How COVID-19 Reshaped Healthcare Consumerism & 4 Key Trends to Know for 2021

How COVID-19 Reshaped Healthcare Consumerism & 4 Key Trends to Know for 2021

What You Should Know:

– NRC Health today released its 2021 Healthcare Consumer
Trends Report, which surveyed 2 million healthcare consumers against the
backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

– The latest report highlights the major trends that came to light last year, and how they will continue to impact the healthcare industry in 2021 and beyond – from declining brand loyalty, increased care deferment, the fast adoption of telehealth, a rise in wearable tech, and a broader focus on social media marketing.

– Hospital leaders will also find value in learning how
to recapture patient volumes lost in 2020 and how to bring more human
understanding into the care experience.


NRC Health, a provider of in-depth
customer intelligence in healthcare, today released its 2021 Healthcare Consumer Trends Report. For its
third-annual industry review, NRC Health surveyed millions of healthcare
consumers against the backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. From
declining brand loyalty, increased care deferment, the fast adoption of
telehealth, a rise in wearable tech and a broader focus on social media
marketing, NRC Health’s latest report shines a light on consumers’ evolving
preferences and behaviors related to key healthcare trends and offers insight
into how provider organizations can recapture patient volumes in 2021.


COVID-19 Accelerated the Trajectory of Consumerism in
Healthcare

“It cannot be overstated just how dramatically COVID-19 has accelerated the trajectory of consumerism in healthcare,” said Helen Hrdy, Chief Growth Officer, NRC Health. “The onus falls on healthcare leaders to move the industry forward by ensuring patient safety, building consumer trust and bringing more human understanding into every care experience. Those organizations that are willing and able to evolve with the times will be best-positioned for success in the aftermath of COVID-19.”

“For years, consumers have made consistent appeals for autonomy, convenience, and freedom of choice,” said Hrdy. “As unsettling as it’s been, COVID-19 has brought some of these consumerist-driven measures to the forefront. While healthcare leaders have proven they can be nimble and adaptable, even in the face of crisis, consumers want a partnership with their providers and a care experience that exceeds their expectations moving forward. But only with the right data and the right understanding, can we ensure that healthcare is capable of adapting.”


4 Key Healthcare Consumerism Trends to Know in 2021

1. Consumers favor convenience, provider rapport over brand loyalty

Consumer loyalty is a major driver of health system
profitability, but unfortunately for hospitals and health systems, overall
brand preference among healthcare consumers continues to decline, from 31% in
2018 to 36% in 2020. More than a third of consumers expressed no particular
preference for a healthcare brand, when compared against independent
practitioners, and 62% anticipate their brand preferences to change after the
pandemic.

Ironically, providers themselves are in the best position to
earn back consumer trust. An analysis from NRC Health’s Real-time Feedback
database shows that consumers report an overwhelming fondness for their
providers, especially since the outbreak began. To capitalize on that goodwill
and bring patients back into the healthcare fold, all evidence points to
convenience. Almost half of consumers say a convenient location is the number
one factor in their healthcare decision-making.


2. Patient deferment rates will continue to rise

Prior to the pandemic, healthcare deferral rates were
approaching a five-year low. But with consumer anxiety at an all-time high due
to the pandemic, those rates rose significantly in 2020, up from 22.4% at the
end of March to 30.4% by the end of June. Forty percent of patients who delayed
care in 2020 cited the coronavirus as the reason, while 17.2% said they prefer
to manage their care on their own for now.

Delaying care can have a number of repercussions, from
threatening hospital revenue streams in the near term to causing far more
serious outcomes for consumers in the long term. Patients 75 and older
accounted for nearly 68% of all care delays, revealing a huge challenge for
health systems as they try to recruit this generation back into regular care.


3. Future of care delivery looks
uncertain after rapid telehealth adoption

Lagging in widespread adoption for years, the pandemic fast
tracked virtual care delivery from optional luxury to operational necessity.
Fortunately, consumers have been receptive to the shift, with an overwhelming
92% reporting positive telehealth experiences during this time. However, only
27% of consumers say they will consider telehealth as a potential alternative
for future visits, underscoring what is still an uncertain future for virtual
health and overall care delivery beyond the pandemic. Prioritizing provider
time and attentiveness, as well as financial transparency, will be key as
healthcare organizations work to cultivate effective telehealth practices long
term.


4. Patients and providers still disconnected over digital
innovations

Telehealth
may have brought healthcare into consumers’ homes, but it is by no means the
only avenue to reach customers outside of the healthcare facility. By and
large, consumers are enthusiastic about digital innovations that bring them
closer to their provider — even as these innovations are underutilized by
healthcare organizations.

Wearable
tech
, for example, has become a huge part of the average consumer’s daily
life in regards to how they manage their health and wellness from home. Yet
only 50% of providers are asking about wearable tech data during appointments,
despite the fact that 57% of consumers believe this data would be useful in
conversations with their healthcare providers.

Social media is another under-used digital venue for patient
interaction. Even though 72% of Americans have some kind of social media
profile, many health systems have not yet found an optimal strategy for
engagement. And while currently, only 23% of Internet users are actively
seeking health information on social media, that number is likely to soon rise
as 70% percent of consumers expressed interest in getting healthcare
information via social channels. Another 62% said they trust the health information
they get on social media, so long as it comes directly from their provider.
This was especially true during the worst of the pandemic, when consumers
trusted news from local healthcare organizations more than any other sources.


Lyft Launches 60M Ride COVID-19 Vaccine Access Campaign with Anthem, Chase, Epic, United Way, Others

Lyft, Launches 60M Ride COVID-19 Vaccine Access Campaign with Anthem, Chase, Epic, United Way, Others

What You Should Know:

– In partnership with JP Morgan Chase; United Way; top
healthcare organizations including Anthem, Centene, One Medical and Epic; and
other non-profit and community partners, Lyft’s goal is to facilitate 60M safe
rides to vaccination sites.

– Lyft’s vaccine access campaign will help the communities who need it most safely travel to receive the vaccine. These rides will be facilitated through its business segment, Lyft Healthcare, and social impact initiative LyftUp.


 Lyft,
Inc.
announced the launch of a nationwide campaign to support universal
access to the COVID-19
vaccine. The goal of this effort is to provide 60 million rides to and from
vaccination sites for low-income, uninsured, and at-risk communities, when the
vaccine becomes available.


Program Partners

Corporate partners JP Morgan Chase and Anthem Inc. and community partner United Way will be working alongside Lyft to lead the effort, with many other businesses, healthcare, and technology partners preparing to join the campaign as vaccines become available in the coming weeks.

