filipino doctors

Community Management & PR in the Healthcare Industry

Movers in the pharmaceutical and health industries are now online, and it should come as no surprise. In the Philippines, 83% of the population are active Internet users. 

According to a 2023 study, 60% of all Internet usage in the Philippines is related to researching health issues and healthcare products. This means that when Filipinos experience symptoms, the first course of action isn’t to get in touch with a doctor. Instead, they try to learn more about their condition and search for the best possible treatments through online resources.

This is a huge opportunity for healthcare providers to meet patients where they are, to provide quality, reliable service right when people need it, and to debunk medical myths where they proliferate. 

It also means that healthcare practitioners need to wear a new hat to adapt to this trend in the healthcare industry: that of the community manager.

What is Community Management in Healthcare?

Community management is a facet of public relations that deals with the mediation between service provider and consumer – in this case, healthcare providers and their patients — as well as the management of their interactions, usually online–on social media, owned and affiliate sites, and other online spaces where healthcare brands and practitioners may be present. 

This work entails:

  • Overseeing the first touchpoint between patients and healthcare providers. Whatever the intent for the first connection, be it to learn about possible treatments or search for the best doctors, community managers ensure that communication with patients creates a positive experience and encourages conversion into actual patient care.
  • Taking control of online discussions. With the widespread use of the Internet, false information is everywhere. But nowhere is it more detrimental than when it leads patients to a recourse that threatens their well-being. 

It’s the community manager’s job to make sure that their online communities have access to helpful, trustworthy resources that equip them to advocate for their own well-being, as well as get quality medical help.

Community managers also make sure that any mentions of a healthcare company are aligned with their narrative, which means acknowledging positive feedback and the careful resolution of complaints and negative press.

  • Acting as a healthcare provider’s mouthpiece. Community managers speak on behalf of the healthcare provider. Each interaction, therefore, should be aligned with its values and vision.

They also ensure that health-related content is received positively, understood by their audience, and achieves their intended results. 

Being the first point-of-contact of patients online, community managers have first-hand knowledge of what their audience needs and what they respond to, making them the best channels through which to deliver PR strategies.

  • Building communities. Community managers build communities by actively reaching out to audiences through consistent and empathetic messaging. This means that the work of community management is more than just mediation. 

It’s the active implementation of PR and marketing strategies that help position healthcare companies in the best possible position in front of their patients. That is, as credible, trustworthy agents of health services.

This also means that community management is a long-term effort, as communities are not built overnight.

Do’s and Don’ts of Interacting with Patients Online

If you’re a healthcare provider, you have to be where your patients are to expand your reach and be more effective at providing care where it’s needed. But unlike with businesses and other service providers, community management in healthcare requires a more delicate approach.

Here’s what to do and what not to do when talking to patients online:


  • Immerse yourself in your communities. There’s no better way to get a sense of what your audience needs than by immersing in your online communities. This means spending time in online groups on various social media platforms and forums to understand both your audience and the platforms that they use.

This will also enable you to adopt their language and use it in your communications, which will help you not only be relevant but also relatable.

  • Actively start discussions. You don’t have to wait for a discussion to happen or to limit yourself to merely monitoring online conversations. You can start one yourself. 

For instance, Facebook groups, which are widely used in the Philippines, are a great place for healthcare providers to start discussions on timely health-related issues or ask questions about health concerns. As a real-world example, MSD’s Hope From Within created their own Facebook specifically for lung cancer patients called Hope For Lung Cancer, in an effort to bring together patients, carers, and survivors of lung cancer in the Philippines and provide them a safe space to talk about their condition and even possibly connect with doctors that can help them through their cancer patient journey.

Owned social media groups may work, but reaching out to groups related to your target audience may help your strategy as well. Be sure to keep discussions authentic and patient-centric!

  • Be responsive. Every interaction is an opportunity for a wider, livelier discussion. Being responsive to any comment, no matter how trivial can help create traction for your posts, allowing more people to see them in their feeds.
  • Provide complete, timely information. You don’t really know how dire a patient’s condition is until you see them yourself, and the information that you give may just be what they need to bring them back to health right now

Ensure that every detail that you give is accurate and updated, enabling patients to access care as soon as possible and giving them the best chances for recovery. Yes, it starts with you.


  • Overpromise and under-deliver. Patients reaching out is always an opportunity to serve. But as exciting as it may be, it’s never a good idea to promise something you can’t reasonably deliver. If it’s not possible to get a certain type of treatment within a specific timeframe, be honest about it and refrain from giving patients any false hope.
  • Be rude or sound too transactional or impersonal. Remember that you’re speaking with patients, and they’re reaching out to you because they need help. It’s important to speak with empathy and respect, keeping in mind that healthcare should, first and foremost, be a patient-centric service.
  • Ignore negative feedback. Read a scathing criticism or complaint? Don’t delete or ignore it. Deal with it right away. Navigating bad publicity well can show others how well you resolve a conflict and your commitment to good service.
  • Shoot blindly. Set goals and metrics that will help you determine whether your efforts are paying off, as well as how best to execute PR strategies. Without these, you’ll only be relying on guesswork, in which case you shouldn’t be surprised if your audience isn’t paying attention.

Community management is a crucial step in ensuring that healthcare practitioners are exactly where they need to be–right where their patients are. Partner with NGP-IMC, a trusted PR agency in the Philippines with over 25 years of experience, and see it enliven the way you provide healthcare.

Jossaine Nunez
Jossaine Nunez is a freelance article writer, blogger, and SEO-driven maven. While her true passion lies in writing fiction, her love for storytelling extends to helping brands convey their message in ways that are both engaging and helpful for attaining their business goals. Jossaine’s interests in writing particularly about people, for people – which translates to brand audience engagement – stems from her experience as the Editor-In-Chief of Siliman University’s The Weekly Silimanian, which published slices of life and educational pieces surrounding university life. Her piece, A Review of Leoncio Deriada’s People on Guerrero Street, published in the Silliman Journal on discussions and investigations in the humanities and sciences, earmarks her foray into the world of writing about, and writing for, humans that make the world go round.