Over the recent times, there has been an increased use of public relations campaigns to help better various industries and sectors, not just in the USA alone, but in the world, at large. As an example, Gordon (2011) says that a survey conducted by Wanted Technologies shows that “the PR industry is hiring 10% more than it was at this time last year.”
This hiring has, however, not just been limited to industries like colleges, universities, family services or social organizations but it has spread even to delicate industries like the medical world. According to Gordon (2011), “It is no surprise that healthcare-related organizations are hiring as that is certainly an industry that is shielded a bit from cyclical ups and downs of the economy.”
Going by the increased hiring, it is therefore safe to assume that more people and organizations are finding public relations quite useful in passing some information to the public or communicating certain ideas to the targeted audiences, which, really, is a commendable thing.
As a matter of fact, amongst the numerous crucial aspects of life, health stands among the most elemental ones since it hugely determines the quality of life we live. The healthier a person is, the higher the chances are for that person to live a long life.
Of course, there are some factors like becoming a victim of an accident which also duly influence how we live. However, things like accidents are beyond our control so its best to avoid them for now.
Even more significantly, it is worth stating that the current world which is highly commercialized essentially means that the quality of life we get, including health, is immensely dependent on how financially empowered we are.
It is based on this reason that the management of financial aspects of health is extremely important, not just the people who direly require good healthcare, but also for lawmakers and policymakers who are in charge of making laws that govern the type of healthcare that we get (Finkler, 2007, pp.173-175).
Recent studies conducted by the various scholars across the world indicate that although immense progress has been made regarding the provision of good healthcare systems, there are still many strategies, policies, laws and rules that need to be put in place so as to improve the nature of the current healthcare systems.
In the USA, for example, there have been complaints regarding increased healthcare costs (in spite of the government’s promises to reduce the same), a lack of stringent rules to guide people, especially the young, on proper usage of prescribed drugs, inability to take care of the health needs of the low income families in the society or even the failure of the mass media is spreading relevant information to the public which can positively influence the current healthcare systems which are unfortunately spiraling downwards and the failure of concerned parties to own up to their mistakes and seek for improvements (Levco, 2011; & Government Printing Office, 1998, pp.15773-15778).
It is based on the above problems, or rather challenges, in America’s healthcare systems that this paper focuses on giving a circumspect documentation of a prospected public relations campaign aimed at facilitating change regarding legislations around free prescriptions for persons under the age of 16. The prospected timeline of this plan is 6 months from now. Consequently, everything planned should be put in place by then.
In furthering this public relations campaign, the paper will be orderly arranged as follows. Essentially, this paper will be arranged in two parts. The first part will be presented as follows. To begin with, an executive summary documenting the key aspects of this campaign as well as what it aims to achieve, will be give.
From there, a succinct problem statement will be given so as clearly show the problem that this proposal purposes to solve. Once that is done, a significance of the study closely followed by the aims and objectives of the proposal will be briefly detailed. A summative literature review establishing past and present details on the study will then follow.
Once the literature review is exhaustively done, the actual public relations campaign will follow detailing the planning, implementation and monitoring as well as the evaluation of the entire plan. A summary of the entire public relations campaign will then be given to recapitulate the plan.
In the part two of the paper, major emphasis will be on giving a rationale for the entire public relations plan. A justification for the intricacies of all the major areas of the first part of the paper will be done.
A conclusion, which summarizes the entire paper, will then be given thereafter. Notably, relevant concepts, ideas, facts and authoritative scholarly opinions on instituting improved healthcare, using public relations campaigns, sourced from relevant books and articles will be used to further the arguments presented herein.
Entitlement to free prescriptions by children under the age of 16 has, reportedly, been documented to present a myriad of challenges to adequate provision of healthcare. This is majorly based on the fact that a majority of these children to do not have sufficient information on how these prescribed drugs should be used.
As a result, most of them end up misusing the drugs, which presents a vista of endless hazardous possibilities to the children, their parents and the medical personnel who issue these drugs. This, therefore, presents the need for intervention by parents in the determination of whether or not these children should have access to these prescribed drugs.
Levying certain charges on prescribed drugs is, arguably, a logical move by governments based on the costly raw materials used to make these drugs or even the needs to pay the medical personnel who are have the key responsibility of keeping us healthy through their expertise and experience.
