So rarely is healthcare marketing a beautiful thing.

The television commercials are boring, replete with mind-numbing lists of side effects. The social media efforts have as much resonance as teachers talking in a Charlie Brown comic. And the detail aids ramble on for 20 pages teasing out the minor differences between competitive medications.

But Angelina’s decision to have a double mastectomy shows healthcare marketing’s inner potential. By pairing the sexy science of genomic medicine with the breathtaking boldness of patient empowerment, Angelina has given us a glimpse into it’s beautiful potential. Like an ugly duckling, a beautiful swan awaits in the future.

That is, if the marketing focuses on bringing highly targeted medications to market in a way that patients can understand, act on and pay for.

Consider the science—it’s truly mind-boggling. Take for example, exon skipping and muscular dystrophy. Through genetic testing, we can identify which teeny tiny piece of a gene is missing, what impact it has on patient functioning and most importantly, devise a medication to bridge the gap. Beautiful healthcare marketing will focus on bringing this science to life versus bludgeoning the competition.

And then there’s the promise of true patient empowerment. Prodded by increasing responsibility for healthcare costs and enabled by technology and transparency, patients are taking charge. With efforts like Minnesota’s D5Five Goals for Living Well with Diabetes, patients choose clinics that have the best record of treating their diabetes. With the recent revelations by Health and Human Services about the cost of common hospital inpatient services across the nation, patients vote with their pocketbooks. With the explosion of genomic testing, patients find out what diseases they are at risk for and take action. Beautiful healthcare marketing will provide the decision support needed patients sort through the options.

But not everyone faces life as fearlessly as Angelina Jolie. Nor do many patients as she notes in her amazing New York Times Op-Ed, My Medical Choicehave the resources to access it, in terms of both overcoming fear and financial limitations. Extended outreach, support and skill building will be necessary to make sure everyone benefits from the genomic revolution. And beautiful healthcare marketing can play an important role.

Thanks for letting us share.