Additional program partners signing on to launch the effort include Epic, Centene Corporation, Modern Health, One Medical, National Hispanic Council on Aging, National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, National Urban League, and the National Action Network.


Lack of Transportation Could Prevent Millions of People
from Being Vaccinated

Lyft, Launches 60M Ride COVID-19 Vaccine Access Campaign with Anthem, Chase, Epic, United Way, Others

Lyft’s on-demand transportation network provides critical
access to healthcare services for at-risk communities disproportionately
affected by COVID-19, including non-emergency medical transport for home-bound
seniors, people living with disabilities, and dialysis patients. Many of these
patients belong to vulnerable populations who will be prioritized for early
vaccine distribution, and Lyft’s healthcare transportation services will play a
critical role in transporting them to and from vaccination sites. 

“Access to reliable transportation represents a major barrier to care for millions of Americans across the country,” said Megan Callahan, MPH, VP of Lyft Healthcare. “In fact, lack of transportation is one of the top reasons people miss medical appointments. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this problem, creating a huge challenge in making sure vulnerable populations have access to the vaccine — especially for seniors living alone, low income workers, and parents with young children. We estimate that 15 million Americans will face transportation issues trying to get to vaccination sites. That’s where Lyft can make a difference.”


LyftUp Initiative to Serve Underserved Communities

Lyft, Launches 60M Ride COVID-19 Vaccine Access Campaign with Anthem, Chase, Epic, United Way, Others

The universal vaccine access campaign is part of the
company’s LyftUp initiative, a partnership of companies, community
organizations and individuals working together to make sure everyone has access
to affordable, reliable transportation to get where they need to go.  Working
together using Lyft’s transportation platform, companies and social impact
organizations will help underserved communities access vaccination appointments
by providing subsidized rides for employees and members, and free or discounted
rides for those in need. 

In addition to directly funding rides, corporate partners
will leverage their customers and member networks to promote individual
contributions to the campaign as well as provide social media and marketing
resources to connect people in need with community partners.  Community
partners will then route ride credits to those in need.


Highmark Taps Lark Health for AI-Driven Chronic Disease Management/Prevention

Highmark Taps Lark Health for AI-Driven Chronic Disease Management/Prevention

What
You Should Know:


Highmark, one of the largest Blues plans, has chosen Lark Health for its
chronic disease prevention and management platform.


Members will have access to Lark’s 24/7 AI-based coaching and programs to
manage diabetes, hypertension, and prevent chronic conditions.


Highmark Inc., America’s fourth-largest overall Blue Cross Blue Shield-affiliated organization, announced a growing collaboration with Lark Health, virtual chronic disease prevention and management platform giving select Highmark members access to Lark’s 24/7 health coaching to prevent and manage conditions like hypertension and diabetes and to stay healthy through weight management and stress reduction programs.  

Costly Impact of Chronic Diseases

Chronic conditions are widespread and costly, and Lark’s
programs are aimed at providing personalized health coaching to address them at
scale. Six in 10 U.S. adults have a chronic disease, while 4 in 10 have two or
more. Diabetes affects an estimated 30 million Americans, and is a risk factor
for complications such as neuropathy, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, and
kidney disease. Diabetes costs the nation an estimated $327 billion annually in
direct medical costs and indirect costs, such as lost productivity. Nearly 1 in
3 adults have hypertension, which is an underlying cause of over 1,000 deaths
each day in the U.S. Hypertension costs the country over $48 billion each year.
Nearly 2 out of 3 individuals with diabetes also have hypertension.

Expansion of 2-Year Collaboration

Highmark’s vision is to deliver tech-enabled
and consumer-friendly solutions that meet members where they are and allow them
to more easily manage their health with highly personalized coaching. Since
beginning the two-year collaboration, member enrollment in Lark has been
increasing year-over-year.

Highmark’s employer group customers in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia, as well as commercial National group customers, are able to access Lark’s unlimited 24/7 personal counseling in real-time through an easy-to-use, text message-like modality.

Lark and Highmark have worked together throughout the collaboration to identify and reach out to individuals at risk of developing chronic conditions, increasing awareness of the virtual care offerings through social media advertising, direct mail, email, and text campaigns.

Virtual Care Platform that Addresses Health Plans’ Costliest
Challenges

Powered by conversational AI, the platform seamlessly addresses the whole person, with counseling for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, prediabetes, smoking cessation, stress, anxiety, and weight management, and it incorporates smart connected devices, like scales, that sync with the program to help remotely monitor conditions. When an emergent situation or complex question arises, Lark escalates the concern to a live interaction telephonically or provides a recommended next step.

“Preventing and managing chronic conditions is time-consuming, costly, and inconvenient. We need solutions that are scalable and meet people where they are, especially for individuals who might have comorbid conditions,” said Lark CEO and co-founder Julia Hu. “We are thrilled that Highmark members are choosing and embracing Lark to help them stay healthy, and we look forward to continuing our work with Highmark to offer engaging health coaching to more people.”

NLP is Raising the Bar on Accurate Detection of Adverse Drug Events

NLP is Raising the Bar on Accurate Detection of Adverse Drug Events
 David Talby, CTO, John Snow Labs

Each year, Adverse Drug Events (ADE) account for nearly 700,000 emergency department visits and 100,000 hospitalizations in the US alone. Nearly 5 percent of hospitalized patients experience an ADE, making them one of the most common types of inpatient errors. What’s more, many of these instances are hard to discover because they are never reported. In fact, the median under-reporting rate in one meta-analysis of 37 studies was 94 percent. This is especially problematic given the negative consequences, which include significant pain, suffering, and premature death.

While healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies conduct clinical trials to discover adverse reactions before selling their products, they are typically limited in numbers. This makes post-market drug safety monitoring essential to help discover ADE after the drugs are in use in medical settings. Fortunately, the advent of electronic health records (EHR) and natural language processing (NLP) solutions have made it possible to more effectively and accurately detect these prevalent adverse events, decreasing their likelihood and reducing their impact. 

Not only is this important for patient safety, but also from a business standpoint. Pharmaceutical companies are legally required to report adverse events – whether they find out about them from patient phone calls, social media, sales conversations with doctors, reports from hospitals, or any other channel. As you can imagine, this would be a very manual and tedious task without the computing power of NLP – and likely an unintentionally inaccurate one, too. 

The numbers reflect the importance of automated NLP technology, too: the global NLP in healthcare and life sciences market size is forecasted to grow from $1.5 billion in 2020 to $3.7 billion by 2025, more than doubling in the next five years. The adoption of prevalent cloud-based NLP solutions is a major growth factor here. In fact, 77 percent of respondents from a recent NLP survey indicated that they use ​at least one​ of the four major NLP cloud providers, Google is the most used. But, despite their popularity, respondents cited cost and accuracy as key challenges faced when using cloud-based solutions for NLP.

