COVID-19 Updates

Comms Report – March 3, 2021

As we step into this next phase of rebuilding, Rapid Renewal, and health systems start to re-invigorate non-COVID-19 marketing efforts, we must move forth both purposefully and cautiously. Here's a glimpse at changing healthcare consumer perceptions and how health systems can maintain good standing with the communities they serve. 

Consumer insights & recommendations

1. Survey: How have healthcare consumer preferences changed?

We Asked: When it comes to how or where you prefer to receive healthcare services, have your opinions or preferences changed over the past year during COVID-19? Please explain. 

Consumers Answered: 65% quality responses expressed unchanged preferences for receiving healthcare services throughout the pandemic.  

change in healthcare preferences survey results pie chart


Recommendation: Given this year's telehealth boom and positive patient feedback on virtual visits, it's surprising how few respondents reported no preference changes for receiving care. Some, however, indicated that telehealth is a quality care delivery practice for less critical conditions. Here is an example of this type of response:

“I have come to appreciate telehealth for some issues, but still find value in in-person appointments.”  

While we know virtual care had more than its 15 minutes of fame in 2020, we’re cognizant that it’s only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to creating a progressive patient experience. "Shiny object syndrome" can tempt marketing leaders to over-emphasize things like virtual care when COVID-spurred changes in consumerism and top-of-the-funnel strategies are actually much more multifaceted. As you regain your footing as a marketing leader in your health system, consider the changes in the consumer landscape holistically, and focus on well-rounded initiatives over disparate channels

2. Reopening businesses look to vaccine passports

We're hearing: From cruise lines to sports teams, many businesses plan to adopt “vaccine passports” as a way to reopen safely. The initiative, supported by the Biden administration and many private employers, will require proof of vaccination before opening back up. Skeptics report that their desire for normalcy may be greater than their vaccine fears, especially if proof of vaccination becomes mainstream.  

Recommendation Vaccine passports could improve vaccine uptake, but for those with limited healthcare access, this solution will make it difficult to return to work. Health systems should have a vaccine distribution plan in place explicitly tailored to hard-to-reach populations.

Vaccine passports will also intensify pressure on health systems to update vaccine requirements for their internal staff. If airlines and cruise ships are requiring vaccines, why aren’t hospitals requiring them for staffers? A re-evaluation of your internal vaccine requirements may be in order. 

3. Who are we missing in vaccine distribution?

We're hearing:  Reaching people who have the greatest need for the vaccine is a huge undertaking. In rural and poor communities, those without internet access rely on word-of-mouth and flyers to learn about vaccine clinics, but it isn’t enough. A group of clinics and care sites in Alabama are stepping up to remediate the problem using low-tech methods to reach community members. 

Recommendation: Hospitals could benefit from observing what independent clinics are doing to reach the most vulnerable. As vaccine supply increases, and retail pharmacies begin to administer more vaccinations, specifically in metropolitan areas, health systems will be best utilized in rural communities where other resources aren't as readily available. Creative outreach methods will be crucial in reaching and educating this population, which is traditionally medically underserved.