However, there is a group of vulnerable and financially challenged families who are not able to afford good healthcare systems. For such, there is a dire need for provisions to be made by the government so that public funds for medicine can be directed towards them.
By solving these two main issues, the parity in viable access to healthcare systems, whereby products and services are available for all, will be duly restored and thus help better our healthcare systems.
In addition, using parents in determining whether or not children should have access to prescribed drugs will greatly help in curbing the many negative hazards of these children getting these drugs without any form of control by their parents, or guardians, in the case of orphans.
Remarkably, the changes proposed here are only focused on the USA citizens alone since there are other provisions that are normally tailored specially for non-American citizens. Plus, in any given research, it is advisable that a pilot study is conducted, and then once it becomes successful, other areas can then be introduced progressively.
Therefore, for purposes of this proposal, we will begin by focusing on the USA citizens only and then, once success is witnessed, other people can be relevantly introduced gradually into the proposed program depending on the availability of resources.
As glimpsed in the executive summary, there are two major problems. These are as follows:
- Currently, there is an unregulated access to prescribed drugs by children below the age of 16 years which presents a myriad of problems, as will be explicatively detailed in the literature review.
- Financially challenged and poor families are finding it difficult to cope with the high costs of some prescribed drugs.
Delving deep into the intricacies of these two problems, we find other related problems like the failed role of the media in agenda-setting and routing for change, the lack of sufficient cooperation by stakeholders such as the government and the medical experts in offering viable solutions to these problems, and the failed role of the general public as well as concerned private entities like NGOs in fighting for the direly needed change in our healthcare systems.
It is with these problems, among many other that will be duly detailed later, that this public relations campaign proposal is written.
Significance of Study
As detailed in the above sections, the USA, indeed, has its fair share of challenges and limitations in the effort to fight some inefficacies in the regulation of medical systems. On top of that, there are many other fundamental dynamics of healthcare systems in the USA with regards to the aforementioned problems that have not yet been covered by existing literature and documentations.
Consequently, the prospected research to be conducted will not only provide additional ways of solving the USA’s earlier stated medical challenges but it will also spotlight other crucial scholarly areas that might have been ignored by previous scholars.
In other words, this study will offer more insight into ways in which healthcare systems in the USA can be bettered. Other significances of this study are embodied in the aims and objectives which are concisely stated below.
Aims and Objectives
The major aim and objective of the proposed public relations campaign is to critically analyze the nature of problems being faced with regards to access to prescribed drugs by children below 16 years and the availability of drugs to low-income earning families.
Once the nature of these problems have been assessed, the relevant solutions, via adequate public relations campaigns, will be duly proposed. In doing so, the following sub-aims and objectives will be dealt with:
- Doing circumspect analysis of the nature of the aforementioned healthcare problems from the past, venturing into the present and prospecting into the future.
- Determining the causes and effects of the healthcare malpractices in the USA
- Proposing ways in which these healthcare challenges and problems can be solved.
- Channeling the right public relations campaign strategies, techniques and tools to help improve healthcare systems in the USA, and the world at large.
- Detailing the roles that should be played by various stakeholders (the government, health insurance firms, medical experts, private organizations and the general public) in solving the eminent healthcare problems.
With regards to the healthcare problems facing the USA, in terms of unregulated access to healthcare by under-aged children (children below 16 years), as well as the lack of fitting policies, funds and resources to take care of the low income earners, several causes, effects and proposed solutions have been presented by previous scholars. These are briefly summarized categorically in the literature review that is done below:
According to Stone (2010), the major problem that has led to the lack of proper regulations to govern healthcare systems in the USA, is the government failure to stamp its authority. To expound on this, Stone says that ever since the US president Barrack Obama got into power and promised changes in healthcare systems, very little has been done so far.
According to Eggen (2011), majority of the USA public feel that President Obama’s government has not done much in bettering today’s healthcare thus today’s eminence of problems that were faced a decade ago.