It goes without saying that accuracy is vital when it comes to matters as significant as predicting adverse reactions to medications, and data scientists agree. The same survey found that more than 40 percent of all respondents cited accuracy as the most important criteria they use to evaluate NLP solutions, and a quarter of respondents cited accuracy as the main criteria they used when evaluating NLP cloud services. Accuracy for domain-specific NLP problems (like healthcare) is a challenge for cloud providers, who only provide pre-trained models with limited training and tuning capabilities. This presents some big challenges for users for several reasons. 

Human language very contexts- and domain-specific, making it especially painful when a model is trained for general uses of words but does not understand how to recognize or disambiguate terms-of-art for a specific domain. In this case, speech-to-text services for video transcripts from a DevOps conference might identify the word “doctor” for the name “Docker,” which degrades the accuracy of the technology. Such errors may be acceptable when applying AI to marketing or online gaming, but not for detecting ADEs. 

In contrast, models have to be trained on medical terms and understand grammatical concepts, such as negation and conjunction. Take, for example, a patient saying, “I feel a bit drowsy with some blurred vision, but am having no gastric problems.” To be effective, models have to be able to relate the adverse events to the patient and specific medication that caused the aforementioned symptoms. This can be tricky because as the previous example sentence illustrates, the medication is not mentioned, so the model needs to correctly infer it from the paragraphs around it.

This gets even more complex, given the need for collecting ADE-related terms from various resources that are not composed in a structured manner. This could include a tweet, news story, transcripts or CRM notes of calls between a doctor and a pharmaceutical sales representative, or clinical trial reports. Mining large volumes of data from these sources have the power to expose serious or unknown consequences that can help detect these reactions. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for this, new enhancements in NLP capabilities are helping to improve this significantly. 

Advances in areas such as Named Entity Recognition (NER) and Classification, specifically, are making it easier to achieve more timely and accurate results. ADE NER models enable data scientists to extract ADE and drug entities from a given text, and ADE classifiers are trained to automatically decide if a given sentence is, in fact, a description of an ADE. The combination of NER and classifier and the availability of pre-trained clinical pipeline for ADE tasks in NLP libraries can save users from building such models and pipelines from scratch, and put them into production immediately. 

In some cases, the technology is pre-trained with tuned Clinical BioBERT embeddings, the most effective contextual language model in the clinical domain today. This makes these models more accurate than ever – improving on the latest state-of-the-art research results on standard benchmarks. ADE NER models can be trained on different embeddings, enabling users to customize the system based on the desired tradeoff between available compute power and accuracy. Solutions like this are now available in hundreds of pre-trained pipelines for multiple languages, enabling a global impact.

As we patiently await a vaccine for the deadly Coronavirus, there have been few times in history in which understanding drug reactions are more vital to global health than now. Using NLP to help monitor reactions to drug events is an effective way to identify and act on adverse reactions earlier, save healthcare organizations money, and ultimately make our healthcare system safer for patients and practitioners.


About David Talby

David Talby, Ph.D., MBA, is the CTO of John Snow Labs. He has spent his career making AI, big data, and data science solve real-world problems in healthcare, life science, and related fields. John Snow Labs is an award-winning AI and NLP company, accelerating progress in data science by providing state-of-the-art models, data, and platforms. Founded in 2015, it helps healthcare and life science companies build, deploy, and operate AI products and services.

4 Ways to Combat Hidden Costs Associated with Delayed Patient Care During COVID-19

Matt Dickson, VP, Product, Strategy, and Communication Solutions at Stericycle
Matt Dickson, VP, Product, Strategy, and Communication Solutions at Stericycle

COVID-19 terms such as quarantine, flatten the curve, social distance, and personal protective equipment (PPE) have dominated headlines in recent months, but what hasn’t been discussed in length are the hidden costs of COVID-19 as it relates to patient adherence.  

The coronavirus pandemic has amplified this long-standing issue in healthcare as patients are delaying routine preventative and ongoing care for ailments such as mental health and chronic disease. Emergency care is also suffering at alarming rates. Studies show a 42 percent decline in emergency department visits, measuring the volume of 2.1 million visits per week between March and April 2019 to 1.2 million visits per week between March and April 2020. Patients are not seeking the treatment they need – and at what cost?

When the SARS outbreak occurred in 2002, particularly in Taiwan, there was a marked reduction in inpatient care and utilization as well as ambulatory care. Chronic-care hospitalizations for long-term conditions like diabetes plummeted during the SARS crisis but skyrocketed afterward. Similar to the 2002 epidemic, people are currently not venturing en masse to emergency rooms or hospitals, but if history repeats itself, hospital and ER visits will happen at an influx and create a new strain on the healthcare system.

So, if patients aren’t going to the ER or visiting their doctors regularly, where have they gone? They are staying at home. According to reports from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 28 percent of Americans polled said they or a family member delayed medical care due to the pandemic, and 11 percent indicated that their condition worsened as a result of the delayed care. Of note, 70 percent of consumers are concerned or very concerned about contracting COVID-19 when visiting healthcare facilities to receive care unrelated to the virus. There is a growing concern that patients will either see a relapse in their illness or will experience new complications when the pandemic subsides. 

Rather than brace for a tidal wave of patients, healthcare systems should proactively take steps (or act now) to drive patient access, action, and adherence.

1. Identify Who Needs to Care The Most 

Healthcare providers should consider risk stratifying patients. High-risk people, such as an 80-year-old male with comorbidities and recent cardiac bypass surgery, may require a hands-on and frequent outreach effort. A 20-year-old female, however, who comes in annually for her physical but is healthy, may not require that level of engagement. Understanding which patients are at risk for the potential for chronic conditions to become acute or patients who have a hard time staying on their care plan may need prioritized attention and a more thorough engagement effort. 

For example, patients with a history of mental health issues may lack motivation or momentum to seek care. Their disposition to be disengaged may require greater input to push past their disengagement.  

Especially important is the ability to educate and guide patients to the appropriate venue of care (ER, telehealth visit, in-person primary care visit, or urgent care) based on their self-reported symptoms.  Allowing patients to self-triage while scheduling appointments helps them make more informed decisions about their care while reducing the burden on over-utilized emergency departments.

