A Robust Year for Healthcare PR

by Ed Lallo/Newsroom Ink

The national healthcare act and its new regulations are just one issue benefiting the public relations industry over the past year. PR firms and their client’s grapple with numerous heath related issues according to 2011 O’Dwyer’s healthcare rankings.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius is at the center of the new national healthcare act which is just one reason for the increase in healthcare PR spending. Photo: Seton Heathcare Family

Agencies across the board recorded significant gains in spending by healthcare related industries.

The rankings revealed a world of dizzying complexity as public relation agencies grapple with issues surrounding pharmaceuticals, patient care, health technology, legislation and regulation at federal, state and local levels, medical devices, health insurance, general and healthcare press, and the academic and scientific communities.

According to O’Dywer’s publisher, Jack O’Dwyer, “U.S. healthcare is now consuming 17% of the Gross National Product, a percentage far above most other industrialized countries, yet U.S. healthcare statics do not measure up in comparison.”

The need to communicate, explain and legislate anything to do with healthcare has become the driving force behind the increased interest in healthcare PR.

“This is a political football if ever there was one,” explained O’Dwyer. “High emotions make communications very difficult. Only experts need apply and we are identifying many of the major players. This is where PR is–in the agencies and in the specialties.”

The big winner in health PR spending was Edelman, who topped the rankings with $114,588,421 in revenues, up slightly from $113M in 2010. WCG moved into second place with  $43,350,100 in healthcare revenue, a 21.4% gain.

Others in the top five included: Ruder Finn at $30,401,000; APCO Worldwide at $22,741,000, and Cooney/Waters Group at $20,433,000.

Kym White, global health chair of Edelman. Photo: Edelman

“Health, today, is everyone’s business,” explained Kym White, global health chair of Edelman to O’Dwyer’s. “Companies, institutions, and individuals are shifting their perception of health—from something needing to be fixed to something that needs to be development, maintained and continually improved. They understand that they need to combine resources to foster well-being in the near-term. Increasingly, they take the long-view of their role in human sustainability and the environment in which their organizations operate.”

Healthcare clients are searching for a comprehensive range of integrated services according to WCG CEO Jim Weiss.  He says the firm provided a wide variety of service to industry clients including: analytics and measurement; strategy and planning, product launch support; investor and financial media relations; and corporate identity and positioning.

Nine of the firms in the top 25 healthcare ranking only handle healthcare—Cooney/Waters, GYMRSpectrum, Revive PR, Jones PA, Jarrard Phillips Cate & HancockMCSDodge Communications and LaVoie Group.

No Texas PR agency was listed in O’Dwyer’s top 50.  Fort Worth’s Open Channels Group was listed at 59th and Austin based Phillips & C0. received the 64th largest spot.

Read O’Dwyer’s article and view complete listings.

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