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Midwest Agencies See Healthcare Boom

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CHICAGO - Healthcare advertising agencies that fail to embrace change and reinvent themselves may go the way of the current healthcare system itself, which President Bill Clinton last week pledged to substantially overhaul.
But many Midwest healthcare marketing leaders are optimistic, believing that if agencies that find new ways to service healthcare providers, most of whom are just as confused about the changes ahead as healthcare consumers, the pending reforms could mean one of the largest marketing growth periods in recent history.
Healthcare agency executives see several areas of potential growth for marketing services, including medical information and marketing for health care providers, including managed care companies, insurance companies, hospitals, health maintenance organizations and clinics.
'I think there's going to be tremendous opportunities, with the companies that will ultimately make up these alliances, to help consumers shift to a prevention system,' said Dick McDonald, president McDonald Davis & Associates/Milwaukee, which handles several hospital and healthcare clients.
'There is a lot of opportunity out there,' said John Bruton, McCann Healthcare Worldwide, Chicago, evp/managing director. 'We think one of the biggest growth areas for healthcare communicators is going to be interactive technology.'
However, the outlook for pharmaceutical companies, which represent a large portion of health care agency business, is mixed. While pharmaceutical companies are expected to broaden their marketing communications to include new audiences, the beating they are expected to take on price will affect ad budgets negatively. New product launches are expected to decline as well.
'Our clients are facing new obstacles and tremendous uncertainty and it's our job to be a resource for them . . . to help them overcome obstacles,' said Glenn DeSimone, president of Medicus Intercon U.S.A./New York.
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