2. Capture The Attention of The Intended Audience and Induce Action

Once you’ve identified who needs care the most, how do you break through the “information clutter” to ensure healthcare messages resonate with the intended audience? The more data points, the better. It is important to understand the age of the patient, their preferred communication channel, and the intended message for the recipient, but effective communication exceeds those three data points. Consider factors like the presence of mental health conditions, comorbidities, or health literacies. Then, think beyond the patient’s channel of choice and select the appropriate channel of communication (text, phone call, email, paid social media advertisement, etc.), that will most likely induce action. As an organization, also consider running A/B tests to detect and analyze behavior. As you collect more data, determine what exactly is inducing patient action. 

Of note, don’t underestimate the power of repetition. Patients may need to be reminded of the intended action a few times in a few different ways before moving forward with seeking the care they need. Repetition is also shown to decrease no-show rates, a critical metric. Proactive, prescriptive, and tailored communication will help increase engagement. Moving past the channel of choice and toward the channel of action is key.

3. Engage Patients Through Personalized and Tailored Communication 

In addition to identifying the right communication channel, it’s also important to ensure you deliver an effective message.  Communication with patients should be relevant to their particular medical needs while paying close attention to where each person is in their healthcare journey. Connecting with patients on both an emotional and rational level is also important. For example, sending a positive communication via phone, email, or text to lay the foundation for the interaction shows interest in the patient’s wellbeing. 

A “Hey, here’s why you need to come in” note makes a connection in a direct and personalized way. At the same time, and in a very pointed manner, sharing ways providers and health systems are keeping patients safe (e.g., telehealth, virtual waiting rooms, separate entrances, and mandating masks), also provides comfort to skittish patients. Additionally, consider all demographic information when tailoring communications. And don’t forget to analyze if changes in content impact no-show rates. Low overall literacy may impact health literacy and may require simpler and more positive words to positively impact adherence. 

It may sound daunting, especially for individual health systems, to personalize patient communication efforts, but the use of today’s data tools and technological advancements can relieve the burden and streamline efforts for an effective communication approach. 

4. Use Technology to Your Advantage (With Caution)

Once you have developed your communication strategy, don’t stop there.  Consider all aspects of the patient journey to drive action.  A virtual waiting room strategy, for example, can help ease patient concerns and encourage them to resume their care. Health systems can help patients make reservations, space out their arrival times, and safeguard social distancing measures—all while alleviating patient fears. Ideally, the patient would be able to seamlessly book an appointment and receive a specific arrival time, allowing ER staff to prepare for the patient’s arrival while minimizing onsite wait time.

When implemented properly, telehealth visits can also improve continuity of care, enhance provider efficiency, attract and retain patients who are seeking convenience, as well as appeal to those who would prefer not to travel to their healthcare facility for their visit. Providers need to determine which appointments can successfully be resolved virtually. Additionally, some patients might not have the means for a successful telehealth visit due to a lack of internet access, a language barrier, or a safe space to talk freely.

To ensure all patients receive quality care, health systems should make plans to serve patients who lack the technology or bandwidth to participate in video visits in an alternative manner. For example, monitor patients remotely by asking them to self-report basic information such as blood sugar levels, weight, and medication compliance via short message service (SMS). This gives providers the ability to continuously monitor their patients while enhancing patient safety, increasing positive outcomes, and enabling real-time escalation whenever clinical intervention is needed.

It is important we ensure all patients stay on track with their health, despite uncertain and fearful times. Health systems can enhance patient adherence and induce action through the implementation of tools that increase patient engagement and alleviate the impending strain on the healthcare system. 


About Matt Dickson

Matt Dickson is Vice President of Product, Strategy, and General Manager of Stericycle Communication Solutions, a patient engagement platform that seamlessly combines both voice and digital channels to provide the modern experience healthcare consumers want while solving complex challenges to patient access, action, and adherence. . He is a versatile leader with strong operational management experience and expertise providing IT, product, and process solutions in the healthcare industry for nearly 25 years. Find him on LinkedIn.

Talking Medicines gets funding to expand AI-based “patient voice” platform

Talking Medicines has raised £1.1 million ($1.4 million) in funding that will be used to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) data platform that can be used by pharma companies to gain insights into how patients perceive them.

The Glasgow-based company – which is behind the MedSmart app that helps patients keep a digital records of their medicines and symptoms using barcodes – says it will use the cash injection to launch a new AI data platform which will “translate what patients are saying into actionable pharma grade intelligence.”

The platform could serve as an alternative to traditional patient focus groups, prescriber reports and clinical target patient profiles, and help drugmakers find out who is using their medicines, how they are finding the experience, and what they really think of brands.

The platform will mine information from social media and connected devices to regulated medicine information to capture and analyse the conversations and behaviours of medicine users and get a picture of “patient sentiment.”

The fundraising has been backed by Internet of Things (IoT) investment specialist Tern plc, along with The Scottish Investment Bank, Scottish Enterprise’s investment arm. To date Talking Medicines has raised £2.5 million, including £600,000 in grant funding from Scottish Enterprise last year.

Chief executive Jo Halliday (pictured centre) said the money would allow the company to hire an additional nine staff in its natural language processing (NLP) data tech team, which researches how machines can be made to understand human language accurately.

“Now more than ever we passionately believe that big pharma needs a systematic way to make data driven decisions through accessing high grade social intelligence driven from the patient,” said Halliday.

“This investment will scale our team and the development of…tools to translate what patients are saying into actionable pharma grade intelligence through our global patient confidence score by medicine.”

Tern chief executive Al Sisto is joining the board of the data specialist, and said Talking Medicines’ platform “is solving a critical problem for an industry that spends around $30 billion on marketing annually, whilst lacking systematic data tools that can structure patient sentiment from social channels.”

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What HCPs Think about schools reopening

In our latest article in the What HCPs Think series, CREATION.co’s Jamie Doggett analyses the social media activity of doctors to determine their views on how schools should operate during COVID-19.

When and how schools should return was a big question for the UK during summer, and one that is continuing to go on.

A modelling study released in the Lancet, concluded that the best strategy for schools to prevent a second wave required the “large-scale, population-wide testing of symptomatic individuals and effective tracing of their contacts, followed by isolation of diagnosed individuals”.

The use of social media has increased for healthcare professionals (HCPs) during the pandemic as they seek to learn, give opinions and share resources and guidelines. By analysing the unprompted conversations of HCPs on public social media, it can give us a clearer understanding on their views about schools reopening.

Differentiating common cold symptoms

When publishing a social media post, many HCPs add links to stories they wish to share or discuss. The most shared link by HCPs related to the reopening of schools was a resource from The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health website. The page provided a summary of current policy and other guidance. 134 healthcare professionals shared this summary comparing and contrasting common cold and COVID-19 symptoms. HCPs were seeking to show their peers and the public the advice on when children should get tested.

