What is a Health Communication Strategy?

Health Communication is the study of topics such as doctor-patient communication, communication in health risk, and education. Being able to communicate important and relevant health information can help influence health-related decisions for both patients and providers. Health care providers looking to improve interactions and to engage in effective communication is key to patient wellness and safety. What is a health communication strategy, and how should health professionals address this need in a way that is effective and will lead to better health outcomes for patients and stronger patient-provider dynamics? The following health communication strategy aims to provide a structure to guide health care professionals in improving communication across various health care contexts.

Analysis of the Health Situation

Define the purpose of the health situation that the strategy will be able to help improve. Identify key health issues, whether it’s personnel behavior or internal processes that are preventing health communication to be accurately disseminated effectively and efficiently. If applicable, call out any gaps that must be addressed through preparation for executing the health communication strategy. 

Health Communication Strategy

With any health communication strategy, the audience must be identified, whether it’s primary, secondary, or other influencing audiences in the health context. Define the goals and objectives of the health communication strategy. Deliver key message concepts and use the appropriate channel and health communication tools as needed.

Health Management Planning

Health communication can be improved across all mediums, including written, verbal, and nonverbal forms to a variety of audience types. Health care professionals should develop health management planning by identifying areas of improvement when it comes to health communication and identifying the audience and the best way to reach them. Test and measure the success of those interactions and determine how effectively the messages reached the target audience. 

Reporting & Evaluating Success

Reporting and evaluating the success of a health communication strategy requires the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data for a healthcare organization. Health care professionals should be striving to reduce medication errors, hospital readmissions, misdiagnosis errors while using health communication to increase patient satisfaction to provide a positive experience from admission to discharge. 

For more information on improving interactions and communications in the health and medical field, visit SDSU and learn about its online Certificate in Health Communication.