In addition, Eggen asserts that most stakeholders in the health sector tend to concentrate so much on getting profits from sale of prescribed drugs rather than focusing on helping those in real need (like the poor in the society) or even putting stringent legal regulations that can help curbing any form of drug misuse by under-aged children
Levco (2011), however, points his fingers to the never-ending blame game by the involved parties whereby “attorneys, doctors, hospitals, consumers, and pharmaceutical companies” shift blames on one another rather than focusing on joining hands and finding ways of moving forward.
In close relations to the above point, Johnson et al. (2006) says that the major problem being faced, with regards to the regulation of policies in a way that young people do not access prescribed drugs without proper precautions being taken, is that the various stakeholders are not vigilant enough.
To exemplify the above point, Johnson et al. (2006) use the abortion debate as an example and document of the way young boys and girls (below the age of 16 years) easily engage in unhealthy practices like safe sex based on the assurance that they can easily get prescribed abortion pills straight from medical centers without any problem.
With such practices in place, stakeholders like the government and medical are undoubtedly to blame.
Other common causes of problems related to children’s unregulated access to prescribed drugs or the lack of sufficient provisions for families with low income include: access to technologies like the internet where even under-aged children can masquerade themselves as adults and access these drugs easily, a lack of mobilization of relevant parties in the institutionalization of policies that can help poor families to get merited access to these drugs, and the prominence of power-play in the medical world whereby issues such as politics dictate the manner in which people get access to drugs, for example, the more connected you are to powerful politicians, the easier it is for you to access funds or drugs even if you do not really qualify to get them (ScienceDaily, 2011, Eggen, 2011, Marmor, 2000, pp.180-186; Stone, 2010, Johnson et al., 2006).
Several health complications ranging from headaches to death have resulted from healthcare malpractices regarding children’s unregulated access of prescribed drugs of the unavailability of drugs for the poor people.
According to Johnson et al. (2006), easy access to drugs is the major reason behind cases of unhealthy practices like unsafe sex by teenagers, abortions and early teenage preconceptions. This is based on the fact that most of these children either do not know how to use the prescribed drugs properly or they misuse the freedom that they can easily access the prescribed drugs.
Additionally, cases of drug poisoning and other health complications—some of which have led to permanent medical ailments of even death—have also been reported based on the unregulated use of drugs by teenagers (Johnson et al., 2006).
Other than the common effects like worsening of health complications or even death due to no access of medical care by people poor families; such victims face other psychologically related problems like trauma, neglect and no sense of belonging—which can lead to many other adverse effects (Stapleton et al., 2011). It is therefore vital that such effects are mitigated by uprooting the earlier mentioned root-causes.
Solutions and Recommendations
Preliminarily, it is worth mentioning that some regions in the USA, organizations and individuals have been able to come out strongly in supporting the agenda of instituting better healthcare systems. Some of the positive efforts that have been put in place, so far, are exemplified below.
According to Lewis (2011), organizations like the Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg, a non-profit organization providing martial arts therapy and other related health services, has been able to do a lot in helping needy families.
Levco (2011) also exemplifies how the public relations efforts of the Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina organization has been able to encourage health stakeholders to own up to their mistakes rather than blaming one another unnecessarily.
Finally, FoxNews.com (2011) and Stone (2011) also report of the increased public relations campaigns, especially via electronic media, which have been increasingly used by the USA government to lobby for better healthcare practices to be put in place.
Moreover, several public relations initiatives have been recommended to help better the current healthcare systems. A good example here is the recommendation of reduction of costs and restructuring of health policies by the White House (in collaboration with other related agencies) such that they are tailored in a better way that can equitably serve the needs of everyone in the society (Stone, 2011).
Other recommendations that have been issued include: the development of more stringent policies to regulate access to drugs by under-aged children, more policies being put in place to help the poor people in shouldering their heavy medical needs; increased collaboration by the involved parties, among many others.
However, going by the statistics regarding the continued prevalence of healthcare problems in the USA, as discussed earlier, it is extremely necessary that more is done by the involved parties. Principally, it is with this in mind that the public relations campaign below is proposed.
The Public Relations Campaign Plan
In essence, there are several dynamics of the campaign plan that should be duly documented herein. However, not all of them can be exhaustively represented in this proposal. Therefore, in the section below, only the major areas will be discussed, with other areas only being partially detailed and explicated—using the subtopics below.