A key voice of influence in the UK HCP conversation was Devi Lalita Sridhar, a Professor and Chair of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh. Her Twitter account was highly retweeted by HCP peers, on topics linked to school openings. In one post she added her thoughts on the importance of testing as she called for a high bar in availability and turnaround time for testing in order for school returns to be viable.

Various emotions discussed by UK HCPs

Being sure that the UK’s testing infrastructure was prepared for the return to school was a common point in HCP conversation. Other concerns emerged leading up to the first day back.

Emotions discussed by HCPs relating to UK schools reopening during COVID-19

HCPs discussed various emotions relating to school returns, from general worries to panic – but there was also hope. Dr Matthew Snape, writing for the Guardian, published an article broadcasting this hope entitled “There is now clear data on Covid-19 and children: it should be safe to reopen English schools”.

HCPs weigh up the pros and cons of reopening schools

Following Dr Snape’s piece supporting the reopening of schools, Professor Chris Whitty, on behalf of the government, said “missing school is worse for children than the virus”. The BBC article with a video of Whitty’s advice was the most shared news story (40 shares) by UK HCPs relating to the schools. The idea that missing lessons “damages children in the long run” being a bigger factor than the “incredibly small… chances of children dying from COVID-19” was met with mixed feelings from HCPs.

Sarah Jane Kipps, a London-based nurse, emphasised the role school nurses will play during the reopening and was extremely positive about starting her specialist community public health nursing course.

A little more caution was demonstrated by Chris Roseveare, a consultant physician in Hampshire, who, while not doubting Witty’s statement speculated on the possibility of a spike of infections and warned hospitals should prepare for such an eventuality.

HCPs have discussed many benefits that opening schools, colleges and universities will bring but have also raised concerns, especially connected to safety. The two safety aspects that were most actively discussed were the wearing of masks and how social distancing would be maintained.

Topics of HCP online conversations relating to UK schools reopening during COVID-19

A Public Health registrar in Birmingham argued that evidence shows there is no harm in wearing face masks so “Why would you not support mask wearing [in schools] if it might save a child’s life”? But others responded they were yet to be “convinced of the benefits of masks”. Key issues such as masks are still dividing HCP and public opinion, but on open social media channels HCPs are sharing what scientific evidence they can with each other globally to address the unknowns.

HCP influencers share educational resources

The most active UK HCP was Sharon White, the CEO of the School & Public Health Nurses Association. She often looked to use her online influence to share resources including infographics, webinars and advice from organisations. Sharing resources to help prepare the general public, especially parents and carers, was a common behaviour among HCPs.

Another key resource that resonated with HCPs (shared 44 times) was the Going back to school guide published on the Children’s Commissioner website. This guide was designed for children to inform them about the possible changes when going back to school and gave advice for those who are worried or nervous.

Most pupils return to school

Initial figures indicated that 88% of pupils returned for the start of term – lower than previous years. However, the evidence is not conclusive as to whether this was due to COVID-19 outbreaks or fears. As children and teachers return to school there has been an increase in demand for tests, COVID-19 cases and the R number. HCPs continue to share their best advice using public social media, playing an important part in supporting the public, and their peers, to see an eventual end to the disease.

About the author

Jamie DoggettAs head of insight with CREATION.co, Jamie Doggett leads a team that discovers what healthcare professionals think by analysing their online social media conversations. Jamie has collaborated with healthcare professionals, marketers and communicators to leverage data for health strategy, and has pioneered new research methodologies using CREATION.co’s global dataset. Research produced by Jamie and his team has informed academic articles, health policy, and product launches all over the world.

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Press Ganey Acquires Doctor.com, Acquires Majority Stake in Binary Fountain

Press Ganey Acquires Doctor.com, Acquires Majority Stake in Binary Fountain

What You Should Know:

– Press Ganey advances the healthcare consumerism movement with acquisitions of Doctor.com and a majority stake in Binary Fountain.

– Expanded technology platform enables industry-leading
management of providers’ online brand and seamless Web-wide patient acquisition
and loyalty strategies.


Press Ganey today
announced the expansion of its market-leading health care consumerism platform
with the acquisitions
of Doctor.com and a majority equity stake
in Binary Fountain. These acquisitions create the largest health care
consumerism platform in the industry that offers an unmatched opportunity for
health systems and providers to drive digital patient acquisition, retention,
and reputation management strategies that will deliver new levels of growth and
loyalty.


Set Up Your Virtual Practice in 5 Minutes or Less with
Doctor.com’s Turnkey Solution

Founded in 2013, Doctor.com provides the critical
infrastructure and integrations necessary to enable modern digital experiences
for patients. Doctor.com clients benefit from best-in-class provider data,
robust physician and patient engagement tools, and seamless integrations with
the most prominent health care directories, search engines, social media
platforms, and EHR/PM systems. As a result, thousands of clients, including
200+ leading hospitals and health systems, 30,000+ private practices, and
leading brands in the life sciences industry, have been empowered by Doctor.com
to enhance their digital presence and credibility, increase patient trust, and
grow their business.


Why It Matters

The COVID-19 crisis radically disrupted the health care
industry and altered consumer behavior. The result was massive growth in
telehealth services, with Press Ganey administering more than 15 million
telemedicine surveys year to date. Coupled with more than 71% of patients
seeking physician reviews online and 70,000 health-related Google searches each
minute, these fundamental shifts have escalated the need for health care
providers to enhance and streamline the online healthcare customer experience.

“This acquisition is game-changing for the industry. By pairing data and insights from Press Ganey’s 472 million consumer surveys a year with next-generation technology, health care organizations can finally unite their patient experience and patient acquisition efforts within one powerful platform. This unified solution drives performance improvement, accelerates transparency initiatives, and improves the patient experience,” said Andrei Zimiles, co-founder and CEO, Doctor.com. “As patients continue to ‘shop’ for care in increasingly competitive digital channels, this groundbreaking new platform from three pioneers in the consumerism space gives health care organizations the edge they’ve been looking for.”

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

COVID-19 Underscores Why Certain Aspects of the American Healthcare System Should Change Forever

Medsphere CEO Talks Affordable Healthcare IT and Future of EHRs
Irv Lichtenwald, President & CEO of Medsphere Systems Corporation

In the late 1940s, the United Kingdom was busily reassembling country and what remained of the empire in the aftermath of World War II. Among many revelations, the war had convinced Britain’s leaders of the need to provide healthcare for all in the event of calamity upending the basic functions of a civilized society. With that, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) was born.

In 2020, all perspectives about quality and the time it takes to see a provider aside, the NHS remains quite popular among UK citizens and is an enduring source of national pride.

