As competition in the health environment becomes increasingly fierce and the ways consumers choose to address their health needs change, there has never been a more important time for physiotherapy to be prominent, public and persuasive.
A clear and consistent message from our members has been about the APA having a greater influence in educating the public about the benefits of physiotherapy. This can be done in many ways, but the concept of having a highly visible national campaign that talks about the value of physiotherapy is an initiative that we haven’t embarked on previously.
We are in a position to change that in 2017.
For the first time, we will launch a national campaign that will encompass radio, TV and outdoor advertising. This will be supported and strengthened by an aggressive social media strategy and presence, combined with a regular level of exposure on federal political news outlets. Running from this month, we have developed a truly national approach to start the journey of consistent marketing of the physiotherapy profession and its value. At the same time, the APA will launch its new consumer website (to be found at choose.physio) which will be a place where consumers can find out accurate information regarding their health needs and how to address them.
Our national campaign is something that we will learn from as we refine, develop and expand our presence in the community. A one-off effort is not acceptable, and our focus is on building capability for the long-term with our media, community and political presence.
This is extremely exciting.
But what makes the difference between a national campaign that is positive and one that is truly successful? In July, I spent some time with the CEO of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). We talked about APTA’s national campaign to influence the opioid crisis in the US, which has been successful for a number of reasons: it was well-planned, well-executed and identifiable.
Yet, the critical reason it has been successful has been the fact that APTA members have used the focus of the campaign in their own communities and workplaces to increase its penetration and, thus, community impact. They have helped APTA to wage the war of influencing consumer behaviour and attitudes.
As part of our campaign this year, I urge all of you to join me and help to further the message and momentum in our highly competitive health environment. This is not about criticising other professions—it is about physiotherapy positioning itself in the best possible way to enable Australians to benefit from our skills, multidisciplinary commitment and holistic care.
Let’s all help Australians to Choose Physio!
Phil Calvert, APAM
APA National President
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