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October 11, 2013
In Health Care as Elsewhere, Planning Comes First
 
Oh, dear, it appears that in their enthusiasm for the Affordable Care Act, federal officials overlooked key tenets of public relations and marketing: Show and explain before you sell. The Wall Street Journal has been following the computer snafus on the Obama Care website that started up Oct. 1 and notes: "The site, healthcare.gov, was initially going to include an option to browse before registering, but that tool was delayed..."

Too bad. The federal site, serving the 36 states that don't have their own health care exchanges, became overwhelmed in trying to do too much too soon in the application process. We shouldn't be taking potshots from afar, but systems planning that made explaining to, and serving, consumers before signing them up could have been very helpful. Yet the health care site doesn't seem to have been handled that way. Now it's being fixed under duress. Too bad — intelligent PR and marketing planning should always come first. 

(When you click on the above link to The Wall Street Journal's story, you'll be greeted by the headline and invitation to become a subscriber to The Journal, with the rest of the story locked until you do. That may not be the smartest PR on the Journal's part. A few free story reads wouldn't hurt that great institution.)

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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