With the United States in the midst of its own upheaval, it’s for a related question: Might the current COVID-19 situation give rise to significant changes to the American healthcare system? 

Virtually no one thinks the correct answer is ‘No.’ Things will change. The question is how and to what extent. The healthcare system in place in the United States now is dramatically more complex than that in use by Britons after WW II. There are so many moving parts, so many things that can break. 

So, in which aspects of the current American healthcare system are we likely to see changes after COVID-19 is dealt with?

Telehealth: Someone always benefits in a catastrophe. In this case, that someone may be Zoom shareholders.

From 10 million daily users in December, Zoom rocketed to 200 million in March and nearly 300 million a month later. Much of that was healthcare related. 

Of course, Zoom is not the only direct beneficiary of coronavirus as venerable meeting platforms like WebEx and Skype, among others, have also experienced dramatic growth.

Hospitals and health systems were incrementally implementing telehealth services prior to the coronavirus outbreak, but there was no sense of urgency that accompanies a rapidly spreading virus. Since then, the federal government, states and insurance companies have allocated funds and rewritten regulation to expand the use of telehealth. 

But there are more telehealth related-issues to address, some of which have thorns. Service and payment parity across insurance companies is an issue. If telehealth is going to be a regular component of healthcare, technology gaps will have to be addressed, especially in rural areas. 

This is something the federal government recognizes. The White House recently drafted an executive order oriented around improving rural health by expanding technology access, developing new payment models and reducing regulatory burdens. The EO tasks the secretaries of health and human services and agriculture to work with the Federal Communications Commission to “develop and implement a strategy to improve rural health by improving the physical and communications healthcare infrastructure available to rural Americans.” But until Congress gets involved and provides funding for something like this, it will probably never get out of the proposal phase. 

In fact, there are enough concerns—parity, technology gaps, added costs—associated with telehealth to wonder if it will endure after coronavirus is in the rear view. Enough about telehealth benefits both providers and patients for it to stick and proliferate, but that could also be said about any number of healthcare initiatives that seem to languish for lack of coordination and political will. 

Health Insurance: This is where the NHS analogy is the most relevant. Many millions of workers are furloughed or simply laid off with the impact of COVID-19 on frontline jobs like restaurant worker, massage therapist and barista. Those who had insurance through work may not have it anymore, leaving them doubly vulnerable—no coverage, no income—to illness or accident. 

Mass unemployment episodes reveal, each time, the weakness in the patchwork employment-based healthcare insurance system we’ve sort of made peace with for decades. Sure, Medicaid exists to fill the gaps, but it may make sense to render Medicaid unnecessary, especially since its value is questionable in particular states.

“You notice the number of band-aids that Congress is having to apply to help people who have lost their jobs,” said former CMS Administrator Don Berwick, MD. “What we have now is a whole series of band-aids and special measures. What if instead, we just had universal health insurance?”

What if, indeed. Will COVID-19 be the straw that burns the bridge of employer-based health insurance, to mangle a metaphor? That may depend on how long the pandemic lasts, who is president sometime after November 3 and how much damage is done to the national fabric before economy and society start a process of repair.

Payment Models: For years now, hospitals have been in the middle of slow shift from fee-for-service care to value-based care and alternative payment models. That transition didn’t happen quickly enough to prevent most hospitals from falling into a financial chasm. If elective procedures are a big part of revenue, it follows that revenue will fall if those procedures disappear. 

To be fair, the hit to hospital finances has been catastrophic enough—more than $200 billion in losses over four months, according to the American Hospital Association—that federal government support would have been necessary even if a full pay-for-quality model had been in place.  

But the pandemic spotlights the downside of treating essential services like healthcare as though they are mere services one selects or rejects. And it exposes the folly of not making sure everyone has insurance coverage (a payer) when the individual costs for COVID-19-related hospital admission can range from $20,000 to $88,000. 

End-of-Life Care: According to one analysis, 42 percent of COVID-19 deaths have occurred in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. The families of those unfortunate souls who’ve died while in a facility have generally endured the agony of saying goodbye outside a window or over a video link. It’s hard to believe, after COVID-19, that the assisted living industry will continue as before. 

“The crisis surely will lead nursing home administrators to reconsider the way patients are cared for,” says Modern Healthcare. “Among the ideas Harvard’s [Professor David] Grabowski believes will get a longer look in the wake of the pandemic are using telemedicine services, creating specialized Medicare Advantage plans for the homes and pursuing smaller settings.”

Perhaps. And perhaps a son or daughter that remembers coronavirus will simply choose not to risk everything by putting their parent in a home. Could enough of them make such a decision that the industry contracts? Is forced to take quality care more seriously? Attracts more serious federal regulation? 

As the deaths mount, it’s hard not to give every option serious consideration. 

Supply Chain: These days we’re bickering in public and on social media (looking at you, maskless Karen throwing food in Trader Joes) about whether or not masks should be mandated. Look back with me  to February, however, and you’ll fondly recall concerns about there being enough masks at all. 

Back then we learned that the United States had exactly one mask manufacturer, and that all other masks are sourced from overseas. That it takes longer to get stuff from China than from Amarillo creates obvious potential problems when a crisis hits, but it also pits hospitals and government entities against one another and guarantees that the winner will pay more for supplies than they would in less-critical times. 

It also creates weird, unnecessary scenarios that could be avoided using coordination and leadership. The governor of Maryland, for example, used his wife’s connections to South Korea (her country of birth) to secure 500,000 coronavirus tests, which he then put in an undisclosed location and protected using national guard troops. 

What’s the remedy? 

Modern Healthcare has called for a national supply chain czar, which in other times may have just been the head of FEMA. The suggestion, however, highlights the need for a coordinated central clearing house where supplies can be ordered, managed and dispersed based on need. 

Individual hospitals, clinics and health systems can also help themselves by using a robust supply chain software system that keeps track in real time of available supplies, covers all ordering systems and methodologies, and reacts swiftly to certain thresholds. 

The uniquely unfortunate aspect of the American political system among western democracies is that, for the most part, it responds to the demands of special interests. Think about your local representative. Chances are good the shouts of specific business interests are ringing in his or her hears so loudly that little else is audible. 

As such, there is a significant danger that the American healthcare system will return, post-COVID-19, to the same dynamic it had when the virus arrived, which will be unfortunate. What we need post-pandemic is not necessarily specific changes to hospitals, clinics, insurance companies, etc., though they could be part of an overall solution. What will be necessary is an examination of where every aspect of the healthcare system overall, inasmuch as there is one, didn’t do its job.   

Disasters are social sodium pentothal that, while active, force groups of people to take an honest look at their failures. Once the disaster is passed, however, there is a danger that Upton Sinclair’s maxim—“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it”—will rule the day. 

