At this year’s SHSMD 2020 conference, I had a great time engaging virtually with a number of healthcare marketers. No doubt everyone was burnt out and worn out. Although, the time to get together and connect with people was still welcome even amidst all the burnout that everyone is expereincing.
As I saw sessions and talked to people, I saw a really strong aspirational message that I think will benefit other healthcare marketers. Regardless of what you’ve been through and what’s to come, COVID-19 can be a time to build trust with your patients.
This is such a powerful idea. Your patients are experiencing some of the same burnout that you’re experiencing. It’s crazy how universal this experience really is for everyone in the world. How you and your organization communicate and engage with patients during these challenging times is going to be remembered in a very deep way by patients. Plus, as we come out of the pandemic, your healthcare organization is going to need patient trust.
I’d suggest two simple questions to consider as you approach building trust with patients:
- How did you do?
- What can you do now?
How did you do?
This is a hard question to ask. No one had COVID-19 on their plans and we were all making the best of an extremely hard situation. Given that as fact, offer yourself a little compassion and be willing to admit any mistakes that were made with out feeling any guilt or shame. I think that’s why a lot of us don’t want to revisit the last 6 months. That makes sense. However, it’s worth the effort to look back and see what worked and what didn’t. Some brutal honesty about your experience will teach you and your organization a lot about what you should be doing going forward. Although, as I cautioned above, be kind with yourself and your organization for mistakes made. We all made them.
What can you do now?
Once you’ve taken a second to evaluate what’s happened during COVID-19, you’re in the perfect position to start looking at what you can do now. Did you learn that you didn’t communicate enough with your patients or in the wrong way? Did you find that you didn’t have the right tools to be able to create trust with your patients? Were there policies you needed to work on changing to make for a better patient experience which would build trust? All of these questions and more will help you create a roadmap for successfully building trust with your patients.
In a discussion at SHSMD, Chris Eastwood from Point Across Media aptly pointed out that video was often a great option to consider when it comes to building trust with your patients. In fact, it may be a better option than text. This makes sense since it’s harder to communicate empathy and compassion through text vs video. That said, the wrong video can actually do the opposite. Start with truly having compassion for patients and that will come through in your videos. In fact, the right video can have a significant impact on patients that they’re unlikely to forget.
As patients start embracing a new digital front door to healthcare, they’re going to turn to those organizations that they trust. Is your organization going to be one they trust to guide them in their healthcare decision making? Are they going to trust you to direct them to the right care in the right way at the right time? Or are they going to turn to other options because you missed the opportunity to create a relationship of trust with the patient.
COVID-19 has been brutal for us all. Although, even with all the adversity we’ve faced, there’s an opportunity to build trust with patients amidst these challenging times. What are you doing in your organization to better your relationship with patients?