Karen Strauss
Karen Strauss

The coming year will be affected by a number of technological, governmental, social and economic factors. Here are a few predictions from M Booth Health leaders about where those trends may take healthcare communicators.

Disruptive healthcare brands will dip their toe into the metaverse.The metaverse presents an immense innovation opportunity for the healthcare sector. Just as telehealth shifted the patient-HCP relationship from in-person to hybrid, augmented and virtual reality will transform how healthcare is delivered. Watch for disruptive healthcare brands bold enough to dip their toe into the metaverse in 2022.
—Mark Westall, VP, Research & Planning

Government will play the role of health equity amplifier.
A benefit of recent turbulence is a reoriented focus on health equity across the federal government. Government agencies now seek information from on-the-ground partners about what’s working at the community level that can be applied broadly and across disease areas. As a result, these agencies are not viewing themselves as just funders, but as conveners and amplifiers of best practices—an important strategic shift we can expect to accelerate.
—Cub Barrett, SVP, Public Affairs

Clinical trials will diversify and be the focus of pharmaceutical company communications.
Expect to see pharmaceutical companies capitalizing on consumer interest in COVID-19 vaccination trials, with a doubling down on their commitment to more diverse trials that reflect population demography.
—Lindsay Paul, SVP, Marketing Communications

Biomedical innovators will ramp up direct engagement efforts with consumers.
Thanks to creating vaccines that prevent COVID infection and death, biomedical innovators have earned newfound appreciation. Consequently, we can anticipate a surge of positive engagement between pharmaceutical companies and consumers, with smart companies stepping up their open, educational consumer-facing communications.
—Andrew Shih, EVP, Corporate and Public Affairs

Connective Content thanks to TikTok will reach health audiences more personally.
Connective Content, thanks to TikTok, focuses on creators—sparking conversations among patients and healthcare professionals with a mix of education and entertainment. Expect health marketers to connect to niche health audiences with content combining credible information, personal experiences, and an approachable tone.
—Tyler Pennock, SVP, Digital Strategy

Public health communicators will employ deeper attitudinal research to assess pandemic-related beliefs and implications.
Nuanced attitudinal research will be required for effective public health guidance – owing to reduced faith in public health and public health officials as a result of pandemic-fueled partisan rancor and misinformation.
—Karen O’Malley, Managing Director, Public Affairs

Digital Therapeutics will be in the spotlight.
Propelled by the pandemic, DTx (Digital Therapeutics) are becoming more integrated into the treatment of conditions as varied as cancer, ADHD, heart disease and substance abuse. Expect to see mounting pressure to standardize how these treatments are reviewed and cleared by the FDA, marketed and reimbursed.
—Tom Rovine, SVP, Marketing Communications

Cost of medicines won’t fall, but new approaches will change the conversation.
Expect to see demand for new, creative pricing models for treatments in a host of therapeutic categories, particularly rare diseases, making larger reimbursements viable through tightened focus on tying back to efficacy.
—Julia Jackson, Managing Director, Marketing Communications

Believing in science will become increasingly cool.
Healthcare organizations will elevate the word “science” and the value of science, as the WHO and Pfizer have notably done already, to intensify consumer curiosity and knowledge about how medical innovation actually happens.
—Karen Strauss, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer

Pharmaceutical companies will increase their investment in corporate global citizenship.
With corporate global citizenship paying clear dividends, more drug developers will invest more aggressively in vaccine R&D and other lifesaving innovations to meet stakeholder expectations.
—Lisa Johnson, SVP, Corporate and Public Affairs

Healthcare companies will walk the DE&I talk.
Pharmaceutical companies and health brands will bring laser focus to achieving meaningful, real-world results to diversity, equity and inclusion, and steer clear of preaching DE&I without measurable progress.
—Megan Lambert, SVP, Oncology Communications


Karen Strauss is Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at M Booth Health.