No one hopes for more dramatic damage to the American economy and social fabric, but the irony is that necessary change sometimes only comes when reality is undeniable, as in a shellshocked Britain instituting the NHS. If COVID-19 doesn’t shock us sufficiently into making substantial changes to the healthcare system, it’s a pretty safe bet the same disaster will occur again.

3 Easy Steps to Grow your Social Media Presence

Why is it Important to use Social Media?

Today, 7 in 10 Americans use social media to connect with each other, read news content, share information, and entertain themselves, according to 2019 data by the Pew Research Center. Social media is here to stay, and you can harness its power to grow your business.

How can Social Media Help your Business?

  • Reach a larger audience and potential customers

By using social media, your business can tap into a whole new source of customers you otherwise wouldn’t have reached. Social media helps you connect with your customers, build awareness about your brand, and increase your sales.

  • Spread awareness

As stated earlier, many Americans use social media to connect and share information. If you create posts that teach them something new, they will be more likely to support your business. Moreover, these customers will be more likely to share your posts with their own social circles and spread positive news about your business.

  • Establish credibility

Sharing tips and information is not only useful for your customers — it also helps establish your credibility as a professional in your industry. Sharing knowledge shows that you are an expert in your field and will build more trust in your customer base. Your existing and new customers can see the value you provide and will be more likely to come to your business — because they know they can trust you.

How can you Grow your Social Media Presence?

  1. Create posts to share new research or relevant info

Many Americans consume and engage with news through social media posts. When people see news or information they find useful, they want to help their own friends and family by sharing the information on their social media pages. Business owners and medical professionals keep up with industry news, and the best ones share this information with their customers. Creating posts with useful research and information provides greater value for your existing and future customers.
As an example, if you have a medical practice, you could share information on preventative care during flu season and encourage your patients to get their flu shots. Since this is relevant information that many can benefit from, your customers will be likely to share this information with their own social circles — as well as stay healthy.
You can create simple graphics online and post them to your business Facebook or Instagram account, along with links to useful news articles.

  1. Educate your new and existing customers
    Americans use social media to learn and share information with each other — so your business can create content that fills this need. Many professionals, including doctors, use social media frequently to share tips on health or their specific industry. A good example of this is Los Angeles-based dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee. She has been creating YouTube videos about dermatological procedures and skincare for years, which has boosted her brand awareness incredibly. She now has 6.52 million YouTube subscribers and her own TV show because she consistently posted quality educational content about her field. You can do the same by creating posts on social media with tips your customers can use in their daily lives. This could be as simple as Facebook or Instagram posts with short useful facts, or even YouTube videos sharing your work process.
  1. Use automated services to create social media posts for you
  1. Use automated services to create social media posts for you

To skip all the hassle, stress, and confusion of social media, you can use automated social media posting services like Practina. All you have to do is connect your social media accounts to Practina, and the system will automatically create, schedule, and publish posts for you — on all accounts at the same time. This can help you reach a larger customer base without having to create posts and manage your accounts. Practina can also share your best customer reviews on your social media accounts, to show new customers what your business has to offer.

The post 3 Easy Steps to Grow your Social Media Presence appeared first on Denefits.

Coronavirus: 5 Ways You Can Use Social Media and Digital Marketing to Help the Public During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Today I am going to share some important ways that doctors, hospitals and healthcare marketers can use social media to inform the public during the COVID-19 crisis.

  1. Priority One: Use social media to convince people to comply with social distancing, and consequently help us all, “flatten the curve!”

The US Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, understands the power of social media to help get information out about the COVID-19 crisis. He was recently asked during a Good Morning America interview how to get younger Americans to take the coronavirus crisis seriously. Dr. Adams responded: “Well, I have a fifteen and a fourteen-year-old, and the more I tell them not to do something, the more they really want to do it.”

“We need to get Kylie Jenner, we need to get our social media influencers out there, in helping folks understand that look, this is serious, this is absolutely serious…People are dying.”

Hours later, Jenner responded by exposing myths and sharing the importance of social distancing with her 166 million Instagram followers. “The coronavirus is a real thing…Please stay inside you guys: practice social distancing, self-quarantine. If you live with your parents, you don’t want to home and get your parents sick. You might have it, and not even know and be infecting other people… It’s serious, and, the only way we’re going to slow this down is if we do this since there’s not a cure right now. Nobody is immune to this. Millennials are not immune to this. New evidence actually shows that a large percentage of people in the hospital right now are young adults.”

Doctor sitting at desk with cell phone in hand

Healthcare social media and healthcare digital marketing during the COVID-19 crisis.

Jenner’s video was, of course, a step in the right direction, which leads me to ask you…

If the US Surgeon General trusted Kylie Jenner to help get the word out about how we can fight the Coronavirus, don’t you think healthcare clinicians and medical professionals should use their social media accounts to help too?

Let’s face it. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and millions of Americans nationwide still wildly underestimate the seriousness of coronavirus. You have the opportunity – I would argue responsibility – to use your social media accounts to influence others positively.

If you are a doctor or nurse, I recognize that you probably do not have a vast social media following. That doesn’t matter. Clinicians often forget how much influence they have upon the people they do know. When my kids were little, whenever they got hurt or sick, the first person we usually turned to was our neighbor Denise, who was also a critical care nurse. “Miss Pumpkin” (as our daughters called her), wasn’t just a friend; she was a healthcare thought leader for our family and our neighborhood.

Medical clinicians and other concerned healthcare professionals can share information with friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media channels. Also, don’t forget you can simply email friends and family as well. I know a biologist who copies me (and all his friends) on relevant COVID-19 updates via his personal email.

If you are a professional healthcare marketer, you have enormous potential to educate your community through scale. Your first step will be to convince your hospital or practice leadership that your organization not only can, but should, take a leadership role during this crisis, and “join the fight.”

As I mentioned in last week’s blog about how you should adjust your marketing efforts during COVID-19, now is a fantastic time to build your organization’s thought leadership and brand by doing the right thing.

Certainly, you can start by updating all your organization’s website and various organic social media properties [e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube (see a Healthcare Success Healthcare Marketing and COVID webinar on YouTube), LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.] with important updates and tips.

You can also work with your leadership (e.g., Healthcare CEO, Pharmaceutical CMO, Medical Director) to encourage your doctors and medical practice staff likewise to share info on their personal social media accounts.

Beyond that, if you want to reach your community, you can significantly expand your reach via paid social media advertising. Remember, Facebook and Instagram favor personal accounts over business Pages, and as little as 4% of your hospital’s followers will have the opportunity to see your “organic” (“free”) posts there.

