The West Wireless Health Institute is serious about spreading the word that technology can lower health care costs. The San Diego nonprofit organization has hired Mindy Tucker Fletcher, an executive from Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, to fill the newly created role of vice president of strategic communications.

“We need to signal loud and clear that there are real solutions to this crisis of soaring health care costs,” said Gary West, founder and chairman of the two-year-old institute. He said that Fletcher “will enable us to effectively align our communications initiatives with our work to lower health care costs.”

In Fletcher’s previous role as senior vice president for Ogilvy, she advised corporate, government and nonprofit clients. Before that, she served in government and politics for more than 10 years, including six years on Capitol Hill.

At the West Wireless Institute, one of her top goals is to “brand San Diego as the hub in America for health care innovation,” she said. “That’s one of the important messages we try to weave in all of our communications.”

Fletcher said that many key elements of her communication strategy are still in the works. “It’s going to be a busy fall,” she said, adding that messages will seek to reach many audiences, including lawmakers. “With the legislative audience, our message is that we care about lowering the cost of health care through technology,” she said.

The Gary and Mary West Foundation has committed nearly $100 million to the institute since March 2009, with $55 million earmarked for internal biomedical research and development.

— Kelly Quigley