We’re well into the new year, and so, too, a new Congress – even if its beginning was a bit unprecedented. Now more than ever, a divided Congress means that policy issues across the board will be met with diverse perspectives and more challenges when it comes to passing certain legislation.
The healthcare space – an area often fraught with strong opinions on both sides– has had a tumultuous few years and faced inflation, pandemic pressures, employee burnout, industry disruptors, regulatory scrutiny, and more.
Whatever the issue du jour, providers, medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and others will be faced with a unique political landscape over the next two years (at least).
Here are 3 things healthcare organizations should keep in mind during this new session.
1. If political gridlock has your business at a standstill, make your voice heard
In an analysis of post-Midterm media coverage, gridlock was one of the most common themes, with predictions that partisan agendas will not make much advancement in the following year. But if you’re an organization relying on bipartisan support to progress your business, don’t sit idly by while politicians debate.
Use your voice and leverage your leadership to develop thought-provoking content that shines light on the issue at hand. A compelling opinion piece, or “Op-ed,” can play an important role in shifting public perception on an issue and getting people – politicians included – to listen. However, be cautious not to simply add another voice to the echo chamber. Op-eds by executives should have a distinct perspective and be clear about what they stand for.
2. Make a strategic plan…then make two more
If the start of this term has shown us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. When it comes to communications planning, it is not enough to simply have Plan A (things go our way) and Plan B (things don’t). We may begin to see situations where Plan C (how did we get here?!) become more common.
Be prepared to communicate with your stakeholders about what it means if reforms are left unchanged, are repealed, or transform completely into something unexpected. Think through the “weirdest case scenario” and prepare the best you can. This will be an exercise in creativity and flexibility.
3. Whatever your focus, get smart on cybersecurity
Whatever side of the aisle you’re on, and wherever you fall in the healthcare landscape, one major issue to be aware of is cybersecurity. After a reported increase of data breaches across healthcare providers, cybersecurity is predicted to gain bipartisan support. It’s a government priority, and it should be one for your organization, as well.
Whether your organization manages patient records or not, now is the time to beef up your online protection. Unfortunately, healthcare organizations are frequently the targets of cyberattacks, and the impact can be devastating – on patients and staff, but also on trust and reputation. If you suspect (or know) that your organization’s cybersecurity isn’t up to snuff, sound the alarm now, and put a plan in place so you’re not the one making headlines for being breached.
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