By contrast, you can reach tens of thousands (or millions) of people cost-effectively through paid social media advertising. You have nearly limitless options to influence people through paid social media, whether you use boosted posts, video ads, or other formats. You can create and buy social media campaigns yourself or enlist the help of an agency like ours.

We’ll expand on the benefits of social media advertising in future posts – stay tuned for that.

  1. Use social media to help guide people in your community who fear they may have the virus.

Due to a lot of missteps and mixed messages, people are confused about what they should do if they think they have COVID-19. What’s more, beyond the general advice that is available everywhere (e.g., wash your hands, do not go out if you are sick, avoid people who look ill), the appropriate course of action can vary by community. Here are some of the questions people want answers to:

  • “What are COVID-19 symptoms, and should I get tested?”
  • “Where in our community can I get tested?”
  • “Should I see my primary care doctor, an Urgent Care, or the local hospital?”
  • “Is telemedicine an appropriate first step?”
  • “Should I stay home if my symptoms are minor?”
  • “How will I know when it is time to seek help at a hospital?”
  • “How do I avoid infecting others?”
  • “Which hospitals in my area are able and ready to take new COVID-19 patients?”
  • “What are the risks of the transmission of coronavirus infectious disease at home?”
  • “Is there anything else should I know about coronavirus disease diagnosis and transmission?”

If you represent a hospital or other larger healthcare organization, you may already have answers to some of these questions on your website. If so, great—utilize social media to drive people in your community to your appropriate website pages or posts.

If you do not have coronavirus content on your website, you can add whatever information makes sense. Anything you post must be medically accurate, and you’ll need to ensure appropriate legal and ethical safeguards in place.

Alternatively, you can of course simply share information from trusted sources (such as HHS/CDC Coronavirus/COVID-19 website, the CDC.gov, or NIH.gov) on your social media. (See some additional links and resources below.)

  1. Use email and social media to inform your patient base with additional, important updates and advice.

Beyond educating the wider community, you should guide and inform your patients (or their caregivers) throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Beyond the fact that it is the right thing to do, your valuable information will grow your authority and your relationship with your patients at a time when they need it most.

In addition to some of the topics we’ve already covered above, you can use social media and HIPAA compliant email to help guide patients with additional tips, such as how to:

  • Boost your immune system
  • Care for and speak to small children at home
  • Deal with fear and stay positive
  • Cope with stress or sleeplessness
  • Pass the time
  • Protect their family
  • General information and updates as they become available

Make sure all your communications are informative, relevant, accurate, empathetic, and “in touch” with the current environment. Right now, your tone should generally be serious, but over time as people begin to go stir crazy, you may see an opportunity to mix it up with some lighter content.

My wife’s doctor does a great job of providing this kind of information to patients through email and via Instagram.

Also, for inspiration, here is a helpful email I received from Aetna that describes some COVID-19 benefits they have put into place for members.

Email to Aetna insurance members about COVID-19

Sample Email From Aetna to Patients

  1. Reassure your patients that your hospital or practice has proper safety precautions in place.

A close friend whose husband has colon cancer emailed me last Friday:

So be sure to communicate your safety measures everywhere you can, on your website, social media properties, via email, on the phone, and in-person at the office. You can even post a video on your website, like this example from one of our clients.

  1. To attract new patients now or immediately following the COVID-19 crisis, think digital healthcare marketing first.

Just like virtually every type of business, many hospitals, medical practices, skilled nursing facilities, and other healthcare organizations are suffering economically from the COVID-19 crisis.

Some providers can (or must) wait for the crisis to end before they begin marketing efforts to attract new patients, while others need to generate revenue and new patients now. While we believe strongly in the power of traditional advertising, our favorite “go-to” in times like these is digital.

Take, for example, the leaders of a multi-city, specialty practice who contacted me this past Friday. Due to COVID-19, their physician liaisons cannot get in to see referring doctors. Even worse, recent Medicare reimbursement cuts have severely reduced their revenues.

Their specialty is medically essential, so they must remain open for business even though prospective patients and their families are distracted by COVID-19.

Our recommendations will likely include:

  1. Email and social media campaigns that will reach referring doctors directly, without relying on physician liaisons.
  2. Paid search campaigns on both Google and Bing networks. We did an analysis, and despite COVID-19, there are still thousands of searches each month for the services.
  3. As you might guess, based upon the rest of this post, paid social media to reach patients and their families.
  4. If budget permits, we might test connected TV (CTV) and digital radio.

Remember, due to coronavirus, millions of Americans are staying at home right now, and people are spending more time online than ever. We’ll expand more on that in a forthcoming blog post.

Conclusion: COVID Digital Healthcare Marketing & Social Media

While these are incredibly challenging times for everyone, smart social media and digital marketing strategies can still influence patients in a positive, profound way.

Here are 2 sample emails and some jpegs for your convenience. I am also sharing some credible, “shareable” links below. For more updates on COVID-19 and other important topics, follow me on Twitter, @StewartGandolf.

COVID-19 Prevention Chart

COVID-19 Prevention Chart

COVID-19 Symptoms Chart

COVID-19 Symptoms Chart

Social distancing guidelines from CDC

Maintain 6’/six-foot distance

The following are Healthcare Success COVID-19 campaign images to support social distancing. Out of home and social media are displayed below.
If you would like more information on these, or to use them in a campaign, please give us a call at 800-656-0907.
Out of home alternate COVID accouncement

Healthcare Success Out of Home – Six feet

Instagram spread the word COVID announcement

HS Instagram COVID, “Spread the Word.”

Entire COVID prevention campaign

Healthcare Success COVID prevention campaign

#LetsFlattenTheCurve: Creative to encourage social distancing during COVID-19

The Coronavirus Can Be Stopped, But Only With Harsh Steps

The Doctor Who Helped Defeat Smallpox Explains What’s Coming

Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance: What the Next 18 Months Can Look Like, if Leaders Buy Us Time

Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now. Politicians, Community Leaders and Business Leaders: What You Should Do When

This is How We Can Beat the Coronavirus

Younger Adults Make Up Big Portion of Coronavirus Hospitalizations in U.S.

How to Clean and Disinfect Yourself, Your Home and Your Stuff

Why It’s Crucial to Avoid the ER if You Can

How to Fight the Coronavirus SARS-COV-2 and Its Disease, COVID-19

Coronavirus Could Overwhelm U.S. Without Urgent Action, Estimates Say

The post Coronavirus: 5 Ways You Can Use Social Media and Digital Marketing to Help the Public During the COVID-19 Pandemic appeared first on Healthcare Success.