Healthcare marketing: 4 ways to deliver H.O.P.E. in 2021
As the COVID vaccines usher in more promise for a return to normal, H.O.P.E. is the theme for healthcare marketing. Here’s why it offers both risks and opportunities in 2021:
Health Equity is not going away. In fact, many gaps were exposed during the pandemic. In the new year, show what your organization truly stands for . . . and how it cares for EVERYONE in your community.
THE RISK: Ignoring ways to improve health equity will leave you behind as consumers choose healthcare brands that stand for what they believe in.
THE OPPORTUNITY: Health systems must show how they are helping to close health equity gaps in their communities.
- Optimize technology tools that increase access for all patients.
- Develop multilingual communications and campaigns to help reach diverse audiences.
- Shine a light on these efforts to define and refine your brand purpose so it not only rings true but also forges stronger connections with consumers.
Omnipresence of digital innovation. The past year taught us how important it is to leverage digital, “contactless” tools to add value to consumers, employees, patients, etc.
THE RISK: Slow or no adoption means they will look for other brands that do offer digital access to services, advice and connections through telemedicine, virtual care, etc.
THE OPPORTUNITY: Find ways to be where consumers are before they need services. Look to increase access to healthcare services digitally through social groups, education, etc. If you haven’t already:
- Review your patient journey in a new light to uncover more and better ways to connect and interact.
- Leverage your health system’s reputation as a “hero” to continue building trust in your community and reinforce credibility for your top treatments, doctors and medical services.
- Explore social channels and support groups to educate and add value on topics like disease management and/or new treatments; provide access to relevant resources your hospital offers.
Patient Experience is no longer about “how long I sat in the waiting room.” As 2020 painfully showed, it’s about the overall, and exceptional, experience that a health system offers . . . at every touchpoint.
THE RISK: Without positive patient experiences, it will be difficult to restore volume and revenues lost in 2020 due to the widespread cancelation of routine medical care and elective surgeries.
THE OPPORTUNITY: Health systems should find ways to excel at the patient experience in the digital world. Healthcare marketers can help them by looking to:
- Develop improved communication and connection with consumers. For instance, take an objective look at your patient portal to see how you can:
– step up the experience for scheduling appointments, communicating with doctors, accessing test results, paying bills, etc.
– incorporate chatbots and AI to expand digital care.
- Serve up helpful, valuable content that consumers can use to manage their health needs.
- Partner with organizations that are not only nimble, but also agile enough to marry the latest innovations in technology with ongoing marketing strategies.
Empathy from inside out. Frontline healthcare workers have spent months caring for all those infected by COVID and risked their lives doing so. As surges continue, they’re not only under constant pressure to treat even more patients, but they’re also expected to bounce back to staffing elective surgeries and procedures once COVID subsides.
THE RISK: With so little relief, frontline heroes run the risk for a real side effect: burnout. Not at just some hospitals, but all across the industry. Possibly triggering a second healthcare crisis.
THE OPPORTUNITY: Health systems should find meaningful ways to engage, appreciate and support healthcare workers and caregivers. Internal communications teams must work together with hospital administrators and human resources to develop strategies to:
- Check on every employee and remind them how vital they are to the organization, so they genuinely feel appreciated.
- Leverage the right channels to reach all employees. (Tip: Sending out an email blast isn’t enough.)
- Ensure a consistent and relevant tone that resonates with everyone, not just clinical staff.
- Communicate available resources, like counseling, suicide prevention lines and 24/7 support, to help your staff deal with the enormous stress they’re feeling.