Though we are emerging from COVID-19, things are still relatively far from normal. With rumors of having to wear masks for the rest of our lives, and unresolved fear that the pandemic has created, now is the time to ensure we are not only there for our patients, but connected! This is why patient communication regarding COVID-19 related activities can be not only a fun exercise but also a necessary one.
When the pandemic was at its peak, patients were inundated with COVID-19 related information. Communication was centered around a practice’s new operations, new protocols, and information about how they could get their needs met virtually. This information was in fact critical and necessary, as patients needed to know what their doctors were doing to implement safety during this transition. But while this was critical information to send out to patient databases, could you imagine it from a patient’s viewpoint? How many doctors does the average patient have?
The Patient Perspective:
In an article published by prnewswire.com, the average number of doctors that each person has varies not only on their age but also their gender and income. For example, patients that are ages 18-24 years old, were found to have an average of 8.3 doctors. For patients over 65, the average increased to 28.4. When factoring in gender, women had on average 20.6 doctors, whereas men had 16.7. Then, by analyzing this information by income, those who made under $20,000 a year had 22.4 doctors, and those making more than $75,000 had 18.1.
In general, the average number of doctors that patients have was reported at 18.7. If each office is sending out information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, these emails can become bothersome. If, for example, each doctor sent out patient communication regarding their closure and then their reopening, that is roughly 38 emails all about COVID-19 that the patient is receiving. And this is just assuming that each doctor is sending only 2, not including any additional emails they may be sending regarding new protocols, updates about virtual consultations, promotions, etc. When those are factored in, the average number of emails the patient is receiving increases to 76+ emails! Still, this number is not reflective of patients that have more than 18 doctors, nor is it reflective of other companies that are also sending their COVID-19 related emails!
What Do Patients Want?
Patients want more than transparency; they are seeking personal experience and communication. According to a survey published by PracticeBuilder, patients are more likely to choose a practice that provides a personal relationship and are twice as likely to factor in this aspect and disregard price if this aspect is met.
So what does this mean? Well, patients want to know who their doctor is! While credentials are definitely a requirement and serve as a main factor in any patient’s decision to choose a practice or doctor, the personal experience and connection they have with a practice or doctor will factor into whether or not they stay.
Think of it as your bedside manner or friendliness to a patient. If your bedside manner is subpar, they may not want to return. However, if it is exceptionally well, they won’t want to consider another doctor by any means. Similarly, if they have a strong personal connection with their doctor, and attach average-human-like qualities to them, the connection grows and you create an atmosphere that is inclusive. Instead of having patients, you have a family within your practice.
Goldman Marketing Group’s Take:
For the reasons above, Goldman Marketing Group ensured that our clients reached out to their patients not only in regards to critical COVID-19 related protocols but also COVID-19 related activities that doctors were participating in during quarantine. This was the first quarantine that most Americans ever faced, and with it came a lot of fear, confusion, and quite frankly a lot of boredom. The best part is deciding on what topic you are going to focus on, as we’ve had doctors share about cooking, gardening, and even their at-home skincare regimen. We’ve even highlighted the importance of washing hands and safety bringing in food delivery at home! Take a look at Dr. Ortiz’s patient communication on cooking during COVID-19!
Reaching out to patients during quarantine while also providing activities that doctors are actively participating in has a number of benefits. Firstly, it serves as a distraction. It breaks up the 76+ emails that patients are receiving from doctors and allows them the opportunity to read something new and personal. Secondly, it allows a practice to stand out amongst the rest, just as when you incorporate other forms of connecting with patients, like webinar series. While other practices are sending out vital information that is, in fact, necessary, this optional piece of com
munication makes a practice look unique. Then, by sending this patient communication, those that are sitting at home impatiently waiting until they can return to shopping, the beaches, restaurants, etc., are given different ideas of what they can do during their quarantine time. And the ideas they come up with would be from the practice that suggested it!
These patient communications serve many purposes, but ultimately a patient will be happy that their doctor provided not only an idea for them to use while in quarantine, but also because of a personal connection achieved through this act. By participating in this form of communication, a practice reaches out to the patient that is looking not only for a doctor that excels in their field but one that is a generally interesting person.
Though patients are receiving a large number of emails, this one particular email could help your practice stand out and you may be surprised by the results.
In a COVID-19 hobbies related e-blast we sent to a client’s patient database, we saw a total of nearly 5,000 opens. This e-blast, when compared to the COVID-19 communication regarding virtual consultations, did just as well in terms of total opens.
In fact, the COVID-19 related hobby e-blast generated nearly the same amount of call inquiries than the virtual consultation e-blast. This occurred despite the fact that the content was not promotional in nature by any means. It was simply an opportunity to connect with the patients, and patients were happy to read.
If you’re interested in reaching out to your patient database and establishing a personal connection that turns your patient to family, be sure to reach out to Goldman Marketing Group. We are happy to help!
Next, learn about Advertising Tips Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic.