2013 PRSA Health Academy Conference

As we gathered for our annual meeting, the question many members had asked, why besides its central location, did we choose Indianapolis? The answer became quickly obvious. Indiana is one of the nation’s top four life sciences leaders (as defined by number and concentration of life sciences‐related jobs).  Indiana is home to more than 1,600 businesses in the medical device, pharmaceutical, drug development, diagnostic and agriculture biotech sectors. Indiana has the second‐highest concentration of biopharmaceutical jobs in the nation. That translates into new members of Health Academy and a unique set of local resources to benefit advancing our knowledge of health care communications.

Our host, Eli Lilly & Company, a top 10 global pharmaceutical company, rolled out the red carpet at the world headquarters with a pre-conference session on Post-Web Health Care Technology. This provided “a peek behind the curtain” of how Health 2.0 is resulting in 2.0 patients, revolutionizing how the practice of medicine is changing for doctors, hospitals, patients and everyone else. There’s a new model of communication emerging, patient to doctor, doctor to patient, patient to the world.

Matthew Holt, founder and author of The Health Care Blog and co-chairman of Health 2.0, walked the audience through a dazzling array of revolutionary new apps and wireless devices that are on the cutting edge of technology. Ben Sawyer, co-founder of the Games for Health Project, provided interactive examples of the Gamification of Health Care, demonstrating how games are transforming health care training and education for patients as well as medical professionals. Shawn Nakamoto, APR, director of communications for Hawaii Pacific Health, demonstrated how her hospital is using a mobile health platform that is a model for patient relations.

Jeff Winton, vice president and head of Global Communications of Eli Lilly and Company kicked off the general sessions with a keynote titled “Embracing the Rapid Globalization of Health Care Communications.” With the internet, the world is shrinking and everyone is connected, and maintaining a worldly perspective is becoming more important for every communicator.

As healthcare communicators we all know the power of Twitter, but did we know that Pinterest is within a percentage point of being as influential a communications platform, especially among women? Lee Rainie, Director of Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, provided a real-time perspective on how healthcare consumers are making use of the latest in mobile and social media.

Radio legend Bob Edwards provided his own commentary on the Affordable Care Act, putting politics and policy in perspective as a long- time observer.  Overall, I thought the PRSA Health Academy Conference lived up to its promise to provide health care communicators with the latest opportunities and practical innovations to make the most of staff, budgets and time. This year we had two video bloggers providing highlights, which can be seen at www.prsa.org/healthacademy where you can also find many of the Powerpoints posted. Additionally, co-sponsor Borshoff had its account executives take notes on all of the sessions which provide an excellent summary:

If you have questions, feel free to reach out to me as Chair. We hope to see you next year in Washington DC, May 7-9, 2014!