Watch: COVID-19 Reopening – How Your Healthcare Brand Can Emerge Stronger From the Crisis

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Transcript: COVID-19 Reopening – How Your Healthcare Brand Can Emerge Stronger From the Crisis

Aaron Clifford:
Welcome everyone, and thank you for taking time out of your busy day to join us. My name is Aaron Clifford, and I’m the senior vice president of marketing here at Binary Fountain. If you’re unfamiliar with Binary Fountain, hopefully you’re not, but if you will are unfamiliar, we are a single platform for businesses to manage the customer experience and online presence, so everything from listing services and management to reputation management, employer brand, surveys, mobile testimonials, that’s sort of what we do.

Aaron Clifford:
As a company in the healthcare space, we know it’s been a challenging time in everyone’s business and personal lives, so we’re extremely grateful that you would join us today, and we hope that what we have to share is going to be beneficial. We’re going to try to squeeze in as much information as we possibly can into this time together. So for the next hour, we’re going to be discussing ways for healthcare marketers to position their organizations for success as we begin to emerge from this crisis, if we’re emerging or dealing with the next phase of the crisis maybe, including content marketing, internal communications, listings management, telemedicine, promotion. We’re going to cover a lot of ground in those particular areas. To help us talk through some of these strategies, I’m joined once again with Stewart Gandolf, the CEO of the integrated marketing firm, Healthcare Success. So Stewart, extremely happy to be doing this with you again. With that, go ahead and introduce yourself.

Stewart Gandolf:
Great. Hi everybody. Thank you again, Aaron, and thanks for inviting me back. I love doing these things with you guys, and you certainly are a terrific organization and have some great clients. It’s fun to share some insights with you. As Aaron mentioned, I am CEO of Healthcare Success, so we spend our life all day, every day working with providers, hospitals, systems, enterprise level practices, and smaller practices, and even some pharma device, help them influence patients, help them influence doctors. That’s really what our role is to do. That’s our reason to exist. As we get into this, I’m going to share, or let’s see. Do you want to walk through the agenda here with us, Aaron?

Aaron Clifford:
Yeah, sure. Yeah. We’re going to cover quite a bit of ground, and it’s only like 750 slides, so don’t be scared. No, it’s not that many. I just saw the number drop. No, please stay with us. It’s going to be that long.

Stewart Gandolf:
You’re funny, Aaron.

Aaron Clifford:
Not that long, but we’re going to cover headlines in data to try to answer the question where are we now in this crisis, and then we’ll discuss creative digital marketing strategies that will prove useful as we start to emerge from the pandemic. Then we’ll walk through trends behind some of the acceleration that we’ve seen in telemedicine that you all have probably seen, along with best practices for promoting virtual visits and capturing patient feedback. Then we’ll dive into some key updates to Google and other listing platforms that you should look out for, along with the impact of COVID-19 to employer brands. Finally, we’ll have a QA session. So for the Q&A, please feel free to submit your questions in the Q&A portion of the Zoom webinar. If you submit those, and then we’ll get to those in the last 10 to 15 minutes. So with that, Stuart, I’ll pass it over to you to get started.

Stewart Gandolf:
Outstanding. Thanks, Aaron. So let’s see. Moving the screen. It says I can move the screen, but it’s not. There we go. Hold on. Looks like we have a little bit of a delay here. So as I get started here, one of the key points I want to make is that these are, as Aaron suggested a few minutes ago, obviously some very challenging times. Unprecedented, challenging times. As if we didn’t have enough problems as a country in the pandemic, we have a lot of social issues which are coming to the surface. It’s highly politicized. There’s a lot of tension out there, very different viewpoints, and it’s hard to see what is happening in the world. So I would say, as I get into this, I’m going to start off with some headlines and some data as Aaron alluded to a minute ago, because I feel like it’s important to start … Before you start rushing into marketing, we would need to figure out where are we?

Stewart Gandolf:
Some of you may relate to this. I’ve been spending, since we started social distancing early with our company, we’re still virtual, it’s important to make sure you still feel in touch, right? You’re not getting that social interaction you used to to get a pulse on where people really are, so we’re going to cover that at the opening part here. The main theme I would say is to remember that we need to pivot and change. Some of the headlines I’m about to show you were unthinkable a couple of weeks ago, so we need to be ready to pivot and change. Every month, we need to reassess where we are. I was very careful to take only the most recent headlines, because headlines of a couple of weeks ago are already out of date.