According to Campbell et al. (2000, pp.1-4), planning is the most fundamental part of any given research; without a proper plan, then all the other facets are as good as not attempted. It is for this reason that a SMART (specific measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) plan is purposed for this public relations campaign. Below is a summary of this plan.
Essentially, this proposed public relations campaign will follow the standard procedure of most researches where we will begin by problem definition, research into the problem and finding viable ways of instituting the relevant changes (using relevant public relations tools) and then the actual implementation of the solutions from the program.
This will then be followed by a clear evaluation of the implementations. A clear brake-down of the exact procedure and timeline that will be followed here will be given later in form of a table
As earlier mentioned, the implementations of the public relations campaign will only be centralized on the USA citizens. Once notable progress is made, other audiences will be gradually introduced into the program depending on the availability of funds and resources.
Primarily, the targeted audience here is divided into two categories: persons below the age of 16 years and their parents (for purposes of changing trends on unregulated access to prescribed drugs) and poor families that cannot access good health services and products based on their poor finances.
Secondarily, messages will be tailored for stakeholders like the government, hospitals, relevant private and public people and organizations, over-the-counter prescribed drug stores, and law-making institutions (especially those dealing directly with health laws), among others.
Since implementing the whole of the program in the whole of the USA is virtually impossible, the public relations campaigns will be piloted in Illinois, Chicago. This region was specifically selected based on my vast knowledge of the area and the eminence of poor health regulations in the area. Other justifications will be given in part two.
Public relations Campaign Tools
In today’s world, the use of technologies in conducting public relations campaigns is greatly pronounced and preferred by most audiences. It is for this reason that online public relations tools will be used. More specifically, social media campaigns (through social forums like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) will be conducted with messages specifically tailored to meet our aims and objectives.
Other than the use of social forums, public relations messages will also be placed in selective newspapers and magazines in form of banners and short captivating messages. Such messages are essentially targeting people who rely more on print media for their media messages.
In addition, messages will also be spread through popular radio and televisions networks in the selected region. Finally, the use of road shows and word of mouth public relations campaigns, especially towards the final months of the planned campaign, will be relevantly used. By combining all these tools, a good blend of information spread is bound to happen to the targeted audiences.
Much of what is entailed in the budget to be used in achieving the objectives of this proposal are yet to be representatively disclosed by the finance experts to the relevant parties. Nonetheless, a cumulative rough estimate of $20 million is humbly required from donors so as to support the funds that have so far been, reportedly, accumulated from various quarters.
The highly confidential nature of the budget is, essentially, the reason why it will only be sent to the relevant leadership in the company, as well as to those people who have affirmed their interest in participating in soliciting funds for this project.
A highly detailed and informative budget will be sent or hand-delivered by our financial personnel to such people. However, a clearly accountable documentation of all the collected and used funds will be given publicly once the pilot project is in motion.
As mentioned earlier, this project is to take place in six months. All the plans detailed above as well as the rest that will be detailed below will be strictly and adherently done within this duration.
If all goes as planned, as we strongly hope, then the implementation of the program will be done immediately the essentialities of the campaign are in place, six months from now. As a key note, all the relevantly involved parties should ensure that they play accordingly for the smooth success of this campaign.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Making a follow-up on a project, through proper monitoring, and evaluation is an irreplaceably important part of a project. It is only by doing so that we can be able to assess whether or not a project met its desired objectives.
For purposes of this project, a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis will be combined with a PESTEL (political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal) to monitor and evaluate the success or failure of the project.
The committee that planned this public relations campaign, chaired by me and overseen by the supervisor of this proposal, will be in-charge of doing all the monitoring and evaluation. Then, depending on the success or failure of the project, relevant measures will be taken.
Summary of the P.R Campaign Plan
The table given in the below summarizes the entire project detailing the key areas and the timeline of each event.
|Month||Public relations campaign Event|
|January||Definition of problems, market analysis and launching of campaigns through the placement of adverts in online sites.|
|February||Placement of advertisements for the health messages in print media (both online and in the usual hard-copy)|
|March||Assessment of progress made by the advertisement majorly media based on the Four P’s (product, promotion, place and price). Once the assessments have been made, viable recommendations are made for further implementation. At this stage, there will also be introduction of more messages through public relations platforms like radio, TV, billboards, brochures and word of mouth.|
|April – May||Re-launching of the ads (taking into account the recommendations)|
|June||Overall assessment of the performance by the public relations campaigns within the six months, making of recommendations and release into the actual market.|
Rationale for the P. R. Campaign
In rationalizing the need and necessity for the public relations campaign as well as the strategies chosen, the justifications will be given using the main subtopics that were used in section one, as detailed below.
