As we grow closer to the presidential election, health care is on everyone's mind. Since women call the shots in the $6.5 trillion health care market, we would do well to look to the single female candidate, Hillary Clinton, who vows to protect women's health and reproductive rights.
Hillary has stated that she believes access to affordable health care is a basic human right, and that "what's good for women is good for America." Research here at ghg | greyhealth group shows, however, that women -- the key health care decision makers -- are being overlooked by the pharma, insurance, and medical businesses that depend on them. Access to care alone isn't enough. Women must also have access to the information that will equip them to make the best possible healthcare decisions for themselves and their families.
I believe that Communications is the Cure for increasing trust between women (dubbed Chief Health Officers, or CHOs) and health care providers, improving outcomes, and rewiring how the industry interacts with women. Here are some specific ways to bridge the gap:
1) Put the CHO at the center of marketing-communications strategy. Women experience famines of knowledge, time, and trust: 77 percent of women don't do what they know they should to stay healthy; 62 percent say they don't have the time to be healthy; and only 31 percent trust online information according to "The Power of the Purse: Engaging Women Decision Makers for Healthy Outcomes," a global survey of 9,200 women conducted by The Center for Talent Innovation (CTI).
2) Leverage digital technology to create better outcomes. Data, in the form of wearables and other solutions, bring extraordinary potential to personalize medicine. Digital communications cater to the female predisposition toward sharing and connectivity -- and that leads to behavioral change.
3) Engage both sides of the CHO's brain. The majority of purchasing decisions are made emotionally, yet the healthcare industry either "dumbs down" the information, or keeps it dryly factual. The future is in connecting to the CHO's emotions, and giving them power through rational information. Campaigns such as Dove and Always show the success to be found in telling stories, not giving lectures.
4) Speak to women's preference for holistic, preventive care. Women view health more broadly than just being free from illness and health risks. Nearly 80 percent define it as "having spiritual and emotional well-being." The healthcare industry must incorporate the Chief Health Officer perspective into marketing, clinical-trial design, boardroom decision-making, and especially direct communications.