June 4, 2020

Now more than ever, people need to take care of their health. Are healthcare providers sending the right messages to them?

Communicating that it is safe to get preventative care such as mammograms is essential to getting healthcare kick-started. With the advent of consumerism and the preponderance of healthcare information, we now have an “army” of informed healthcare consumers in our country. Where have they been during this pandemic? What happened to preventative medicine or annual medical procedures/treatments?

News reports indicate that consumers are afraid to approach an emergency room for fear of being exposed to COVID-19. Even visits to primary care physicians are significantly down, as consumers are taking sheltering in place seriously.

An open-heart surgeon in Connecticut has turned to providing critical care medicine, because he was not seeing people with heart attacks or other cardiac issues coming to his hospital.

So, how does a healthcare provider assure patients that it is safe to use their healthcare system for routine, urgent and emergency care? Communication, communication, communication.

Internal Messaging

Keep your internal audiences informed on all the measures you are taking to elevate infectious disease prevention in your organization. Often, our own staff are unaware of all that is going on because they are focused in their area.

External Messaging … but from the consumer’s perspective

Prior to COVID-19, safety in healthcare was usually discussed in terms of core measures. These measures are not understood by consumers.

  • They want to know if they have to wait in their cars to be called into the ED or their PCP office.
  • Will only the patient be allowed in exam rooms? What about pediatric visits?
  • What kind of testing of staff is being done to ensure that patients feel safe coming into your facilities?

General Public or Brand Messaging

Now is the time to visit your brand communications. Stressing safety and that healthcare providers are a community resource is critical to your message. It is absolutely essential to let the community know all that you are doing to protect them while providing primary, urgent and emergency care.

  • Most importantly, keep your website/app updated with COVID-19 and facility updates. Your website traffic should be higher than normal, given pent-up demand.