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Case Studies

Developing communications campaigns that attract media and policymaker attention can be a high stakes endeavor. Our track record reflects BrickHouse Communications’ success working with clients to develop targeted strategies that maximize results and support clients’ health care objectives. Whether that involves public affairs or executing a brand recognition strategy, BrickHouse has the experience to support your needs.

Winning a National Legislative Battle

From early 2019 to late 2020, one of the most fiercely contested legislative fights in years took place over the topic of surprise medical billing. On one side was the health insurance industry and the other were emergency room physicians, air ambulances, anesthesiologists, and other health care providers all of whom were trying to achieve reasonable reimbursement for their services. Simultaneously, the providers wanted to protect patients from unexpected medical bills that occurred when insurance did not pay the full cost of care.


Working with the world’s largest medical transportation company, BrickHouse Communication’s founder led a team of communicators that created an earned media campaign using targeted national and local pitching, satellite media tours, deskside briefings, local op-ed placements, and a syndicated broadcast story that played in more than a dozen markets. The earned media campaign was supported by a digital media and social campaign that promoted content to Capitol Hill offices and in more than a dozen select Congressional districts. Over the course of a two-day shoot, the campaign filmed enough content to produce four, 30 second television commercials that were aired in Washington, DC, as well as the local markets of 15 critical members of Congress. 


In the end, the campaign accumulated 2,178 media placements, collateral materials for 38 states explaining the benefit of air medical services, one-pagers detailing when and how air ambulances are deployed, numerous videos, and polling information detailing consumer support for air medical services. In late 2020, legislation supported by the air medical industry was enacted into law.

Defining A Path Forward in HIV Care

Working on behalf of the world’s leading developer of HIV treatments, BrickHouse Communications’ CEO led an international team of health care experts who developed a stakeholder engagement process to produce a policy paper in conjunction with 27 HIV patient advocates from around the world. Beginning early in 2021, the team created a series of issue briefs on six topic areas that we felt were critical to defining the future of treatment success for people living with HIV. 


The communications team then engaged a noted academic leader to convene a series of three roundtable discussions (one for the U.S., one for the E.U., Canada and U.K, and one for the rest of the world) that discussed the issue briefs in depth and offered critical feedback. The issue briefs were then collapsed into one policy paper that was refined through multiple rounds of edits from stakeholders. Our team managed the integration of all edits and the certification of the paper by the client’s medical and legal review teams in time for the paper to be released at an international HIV/AIDS conference in October 2021.


With completion of the paper, the team is undertaking an amplification strategy utilizing thought leadership and social media promotion coupled with dissemination through the roundtables’ participants and the company’s worldwide government affairs team. 

Protecting Environmental and Worker Health

After witnessing their competitors offshore dangerous recycling processes to countries with less stringent environmental and worker health protections, a leading recycler asked for help focusing national attention on the topic after being re-buffed by the Obama Administration. Working with a small team of communications professionals, BrickHouse’s leadership developed a multi-pronged approach that combined third party research, grassroots activism, and earned media outreach.


After identifying and educating a well-respected NGO about the topic, we stepped back and let it create a report that we were confident would vindicate our client’s positioning. During the six to eight months it took to research and compile the report, our team supported the creation of a grassroots group to drive earned media and engage environmental and worker health organizations. The group conducted polling, drafted letters to government agencies, and pushed policymakers to address the topic.


As the report neared completion, we engaged the New York Times to review the report and talk to several stakeholders. The Times then began an investigation to confirm the data in the NGO’s report, travel to Mexico to see the situation, and do its own reporting. After several more months, the New York Times produce a front page, above-the-fold story detailing the health and environmental effects of foreign recycling. A follow-on story in the Washington Post by a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter cemented the importance of the topic. As a result of our efforts, a federal rule making process and an international standard process were initiated, and a review and published report condemning the foreign recycling by an officially chartered organization of the U.S., Mexican, and Canadian governments helped our client achieve their business objectives.

Building a Stronger Reputation Through Media

Despite being nearly 18 years old and billing itself as the “voice of practicing physicians” this national foundation was not a top-of-mind resource for either physicians or health media. With substantial resources at its disposal the foundation was investing in academic research on critical topics, fielding in-depth survey research of physicians, and supporting policy forums to advance policy discussions. However, after recognizing their profile was still limited the foundation’s Board of Directors decided to look for a new communications partner. 


Working with his teammates at a previous agency, BrickHouse Communication’s CEO won the business and set out to create a program that concentrated efforts on two areas where the foundation had been early funders and strong voices: physician well-being and Social Determinants of Health (SDOH). 


As early funders into academic research and books on SDOH, the foundation also had provided crucial funding to one of the country’s first organization seeking to improve patient health by addressing SDOH. What’s more, the foundation had been asking physicians about their patient’s experiences with SDOH in their annual survey. The agency team initiated an editorial calendar that developed story ideas, thought leadership pieces, social media content and collateral materials that positioned the foundation on as the definitive physician experts on SDOH. 


As the team pursued SDOH, it also created a campaign called, Vital Signs: Attend to Your Well Being, which focused on physician well-being. For years, the foundation’s surveys had tracked the growing burnout rate among physicians. Recognizing the foundation needed to do more on well-being our team developed Vital Signs in order to provide physicians, their colleagues and loved ones a simple measurement scale to self-monitor well-being. Using the acronym, HEART, each vital sign (Health, Emotions, Attitude, Relationships, Temperament) supports a personal crisis management plan to help physicians address their well-being. Most importantly, the campaign, which won multiple awards, continues to eliminate the stigma that often prevents physicians from discussing burnout.


As COVID-19 swept the nation and the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on traditionally underserved communities was seen, and issues related to physician burnout became front and center, the foundation substantially raised its profile and cemented its rightful leadership as the voice of practicing physicians.

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