There’s been a lot written about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its potential impact on key industry players — i.e., pharmaceutical and device companies, clinicians, health plans and patients. But, what about the PR professionals who work alongside these players?

Whether we work in-house or on agency teams, PR professionals know that everything that affects clients affects us too. . . eventually. We can be reactive and wait for the ACA dust to settle  or we can proactively help clients navigate the new landscape.

Now, there’s a huge opportunity for us to be proactive and to expand the range of internal and external stakeholders with whom we work.

Historically, health product companies have been organized around departmental “silos” – e.g., Patient Safety, Advocacy, Product Management and Access. For decades, health care PR and marketing teams focused on product/service promotion. Our goal has been to demonstrate clinical outcomes; our opinion leaders have come from academia and science.

In the wake of Medicare reform and the ACA, a new mandate has emerged: to help health decision-makers understand the relative outcomes and costs of available treatment options.  The goal is now to demonstrate total value as our opinion leaders include health economists, payment authorities and policymakers (in addition to clinicians).

To help clients succeed in this new environment, PR teams need to make five key changes:

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