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Bringing Patients Back

Bringing Patients Back to the Doctor’s Office After COVID-19

Topic: Bringing Patients Back to the Doctor’s Office After COVID-19

Find out what patient marketing looks like in a recovering world.

Reversing a Trend

Your healthcare organization has spent months delaying elective procedures, restricting visitors, and shifting some appointments to telemedicine. As the number of COVID-19 cases starts to fall in some areas, your organization may be ready to spread the opposite message: Come back in for care.

It feels like a tall task, as it does for all industries trying to encourage the return of consumers who’ve been told for so long to stay home. But the stakes are highest for healthcare. Emergency departments have seen fewer patients come in with life-threatening stroke and heart attack symptoms — which professional medical societies believe is due to fear, not fewer emergencies. Since the pandemic started, there’s been an 18% drop in healthcare spending, according to MarketWatch.

Some healthcare organizations are planning for a potential surge of patients as restrictions ease on nonurgent procedures. But some people, especially those who don’t have life-disrupting symptoms, may wait and see how their community’s initial return to public life plays out. Or, having managed their symptoms at home for the past few months, they may decide they no longer need professional help. Many patients almost certainly won’t seek timely care.

What You Can Do

Information was key to changing public behavior to control the spread of COVID-19. Knowledge will also help consumers feel confident returning to in-person health services.

During the height of the pandemic, your organization may have seen record numbers of website visitors, email subscribers, and social media followers eager for updates on COVID-19. Harness your new reach to educate people on the need to get medical care.

Some valuable information to share:

Measures you’ve kept in place to continue preventing the spread of infections. Patients will feel safer knowing some precautions are still in place:

Sanitization efforts in offices

Phone screenings of patients before in-person visits

Social distancing guidelines in waiting rooms

Face masks for staff and patients

Separate entrances for immunocompromised or high-risk patients

Maintenance of separate care areas for patients with contagious illnesses

Highlight even the routine safety measures you’ve always taken.

Risk to patients’ long-term health of avoiding medical care. Cape Cod Healthcare wrote a cautionary blog post on this topic, citing a patient whose delay seeking care for appendicitis resulted in a weeklong hospital stay. Another hesitant patient, who felt chest pain, had to hear that “the actual risk of having a heart attack was worse than the theoretical risk of getting COVID-19” at the hospital.

The value of getting evidence-based care in your established medical setting. When hospitals restricted visitors and cared for coronavirus patients, some expectant moms planned home births. Forced to put off elective procedures, other patients may have explored unproven alternative remedies.

Any guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization on the safety of returning to public life. Consumers have gotten used to relying on these sources over the past few months. Support your advice with their trusted information.

Topic Discussed: Bringing Patients Back to the Doctor’s Office After COVID-19

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