Healthcare marketers have their work cut out for them in 2021 with the many changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. With healthcare top-of-mind, both locally and nationally, healthcare marketers continue to walk a path fraught with tremendous uncertainty, economic instability and patient anxiety.
Here are some trends that all healthcare marketers should be aware of as we look forward to 2021:
- Effects of the pandemic will be lasting
The pandemic has changed the way consumers are using and interacting with healthcare systems. On one hand, consumers have increased virtual visits and interactions with health technology. On the other hand, individuals are reporting increased levels of anxiety, financial and economic worries. All of these things need to stay in the forefront of communications.
- Consumers are using technology to track and maintain health
Increased use of tools and apps has accelerated with more than 42% of US consumers using some type of technology to set goals and track their health. And among users who track their health, they feel confident that the tools help change their behavior. Of those tracking their data, about half are willing to share that information with healthcare professionals.
Technology is also driving the ever-increasing use of telemedicine. Consumers are more comfortable and appreciate the safety and convenience offered with telehealth. It's important for healthcare marketers to build awareness and demand around their offerings.
- Consumers are more likely to tell their provider when they disagree with them
You'll find consumers taking a much more active role in their healthcare. They are more willing to disagree with their physician, track and monitor their health data, access their medical records and take ownership of the information and engage in healthy/preventive lifestyles. That being said, patient experience needs to stay a top priority. As consumers are more engaged, they will be more vocal when visits do not feel safe or they do not feel heard.
- Communication and a strong relationship are still important
Patients desire information. And in today's political climate they need a trusted voice that they can rely on for accurate, timely and proactive communications. People want facts—they want information on prevention, symptoms, testing, and treatment. The ability of healthcare marketers to cut through the noise and meet this demand will be essential to building trust and nurturing patient relationships. To maintain or even re-earn the trust of consumers, health care organizations should demonstrate reliability, transparency, and, most importantly, a sense of empathy.
Having the right communication tools is more important than ever. And just as consumers want a relationship they can trust, so too should healthcare marketers. Thread Marketing Group has over 40 years of experience working with healthcare organizations to build brand reputations and reach and engage physicians, staff and consumers. We've been trusted to promote transparency, accountability and strong community engagement for organizations across the U.S. If you have a moment, take a look at some of our results and then let us know how we can help you in 2021.