It is no surprise that COVID-19 has put tremendous pressure on the healthcare industry, from workforce challenges and overall business modeling to a shift in consumer behavior that has accelerated the adoption and creation of digital transformation. These, along with the constant desire for transparency amongst consumers, has the healthcare industry overwhelmed with challenges and opportunities.
Communicating Through Uncertainty: The Significance of PR
While every aspect of life has been touched by COVID-19, hospitals and health systems have a particularly heightened responsibility to serve their communities, show empathy, and maintain and earn trust—not only medically, but with accurate and timely information. They are the frontline and go-to sources for care and communications as we continue to battle the pandemic, which has been complicated due to the litany of inconsistent messaging and uncertainty at the outset. PR plays a critical role in ensuring that your brand reputation is being protected through thoughtful reactive and strategic proactive plans. GS&F experienced this firsthand through our collaboration with The University of Tennessee Medical Center.
While the pandemic is navigated and battled, a strong communications plan is also imperative for a hospital’s other service lines. We must look forward to the reemergence of everyday and elective patient care. How will your brand be in the forefront of ensuring safety and peace of mind for patients coming back for normal care as well as elective surgeries and treatments? These are major revenue drivers that will soon pick up rapidly. Also, for other healthcare brands, a PR strategy is needed to maintain relevance amidst the media’s near sole focus on the pandemic.
Audience First: The New Holistic Journey
Most importantly, the healthcare model is no longer transactional. A more consumer-based model comes hand-in-hand with the digital transformation in healthcare. We see this with the preponderance of health clinics more conveniently located within our communities, an increased focus on the patient experience and, perhaps most importantly, the increased influence that consumers/patients have to shape the conversation around care (e.g. the debate around vaccinations).
Each individual has a unique journey. Therefore, they deserve a customized experience and services centered around their health. The successful brands will be the ones that have the ability to recognize and capitalize on this. This includes personalized digital tools and resources, positioning your service lines to effectively connect with each patient, and expanding the idea of healthcare from “taking care of the sick” to embracing the mind, body and spirit.
Through our work with HCA, TriStar Health, The University of Tennessee Medical Center and more, GS&F understands the importance of ensuring the right marketing levers are being pulled based on the ever-changing landscape of the industry.