Stewart Gandolf:
So we want to cut through the data and figure out what’s going on. We’re going to provide some insights to you. I want to talk about some creative strategies, some communication strategies, and I’ll talk about some of the marketing opportunities that come with telemedicine, so that’s where my section is. So as we get into this though, you’ll see that if you know one hospital in one market, you know one hospital in one market. It varies, and that’s really what this first headline is about. “Is America’s pandemic waning or raging? Yes.” So in some markets, coronaviruses continue to spike. In other markets, it feels like it’s under control. In other markets, they’re like, “What coronavirus,” right? So it really varies by where you are on the ground every day. For example, I did another webinar recently where one of the people from one of the hospitals at ground zero said, “Hey, the good news is that people really love us for all the great work that we did with coronavirus and treating patients. The bad news is because we did so many, they were afraid to come to us.”

Stewart Gandolf:
That’s a very different situation than a small rural hospital where they haven’t had coronavirus at all. So given that, I’m going to try to give you ideas and thoughts and stimulate thinking that will make sense for your own personal situation, because it does vary a lot. Whoops. I don’t know why I did that. Aaron, maybe this makes sense for you to take over the screen. I don’t know why it’s jumping around like this on me. Okay.

Aaron Clifford:
Sometimes Zoom has the gremlins for sure.

Stewart Gandolf:
Yeah. Welcome to technology. So I’m done. All my slides are over. You can go now.

Aaron Clifford:
750 slides went fast.

Stewart Gandolf:
All right. So a weekend of protests erupt across the nation happens June 1st. Probably not something people thought much about two or three weeks ago. During that period, we were up to 1,800,000 coronavirus cases, and all those people that were protesting were shoulder to shoulder. There’s a lot of articles on that and fears about that. Just yesterday, Fauci was talking about the concern of all those people shouting and without masks and face to face. So beyond the social crisis, that health crisis potentially could be exacerbated with that.

Stewart Gandolf:
Again, I just was looking for anecdotal headlines to help you understand what’s going on. This is another divisive issue. A lot of people are still divided whether the masks even are helpful, and obviously that’s changed with “Yes, wear a mask. No don’t wear a mask. Yes, wear a mask,” so people are divided about even masks, even the most basic public health issues. As you know, we’ve reached the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths. Now 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment, and Fortune Magazine says the real jobless rate is nearly 24%. So obviously, you’re going to have a huge impact. You have this much of a health crisis combined with this much of an economic crisis combined with the social crisis. A lot of things are just a new normal.

Stewart Gandolf:
Hospitals, as many of you know, because of the people that are on the phone from hospitals, the public thinks hospitals are raking it in, right? You’ve got a lot of cases. Meanwhile, so many or all those procedures have been postponed, and there’s crickets in the ER. So lots and lots of financial pressure. This is not news to our audience, but again, it’s finally making its way to the public. At the physician side, I’ve done a number of webinars recently for physicians, and the MGMA is showing that 97% of practices are under financial stress. This is more recent, came out from the AMA calling for more relief for physician practices and Medicaid. Rural hospitals are always on the edge economically, so National Geographic wrote about that, again, exacerbated based upon the coronavirus.

Stewart Gandolf:
Meanwhile, the DOW opened up 200 on yesterday in the recovery, so this is where I’m just saying it’s such a confusing time. I mean, it’s crazy. Then finally, what I’m setting Aaron up to talk more about this and myself later, $250 billion revenue opportunity with COVID. I shared an anecdote last time and I’ll share another one. Patients and doctors and everything was feeling trepidation based upon reimbursement and privacy and quality concerns, and certainly not everybody’s a fan, but a whole bunch of people are. My last experience with telemedicine was my kid got bit by a spider. She was worried there was a circle. Instead of going to the dirty urgent care, because there was not many in the area that we were in that we thought looked very clean. Certainly some great urgent cares, but not in that particular area or spending a day at the hospital, we did a telemedicine appointment in 10 minutes and had prepared breakfast while we’re doing it. It’s like, “I’m sold. That’s for sure.”

Stewart Gandolf:
So going back to this, again, you have headlines all across the board here. Now this is really intriguing. I spent some time digging into stats, so beyond the headlines, because it’s really easy if you’re just looking at headlines to get confused as to where America is. You see parties in the Ozarks, and you assume everybody’s just blowing us off and nobody seems to care anymore. That turns out not to be the case. So certainly the outliers, those photo ops do exist. I’m not saying they don’t, but the stats say 68% of Americans now expect the epidemic to last six months or longer. So almost 70% are in for the long haul, and some of those people, I didn’t break it down, are a year or longer. So it’s a big, big percentage of Americans that are still leery, so please keep that in mind.

