The Role of Healthcare Media

My colleague John Lynn and I recently had a discussion on the role of media in healthcare. As is usual, John and I were mostly aligned in our viewpoints. There were, however, a few questions that generated a lot of discussion…and I thought it would be interesting to discuss those questions on the next HITMC chat – hosted by John (I’m on vacation).

Role of Healthcare Media

The question that generated the most discussion between John and I was: What role does healthcare media play in our industry? We both agreed that breaking and interpreting news were two important pillars for any media company. However, both of us also believed that to be effective and relevant, you needed to be more than a news-based organization.

I felt that healthcare media had an obligation to tell stories that need to be told – to shine a spotlight on issues that were going unnoticed by the rest of the industry. High drug prices, the plight of the uninsured, the impact of family caregiving, patient data rights and physician burnout are all stories that healthcare media needed to publish – to help spur action and discussion.

John believed that media companies have a unique perspective on and position in healthcare that should be used to bring different parts of the ecosystem together. He argued that media companies are a nexus point for the entire healthcare ecosystem. As such, they are in a unique position to build bridges between payers, providers, HealthIT companies, other media outlets, influencers, patients, families, employers, etc.

Media at Conferences

Another question that generated a lot of discussion between John and I was centered on the role of media at conferences.

There are two different schools of thought here. One is that media should cover the conference itself – writing stories about the overall trends, interesting keynotes, session highlights, etc. In this traditional role, media helps to extend the reach of the conference for attendees as well as for those that could not be there in-person.

The other school of thought is that media should cover the companies that are paying to exhibit/sponsor the event. In this mode, media serves as a bonus benefit to sponsors, which in turn helps conference organizers secure sponsorship for their next event.

It turns out John and I both believe that the latter mode holds more long-term benefit for conference organizers. Treat sponsors well and you create a solid foundation upon which to grow. Being featured in a published story is a tangible “win” for an exhibitor. The more wins an exhibitor has, the higher chance they will have a positive overall experience.

Besides, at large conferences (2,000+ attendees), there are usually enough live-tweeters in the audience to generate a steady stream of updates. These real-time posts can be as effective than after-the-fact summaries of the day’s events (so would argue it’s MORE effective at engaging/attracting audiences).  John and I had a long discussion over why so few media outlets chose to utilize social media in this manner.

What’s your opinion?

The next #HITMC monthly tweetchat will be held Tuesday August 13th at noon ET (9am PT) – for your local time click here. John Lynn @techguy will be hosting as I will be on vacation. Please join this lively discussion.

  • T1 What role should healthcare media play in the industry? Report the news? Contextualize the news? Share success/failure stories? All of the above + more?
  • T2 What is more valuable to you as media consumer – stories about a conference itself or news about the companies/people attending the conference?
  • T3 Do you consider company-based bloggers and podcasters part of healthcare media? Why or why not?
  • T4 Is it important for healthcare media companies to engage readers on social media? Or is it enough to just share links to valuable content?
  • T5 What do you wish healthcare media companies would start doing that they aren’t today?
  • BONUS What’s the biggest healthcare story of 2019 so far?

About the author


Colin Hung

Colin Hung is an award-winning Marketing Executive with more than 15yrs of healthcare and HealthIT experience. He co-founded one of the most popular healthcare chats on Twitter, #hcldr and he has been recognized as one of the “Top 50 Healthcare IT Influencers”. Colin’s work has been published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, American Society for Healthcare Risk Managers, and Infection Control Today. He writes regularly for Healthcare Scene and here at HITMC.com. Colin is a member of #pinksock #TheWalkingGallery and is proudly HITMC. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.


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  • Patient Power, and before that HealthTalk.com, has covered medical conferences in the US and Europe for years. We cover it for the patients living with the conditions discussed and now do live broadcasting where patients can ask world experts questions about what was just presented to their peers. Why should patients wait for news to trickle down to them – that’s our view as patient/journalists. Now we do this across cancers and pharma supports it with no control and we partner with advocacy orgs and self-fund a lot of coverage. This has enabled us to have a reach of 400,000+ a month and growing. A new website, launching later this month will accelerate our activities. I have no quarrel with other health media approaches. It depends on your mission. Ours is simple “do what’s right for patients”.




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