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Ways of “Healthy” Communication

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Hello to everyone. We are together in another post. As promised in the last issue, we will talk about healthy communication today.


Today, communication services developed by health institutions and organizations by themselves or shaped by independent agencies; Roughly speaking, on the one hand, it is the process of promotion of the services provided by health organization for the public on the other hand, it is the process of perceiving and assessing the demands of the public. At this point, we would like touch upon some issues.

According to impressions we got, many health managers frequently say that there are shortcomings in services in field of communication. But while explaining these, they are stuck in subjective factors and non-essential details. Social perceptions are at the heart of the matter. One of the best examples of this is preventative -protective- health services. In developed Western countries, it is seen that health expenditures are shifted to this area to a large extent. Although there are efforts in this way in our country, social prejudices have not been overcome yet.

Here is a ridiculous example we heard from public relations department: A person who had a check-up says that he finds this service unnecessary (“I wish I hadn’t done it !!”) when he learned that he had no illness, that is, when he got a positive result. The reflection of this lack of perspective on health organizations is that communication focuses on short-term gains. A situation which is result and treatment-oriented comes up.

Health communication specialists must overcome these negative conditions and produce extra value in their work. To do that, they should have sectoral experience, and they should know the field — namely, if it is appropriate to say, kitchen of the business. The communication specialist must speak the same language with the healthcare organization. For example, for the specialist, knowing the differences between internal disease branches and surgical branches or the difference between ‘kvc’ and cardiology, etc. will make his/her work practical even though slightly. As seen from here, communication service in the health sector differs in one way from the ones in other sectors. While the main value-creating dimension of communication in the market is creativity, in health, knowledge about the field and society is much more important. Seasonal factors as well as economic and demographic variables affect the demands for healthcare services. Perhaps, the prerequisite for evaluating many factors in our communication activities is to know the field well.

Health organizations sometimes experience dissatisfaction with the agency services they get. As health communication professionals, as far as we have observed, agency employees may not be able to assure health organizations and managers sufficiently as well as there might be the inconveniences stemming from not being able to speak the same language with them. Agency personnel should be selected from those who have worked in the health sector as much as possible, and frequent changes should not be made in the counseling processes, except the reasons of fatigue and boredom. Communication specialists should know legal responsibilities of the healthcare organization and should be mature enough to leave no room for doubt.  Ethical dimension of the issue is important not only for the interests of society or legal obligation, but also for medium and long terms gains (institutionalization etc.) of the organization.

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