How to Keep Your Patients Informed During a Pandemic
There have been a few health crisis situations over the years, but nothing as intense as COVID-19. As a medical/healthcare practice, how do you keep your patients and community informed? Here are five key aspects of communication your healthcare practice can employ immediately.
As a healthcare practitioner your community relies on your expertise and professionalism to keep them informed. They trust you with not only their personal health, but the health of their children, parents, extended family, and the community at large.
They expect you to have the most up to date information, and they expect you to communicate that information as often as possible in a way that will reach them.
This is a heavy responsibility, and while it doesn’t technically fall under the scope of your work, it is an expectation (and an opportunity) that you cannot afford to ignore.
Here are five ways you can keep your patients, friends, family, and community informed when a health crisis strikes.
#1: Update Often
No matter how you do it (and I’ll outline several methods in the next tips), you need to update your community often. No, you may not have all the facts; however, you probably have more information than your average patient.
You need to find what method your patients expect you to communicate through and use it as much as possible. That might be email, social media, roadside signs, or a megaphone in a park… figure it out.
They are looking to you to inform them, and if you don’t do it, someone else will (namely, less informed “reporters”). Here are a few ways you can update your community:
- Post text/videos/pictures/graphics on social media platforms
- Shoot update videos and post on YouTube (example)
- Issue Press Releases (example)
- Send email campaign updates
#2: Issue Press Releases
As a medical practice, people want and expect you to inform you about the news. Better yet, search engines LOVE real news from real professionals. If you take the time to issue an official statement, they will take notice and send you traffic.
The press release is a time-honored method of releasing information. Start by putting your news on your website’s blog, then take the info and put it into any number of press release websites (either free or paid).
#3: Shoot Video Statements
This may be a tough one for many people, but the fact is that recording yourself (in this case a trained professional who has gone through countless hours of rigorous testing and training to earn their position) is worth a lot.
If you want proof, just look at the last newscast where you thought to yourself: “Wow, this person doesn’t know crap… where are the professionals that know what they’re talking about?”
That informed person is you. You need to shoot some quick videos to inform your community.
#4: Send Emails
You can’t just send emails to your patients (HIPPA Compliance dictates what information you can send or glean from subscribers), so make sure that they officially subscribe and opt-in to updates.
Once you have an appropriate level of clearance, you can now inform subscribers of updates.
During a crisis, once a week is not excessive and will be commended. Input your latest press release or video (or even just link to your social media post) and send it out to your subscribers.
#5: Update Your Website and Make Situational Updates Loud and Clear
Your website should be a vital news resource, but many practices tend to leave their content stagnant. Here is a list of ways to feature updates on your website:
- Include the update in your homepage header (usually a slideshow)
- Include a direct link to your related news releases in your primary navigation
- Feature a link in your toolbar (the area above the main navigation)
- Feature dynamically changing content on the homepage to grab attention (like a ticker-tape)
- Include a disclaimer or banner in the footer of every website page
Case Study: Lewis Family Medicine
If you’d like an example of a family practice that is executing all of these aspects of communication during the COVID-19 crisis, please look at LewisFamilyMed.com
We’ve been working with Lewis Family Medicine & Urgent Care since January 2020, and they’ve been striving to provide updates to the local community since. If you’re interested in a similar service, please Schedule a Consult.