Three success factors for healthcare engagement

As we interviewed finalists in our Healthcare Engagement Awards 2011, reviewing initiatives from all around the world using a wide range of channels, three components stood out as clear influencers of success: Content, Partnerships, and Innovation.


Community and engagement don’t mean anything without content”, says Alex Butler describing his experiences with Healthcare Engagement Strategy Award winning Psoriasis 360. Indeed, for all our winners, the role of great content cannot be underestimated. This point should go without saying, but it stands out amongst our winners because they all use great content to some extent at the heart of their engagement. Whether the content is generated by members of a community, as is the case in CureTogether, or is developed or acquired as a resource for engagement as in Embarrassing Bodies, an engagement strategy cannot be sustained without a content strategy.

On the subject of content, it has been encouraging to see three of the Award winners breaking down the online health language divide embrace digital engagement in multiple languages. The Diabetes Hands Foundation operates its social networks TuDiabetes in English and esTuDiabetes in Spanish; The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis ran its campaign in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian; and Pfizer met the needs of patients in their local languages in Europe including English, Spanish, German and Dutch, and even crossed the language barrier through the use of images in Flickr.

This approach has consistently paid off – the Spanish-language versions of the Diabetes Hands Foundation’s tools are growing faster than the English-language versions; and over 75% of Pfizer’s online petition signatures were achieved in languages other than English.


Partnerships were key components for many of the Award winners. Some described partnerships with others who shared a passion for the cause; while some established working partnerships with providers who could help make their strategy more effective. Whilst the form of partnership seems to have varied from win-win collaborative efforts to brand sponsorship, the winners citing partnership as key include Pfizer’s Can You Feel My Pain; Maverick Television’s Embarrassing Bodies; The Global Fund’s Born HIV Free; The Diabetes Hands Foundation; Text to Change, and Text4Baby.


Innovation has become a cheap word in many circles. In healthcare engagement, however, innovation is only achieved by those prepared to put everything into breaking new ground for the sake of health outcomes, reasoning with colleagues and partners to gain their support, and ultimately being prepared to take a risk for the sake of seeing results.

All of the Award winners are pioneers who set out on a path not knowing exactly what the future held, but with enough evidence that it was worthwhile starting out. All of them learned lessons and gained new insights along the way that helped them improve outcomes. All of them showed perseverance, flexibility, passion and determination, in what for some was a highly regulated and challenging environment.


Read about other winners of the Healthcare Engagement Strategy Awards 2011.

Contact Creation Healthcare to discuss your views and find out how their insights into healthcare engagement can help you achieve better health outcomes.

View all articles >