COVID-19 Updates

Weekly Comms Report — History is the best teacher

381 days | 549,431 minutes | 32,966,109 seconds 

No matter how you slice it, we've been in this pandemic reality for quite some time (but who's counting?). For health system marketers, this presents an opportunity to learn from the past and reduce strain in the future.     

Continue reading to find out which events are giving us deja vu.

History is the best teacher 

What We Heard: COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are undergoing clinical trials, but long-term care advocates fear that the first-to-vaccinate populations may become vulnerable to COVID-19 before a booster is approved for distribution.   

Recommendation: Like the vaccines, boosters will require ongoing public education and communication. Unlike vaccine rollout, however, we can learn from initial vaccine rollout, accounting for:  

The first stab at health system vaccine mandates 

What We Heard: Politician-backed groups are pushing back on vaccine mandates. Houston Methodist requires staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but now faces a lawsuit filed by 117 of its unvaccinated employees. The lawsuit draws on the WWII-era Nuremberg Code, which makes medical experimentation without consent unlawful.  

Recommendation: While the claims will likely not hold up in court, strong communication, particularly from executive leadership, can protect health systems from further criticism and similar lawsuits. We recommend focusing on the weak points of the law suit filed against Houston Medical:  

  • The extent of testing despite incomplete FDA approval 
  • The trustworthiness of mRNA technology 
  • Current vaccine efficacy rates  

A quick damage check

What We Heard: A  recent survey found that 30% of physicians and 32% of patients lost trust in the healthcare system during the pandemic, citing lack of open communication by health systems as a major contributor. Both physicians and consumers, however, reported trust in each other.  

Recommendation: The COVID-19 storm has cleared and now it’s time to examine the damage and plan for repairs – starting internally. Your staff faced enormous pressure last year and need reassurance that this burnout is temporary. To regrow this trust, health systems must develop and share strategies for protecting workers against burnout.