Rationale for Significance of the Study
In conducting any given research, it is extremely important that a particular scholarly purpose is achieved. In other words, there should be some important significance of doing any research.
The significance of this study is therefore highly justified based on the fact that the purposed research to be conducted will not only provide additional methods of solving the USA’s earlier stated medical challenges but it will also spotlight other crucial scholarly areas that might have been ignored by previous scholars. In effect, this offers scholarly continuity by linking the past, the present and the future.
On top of that, a scholarly platform, having relevant information, will be laid thus making it easy for future studies to be conducted on the same or related issues addressed herein.
Rationale for Aims and Objectives
Aims and objectives simply delineate the scope that any given research is to cover. In general terms, scope refers to the breadth of the project, what it entails and crucially, what is expected of it in terms of achieving its purposed objectives.
Baars (2006) states that the vastness in the scope of a project creates the threat of leading to divided attention on various project issues. In effect, this fundamentally corrodes the value of objectivity in the program. For this reason, Baars recommends that the aims and objectives of project should be definitely focused towards particular areas of study.
It is based on the above advice that this project centrally focuses on analyzing the intrinsic nature of problems being faced with regards to access to prescribed drugs by children below 16 years and the availability of drugs to low-income earning families.
In doing so, the sub-aims and objectives of simply establishing causes, effects and solutions as well as recommendations to the problem, in hand, are given. The aims and objectives are therefore duly justified.
Rationale for Literature Review
In essence, several studies have been conducted by various scholars on the general nature of healthcare in the USA. However, very few studies have been reportedly conducted on the plight of poor families getting access to the medical care they need as well as the unregulated nature of children’s access to prescribed drugs. In most instances, complains can be heard on the streets, and at best, through unverifiable surveys on the society.
As a result, the cries and murmurs of such people end up not reaching the targeted parties who are mandated with the responsibility of facilitating change and positive progress in the healthcare sector.
Admittedly, this lack of adequate literature on the proposed study and planned campaigns in this paper made it extremely difficult to establish a pinpointed connection between the previous studies and the current study.
In fact, it is based on this reason that most examples tended to be from a generalized perspective rather than the needed specific approach. Nevertheless, substantial arguments and reports were availed in the best way possible to establish the needed connection between the literatures.
Rationale for Planning of the Campaign
The planning of the public relations campaign was a very key area and that is the reason why several issues and factors were keyed in. A justification of these plans is detailed below, following the respective order that they were given in part one.
In justifying the audience, it is elemental to state that poor choice of an audience makes it difficult for research to be done effectively. It is on this basis that the chosen the primary and secondary audience was done in a careful and precariously selective manner. In addition, clearly identifying the audience makes it very easy for messages to be tailored rightfully.
For example, having selected children below 16 years as being part of the primary audience, it was relatively easy to chose social networks as one of the main tools of tailoring messages to them.
This is based on the popularity of social networks in spreading messages to the youth (Donovan & Henley, 2010, pp.10-20). The secondarily chosen were, on the other hand, justifiably necessary based on the multifaceted nature of the problems in this proposal
With regards to the aspect of location, it is undoubtedly difficult to conduct a research of this nature in a huge area. This is based on the fact that choosing a wide location will make it difficult to do the research and implement the prospected campaigns based on the limitation in terms of manpower, funds and resources.
On top of that, sampling information on a wide area will take a lot time, yet we only have six months to plan, implement and evaluate the entire project. Plus, if the proposed campaigns in Illinois are successful, successful; chances of adoption of the idea will be high based on the popularity of Illinois, Chicago. Selection of Illinois, Chicago as our pilot area, was therefore duly deserved and appropriate, to say the least.
