The Marketer’s Imperative: Addressing Fear of Returning to Medical Facilities
// By Dan Dunlop //
During the pandemic, provider organizations have done a great job communicating with their communities about the need for people to stay home and stay safe. Unfortunately, the public has come to believe that hospitals and medical facilities are no longer safe places. As consumers have begun to take this pandemic more seriously, national research has shown that Americans’ concern about visiting a health care facility has grown significantly. In March, roughly 58 percent of Americans surveyed had safety concerns related to visiting a medical facility. By April, that number had increased to 72 percent (NRC Health, April 2020).
With this fear looming, what’s going to happen now that we’ve started trying to encourage people to return to our hospitals and outpatient facilities for more routine care? How is that going to be received? Needless to say, it is going to be a challenge to bring people back to our hospitals and clinics.
As we emerge from this pandemic, our hospitals will need their marketing teams to help drive patient volume to overcome the dire financial challenges they are facing, and also make sure the public gets the crucial health care services we know they need.
With that in mind, there is a clear imperative for health care marketers and communicators to develop content and messaging that alleviate consumers’ fears about returning to health care facilities. As a result of the pandemic, people are currently avoiding visiting medical facilities and, in many cases, delaying necessary care. They are putting themselves at risk — and when they do opt to come to the emergency room, their health has significantly declined.
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