Health Industry Groups Team Up to Better Communication

Article excerpt

Two unlikely partners have formed a coalition to deal with the rapidly changing health care industry.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization, a 6-year-old association based in the District, and the American Hospital Association, founded in Chicago in 1898, are teaming to increase communication between their industries.

This is the first partnership that BIO has formed with another association, and the first alliance outside the health care provider industry for the AHA.

"It's a neat way for organizations to think about the future together. It opens up a dialogue between fields that haven't traditionally had a dialogue but are moving toward the same point," said Jack Lord, chief operating officer of the hospital association.

BIO President Carl B. Feldbaum said it was important for the two groups' members to understand each other's perspectives.

"What brought this on was a mutual recognition that small companies in our industry were developing breakthrough drugs that would greatly affect the administration of medical care, particularly in hospitals," Mr. Feldbaum said.

"Their members and our members are part of the same chain of development and administration of new products", he said. "But they've been isolated in the past in their own perspectives."

The two groups' leaders are still working out the details of the partnership. Each association will contribute articles to the other's newsletter. They may collaborate on conferences.

In addition to education and communication, the organizations hope to have more influence over policy through the alliance. They will address issues such as patient privacy and Medicare changes, and say their combined voice will give them increased political strength.

ALUMINUM NOW

The Aluminum Association put out its first glossy magazine, called Aluminum Now, on Wednesday

The group, which represents 50 aluminum manufacturers, previously published a monthly newsletter. The new magazine, which is also a monthly publication, will be targeted to policy-makers and member companies' customers.

J. Stephen Larkin, president of the association, said consolidation in the aluminum industry has forced the trade group to adapt. The magazine is a way for the organization to gain visibility.

"There really has been a change in our industry," Mr. Larkin said. "There's also been a change in what the industry sees it wants from our association. And because of the changes in the industry and for that matter other industries - industries that manufacture competitive materials - we wanted to make sure that we got out our story in a way that helped our members."

Aluminum Now will be structured like a journal, with each issue including a CEO spotlight and a guest column from a public policy official. …