Marketers and public relations professionals often focus on the product, its features and how it is unique. After reading Fast Company’s “11th Annual Innovation by Design” issue, I started to think about how small changes can differentiate one product from another when communicating and interacting with consumers and health care providers. This includes how we deliver or package the product to make it more relevant to consumers.

A prime example from the issue was the genetic screening offerings provided by San Francisco-based Counsyl, a platform for timely results delivery and counseling that focuses on patient care.

I have a number of friends who have undergone genetic screening for a variety of reasons – curiosity, family planning, pregnancy, caution, etc. At the end of the day, they are looking for answers and need help understanding the results so they can make more informed life decisions. They also want the information delivered efficiently, to align with their lifestyles and personal preferences.

While Counsyl’s genetic screening process is innovative, what really sets them apart is their approach to making genetic screening a common practice by sharing results in a responsible, easy-to-understand manner, online and directly to the consumer. The company communicates with their customers throughout the process – from requesting the screening kit, to taking it and submitting it to the company, all the way through the sharing of results and interpretation. They treat genetic screening as a product or experience you are purchasing versus a procedure involving rounds of appointments between a physician’s office and lab facilities.  Counsyl’s service caters to the busy, young professional – it’s personalized and easy, and their messaging clearly communicates these benefits. It’s a complete package and it’s different. It takes out the doctor as the middleman by providing results and video explanations online, as well as offering the opportunity to schedule an appointment to speak with a member of the Counsyl clinical team about the results. It’s a relatively simple approach that makes a big difference.

As you start putting 2015 plans into action, ask yourself if there are any small changes that could make a health care product or service more relevant to consumers. Anticipate the future. How will we communicate with doctors? How will we get medical results and what is going to help us understand them? How can we simplify the messaging or delivery process? How do we capture attention in a world in which there are so many competing demands? Our marketing and PR solutions must be as innovative as the answers to these questions.


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