In the determination of costs, confidentiality, accountability and precision are key elements that should be duly balanced. It was, therefore, extremely necessary that a professional balance is ensued in our campaign plans. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how one chooses to look at it, a detailed brake-down of the required finances was not given for purposes of confidentiality.
In most cases, detailing such financial plans may seem as a good idea. However, the probability of corruption or theft cases emerge once such details are given to the public is normally high since malicious people thrive on such knowledge. It is for this reason that the safe option of not disclosing the exact details of the financials, until actual implementation, was chosen.
On the aspect of time, the only justification worth being stated here is that the time given for the entire campaigns is six months. It thus follows that everything has been planned to adherently fit in this timeline.
As a matter of fact, contingencies such as delays in some aspects of the project were factored appropriately. Consequently, we expect that everything will go on as planned even if some anticipated delays occur.
Finally, the following are the justifications for the public relations campaign tools chosen for the prospected plan. Essentially, various consumers have varied preferences of mass media (Rodriguez, 2009, pp.2-4).
It is on the basis of the above fact that the proposed campaign inculcates the use of various public relations (mass media) tools. Plus, by using these various tools, we get an assurance that the targeted audiences will have access to our messages. Finally, various mass media tools have their unique strengths and weaknesses so by blending them, the tools intermittently augment the efficacy of the others by reinforcing one another.
Rationale for Implementation of the Campaign
By far and large, the implementation stage is normally important just like the planning stage. Without proper structures of implementation being in place, chances of the project become inherently high.
It is for this reason that an empathic call was made to all the relevantly involved parties to ardently play their part in ensuring the success of purposed campaign. It is only through genuine cooperation by all the involved parties that the plan can bear positive fruition.
Rationale for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Campaign
Monitoring and evaluation are two project stages that are interdependent on one another and that is the reason they are normally done concurrently. In monitoring and evaluation of a project, an assessment of relevance, understanding, performance, efficiency, coverage, sustainability and impact of the project is done. By doing all these, we are able to discover deficiencies in a project and fix them or alternatively better a good project.
The choice of the SWOT and PESTEL tools was done in order to analyze various aspects of the project. Notably, the table given in the summary shows that there is an evaluation done in the middle of the project before the final one done at the end of the project.
The reason for doing a monitor and evaluation in the middle of the project is to help fix any small problems that might be limiting full efficacy of the project. In addition, this evaluation helps in preventing adverse losses, especially in high-profile projects, while making it easy to logically predict the final outcome.
On the other hand, doing a final monitoring and evaluation of the project helps us to know whether or not to implement the campaign in actual market, changes that should be made or even forecast on what the future of the project holds for us.
Just like any project, our proposed campaign may result in success or failure. In fact, we anticipate some challenges and limitations (like the unavailability of enough books and articles with regards to what should be done on the proposed campaign). However, there are apt precautions currently in place to help avert them.
For example, during the definition of the problem and market analysis; in-depth primary research will be conducted using interviews and questionnaires so as to gather more information on our target audiences.
Such information will not only supplement the secondary data from books and internet sources but it will also offer us more insights into better ways of tailoring our messages and implementing our strategies. This, therefore, acts as an assurance that the prospected will run smoothly and be completed within the above-mentioned schedule.
Remarkably, a few minor adjustments may be made on aspects like time depending on the assessment and approval of this proposed campaign by the relevant authorities. Nonetheless, most of the points and projections stipulated here will remain constant.
As stated earlier, this public relations campaign requires everyone involved to ardently play his/her part. Only by doing this that, we can have some assurance that our plans will be foolproof of the usual project hiccups and the never ending unforeseen logistical challenges. So far, a surmountable amount of funds and resources towards the campaign have already been pledged or given by some people.
If more help can be harnessed, the success of this crucial campaign, which helps at bettering our healthcare systems, will be greatly improved. It is for this reason that we humbly ask for support in any possible ways, whether through money, moral support or even man-power.
In finality, it is inherent to state that professional guidance in a high-profile campaign of this nature is extremely important. In this proposal, for example, I would have not been able to do much had it not been for the priceless guidance from my supervisor.
It is therefore vital that periodic guidance for professionals is sought at each stage of the project. This will immensely help in avoiding unnecessary mistakes which limit objectivity, accuracy and precision.
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