How bad has the COVID-19 pandemic become lately? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of January 19th, over 394,495 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S., with more than 23 million confirmed cases. More than 1.5 million cases were reported in the previous seven days for an average of 221,693 new cases per day.
This is a crisis that challenges hospitals in terms of staff shortages, patient management, and more. In particular, this latest surge presents two challenges:
The Latest Surge and What it Means for Hospitals
As multiple vaccines began to be implemented at the end of 2020, we also saw a surge in cases. According to data from the CDC, there were 174,814 confirmed cases of COVID-19 coming in the U.S. on December 30th alone. That far exceeds anything witnessed during the initial summertime surge, which routinely saw new cases hit 70,000 daily.
Beyond the toll that the latest surge is taking on hospital staff and physicians, due to and despite their heroic efforts, there are inescapable business challenges.
Challenges Stacking Up for 2021
As challenging as the present crisis is, the future poses a very different set of obstacles:
Getting Ahead of the Recovery by Restoring Non-COVID Patient Volumes
Even the COVID-19 pandemic will one day pass. But what comes next? Hospitals need a safe way to restore their patient volumes by resuming essential and elective care—which requires a restart of the patient pipeline. Marketing can play a key role in the solution because the marketing funnel—from awareness, consideration, and preference through “purchase” and “repurchase” (in the vernacular) applies to healthcare too, albeit with some significant differences. However, conventional hospital marketing is limited to just a few types.
Problems in Modern Healthcare Marketing
Faced with the unprecedented challenge of restoring patient volumes, hospitals need to use modern marketing methods and tools rather than relying on mass media or disjointed tactical approaches.
What does this entail? First, an acknowledgment: using the conventional marketing methods mentioned above, hospitals are limited. Relying on these disjointed tactical approaches will simply not have the same effect in the world of COVID-19 that it did in the pre-pandemic environment. What are some alternatives that hospitals can use to attract patients in a safe, sustainable way?
Let’s look at some of the marketing strategies that offer alternatives for encouraging patients to get the healthcare they need in a COVID-19 world:
Rather than focusing on mass media, it’s possible to leverage today’s modern media for a more targeted approach to marketing. Given the impact of COVID-19 and the need for hospitals to increase their patient volumes, there’s never been a more appropriate time to rethink how marketing is done. We’ll explore these topics further in our next email in this series.