I was fortunate to participate – about how Southeast Michigan can better market itself as a high-caliber Health Care destination. No fledgling Web-only outlet can pull that off in the current environment.

-Health Care is an industry that affects literally every household in Metro Detroit. So why isn’t coverage of Health Care more of a priority by regional traditional media? Crain’s covers the business of Health Care – that’s their role. But the daily newspapers have greatly trimmed their coverage in recent years, even as the industry has grown (in a shrinking market). The TV stations seem to only have the staff to do the “diseases and cures” stories. Even with limited newsroom resources, shouldn’t it be more of a priority?