The impact of COVID-19 on healthcare PR is examined in the two latest installments of “PR's Top Pros Talk COVID,” the video interview series produced by D S Simon in partnership with O’Dwyer’s.

The guests on these installments are Finn Partners managing partner, global health Gil Bashe and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital director of media relations Marvin Stockwell.

In his discussion with Doug Simon, Bashe talks about the changes to come in how healthcare communicators work and in the messages they deliver.

The work-from-home world is here to stay, he tells Simon. Bashe says he has seen “people become incredibly productive almost immediately when they shifted from a set work environment to a remote work environment.”

Another way in which online technology is affecting healthcare PR, Bashe says, is through the growth of such factors as artificial intelligence and digital health platforms.

The power of the CEO is also a central topic of the conversation. “The more company CEOs are transparent about the situation, what they and their communities face, the more we as employees and customers lean in and believe them.”

Stockwell chats with Simon about the challenges facing communicators in the non-profit space.

His main piece of advice is for communicators to “be flexible.” COVID-19, he says, is something that affects us all, so “we need to realize that no one could have foreseen this and no one has all the answers.”

St. Jude faces some unique communications issues, he adds. In addition to reducing the anxiety of the hospital’s young patients, St. Jude also must maintain its focus on what’s happening to children with cancer during the crisis, and make sure its research mission remains a primary goal.

The COVID-19 crisis has also increased the desire of mainstream audiences for deep discussions of topics related to science and medicine. “The kind of scientific expertise of St. Jude,” he says, “is just being sought out at a much higher level than is normal.”

All of the interviews in the “PR's Pros Talk COVID” series can be seen here.

Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at [email protected]

D S Simon Media helps clients get their stories on television through satellite media tours and by producing and distributing content to the media. The company also produces live social media events.