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4 Questions with One of Minnesota’s Healthcare Communications and Strategy Leaders

I’ve only been part of The Min­neso­ta Health Strat­e­gy and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Net­work (MHSCN) board of direc­tors for a few months and it’s already been an incred­i­bly pos­i­tive expe­ri­ence. I’m excit­ed to play a role in exe­cut­ing on the organization’s strate­gic direc­tion mov­ing for­ward – with the goals of expand­ing the offer­ings in edu­ca­tion, net­work­ing, pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment and access to rel­e­vant resources to help health com­mu­ni­ca­tors and strate­gic plan­ners suc­ceed in our careers. Over­see­ing that work in 2020 will be incom­ing board pres­i­dent Cas­si Chrzanows­ki, but before we dive into the new year, I took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­nect with out­go­ing board pres­i­dent, Paul Fiore, and ask his thoughts on where the health com­mu­ni­ca­tions indus­try is going and why he was drawn to the health­care indus­try in the first place.

What are some of health­care strate­gic plan­ners and com­mu­ni­ca­tors’ biggest chal­lenges and oppor­tu­ni­ties? How can an orga­ni­za­tion like MHSCN help them?

One of the changes that has tak­en place over the last 3 – 5 years is an expan­sion of the role of mar­ket­ing, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and strat­e­gy pro­fes­sion­als in health­care. We have def­i­nite­ly moved beyond our tra­di­tion­al roles of cre­at­ing and imple­ment­ing a mar­ket­ing and/or com­mu­ni­ca­tions plan, and are now being seen as prob­lem solvers with a unique skill set and a patient-cen­tered view of our orga­ni­za­tions and the envi­ron­ment we oper­ate with­in. Brand build­ing, the move to dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing and a real and focused need to demon­strate ROI for our work come along with this shift. 

This move­ment pro­vides a great oppor­tu­ni­ty for pro­fes­sion­als in our field, but it also requires a ded­i­cat­ed effort to keep pace with the changes in tac­ti­cal exe­cu­tion, mea­sure­ment, con­sumer pref­er­ence and new meth­ods to gen­er­ate demand. 

MHSCN is well posi­tioned to help pro­fes­sion­als by offer­ing edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties focused on these key areas, net­work­ing events to con­nect with peers and access to great con­tent through our affil­i­a­tion with the Soci­ety for Health Strat­e­gy and Mar­ket Devel­op­ment (SHSMD).

What drew you to the health care industry?

I want­ed to be involved in a sec­tor that had an impact on people’s lives. Around the time I made the jump to health­care, I had some per­son­al encoun­ters with hos­pi­tals and health sys­tems and real­ized what an impor­tant effect they can have on people’s lives – often at the most crit­i­cal times. Our roles are to get the right peo­ple to the right pro­fes­sion­als at the right time. The oppor­tu­ni­ty to see patients receive life-chang­ing care is tru­ly rewarding. 

What do you think the future of the field of health strate­gic plan­ning and communications/marketing looks like?

Data, ana­lyt­ics, dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies and AI platforms/machine learn­ing will dri­ve the work we do mov­ing for­ward. We will all need to be ready to adapt to the changes that are just around the cor­ner (or here already). But, these new areas of focus and the skill sets that are required to uti­lize them effec­tive­ly will also require pro­fes­sion­als that are adept in brand­ing, com­pet­i­tive analy­sis, inte­grat­ed mar­ket­ing plan­ning and sto­ry-telling. All areas we cur­rent­ly have exper­tise. So, like so many areas of per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al lives, we will adapt, learn and excel along the way. 

After being pres­i­dent of MHSCN and with your term wrap­ping up, what have you learned about Minnesota’s health com­mu­ni­ca­tions indus­try and what are you most excit­ed about for the future of the community?

The pro­fes­sion­als in our field are amaz­ing­ly tal­ent­ed and pas­sion­ate about help­ing their orga­ni­za­tions and the patients they serve. We come from large and small orga­ni­za­tions, indi­vid­ual free­lancers to large agen­cies. But we all have some­thing to share and can learn from each oth­er. There is also an ener­gy and vibran­cy in our mem­ber­ship that you can feel at net­work­ing events and con­fer­ences. They are ready to embrace the future and adapt their skills to meet the chang­ing landscape. 

I’m also very excit­ed about the MHSCN Board. We have an extreme­ly tal­ent­ed group of pro­fes­sion­als who are ded­i­cat­ed to help­ing their peers suc­ceed. I think you will see great things com­ing out of MHSCN in the next year with our new Pres­i­dent, Cas­si Chrzanows­ki.

As pub­lic rela­tions, adver­tis­ing, mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions pro­fes­sion­als, we’re pret­ty lucky here in the Twin Cities. There are count­less asso­ci­a­tions and net­work­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to take advan­tage of – whether you’re look­ing for job or edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties or to expand your net­work. But we all know these pro­fes­sion­al asso­ci­a­tions are not all cre­at­ed equal. MHSCN has cre­at­ed a real­ly sup­port­ive com­mu­ni­ty that, in my opin­ion, should be on every Min­neso­ta-based health com­mu­ni­ca­tor or strate­gic planner’s radar. If you have ques­tions about MHSCN, feel free to email me, and I hope to see you at a future event!

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