Stewart Gandolf:
79% are concerned about coronavirus in our country. Again, you wouldn’t think that. It seems like if you’re watching the news, at least some of the news, that people are just completely blowing us off. Well, 79% are still worried, and this is a recent stat. This is the most recent data I could find. Half are scared of contracting the virus, so personally, beyond the countries, they’re interested personally. 61% don’t expect the economy to return normal until sometime in 2020. I’m sorry, 2020 rather. That’s two-thirds again, so these are all data from different sources showing us that the public has not yet embraced or opened. 68% expect to delay big purchases. This is funny. 84% thought that it was important for business to back to normal.

Stewart Gandolf:
Now, given everything we just described, that’s hard, but there is even … I didn’t share this in this deck, but there’s even stats that humorous and funny ads are appropriate. The whole, “We’re all in this together” theme has been hip for a long time. People are getting annoyed even though we are all in this together at various stages, so it’s time to begin adjusting your creative messaging. So people are looking for some normalcy back in their life.

Stewart Gandolf:
So one of the things that I wanted to describe as well is, as we were preparing for this, our creative director, Dana, I spoke with her. She’s, as I may have alluded to in the last webinar, has spent a lot of time previous to working with us on pharma working with rare disease drugs. So when you’re working with rare disease drugs, we spent a lot of time thinking about the Kubler-Ross Model that you’ve may have heard about before, the various stages of grief. So looking at this from a perspective of the pandemic, again, this is a context. What I’m trying to do here is to give you some creative to think a little bit differently about your audience, and I’ll describe why in a minute.

Stewart Gandolf:
So there are people at all stages really here. So there’s denial, right? That’s the first stage of, if you’re worried or if you’ve heard the news you’re going to die, the first is denial. So there are some people that still deny it, right? We’ve been months into this now, half a year since it’s happened in China, and so there are still people that feel like this is all overblown, and they’re resuming their activities and maybe never even stopped. So you have a certain subset of the audience that feels that way. Others are still feeling anger and anxiety and depression. These counts are way up. Stats are varied. I was going to share some with you, but they’re all across the board. But clearly when you talk to therapists, you talk to people in the business, there’s always people with anxiety and depression, but again, that’s being exacerbated by the current health crisis we’re facing today.

Stewart Gandolf:
So there’s a grief of losing their former lives. Here I am in California. I live in a beautiful spot. Now that we’re going outdoors, it’s a little bit better, but I feel this. I understand this. I feel like, “Jeez, it really would be nice to go out to a nice dinner without fear of contracting the virus,” so there’s some of that. People may be at various stages of this on any given day. In a dialoguing and bargaining stage talking, reaching out learning, that’s probably where a lot of people are today. They’re kind of not quite at the last stage, but they’re at least beginning to talk about it. My wife just told me a few minutes ago that she’s having a social distancing happy hour at our house. It’s no longer virtual.

Stewart Gandolf:
I got together with my friend, Rob Klein, in Palm Springs last week. Same thing. Rob and I and our wives got together. We’re still far, far apart, we’re outside, but we’re beginning to talk. We’re beginning to [inaudible 00:14:41] and beginning to sort of process. Then a few are already in the acceptance stage. They’re moving on. They’re in the new normal, so we have that. So as you start thinking about your personas, which I’ll talk about even more in a minute, think about where people are broadly, because you’re going to have a mix of these folks in your marketplace and, depending on where you are, at different proportions.

Stewart Gandolf:
… the marketplace, and depending on where you are at different proportions.

Stewart Gandolf:
Interestingly, to prepare also, I spoke with a friend of mine who happens to be a therapist for my kids, but he’s also a speaker and author and kind of an authority on performance. So that’s his world. So I talked to him about what he’s seeing in his own practice and what he and his colleagues are seeing. I think this is interesting, and again, help guide us as we think about our consumers and our marketplace. So interestingly, a lot of people are taking this time for self reflection and some don’t some just keep working and don’t even think about it, but a lot are doing that. Not everybody likes what they see. Some do some don’t.

Stewart Gandolf:
Interestingly. I feel like this is important. One of the key things, particularly working with professional athletes and high performance people, high performance business people, the type As who are used to being successful because they control everything, now feel a loss of control and therefore a loss of identity. So you have a lot of people out there that are used to being in charge, used to controlling everything. So I would think about how that would impact your marketing.

Stewart Gandolf:
So for example, if you are marketing, we break it down a lot of times into the four categories of personality styles, right? So you have directors, or the controllers, the decision makers, you have analyticals, who think a lot, more of the engineering types supporter [inaudible 00:01:16], those are the warm and fuzzies. Then you have the promoter, who expresses who are out there. You probably have seen some variation of that model. Well, those type As are used to, “Just give choices, I’ll make a decision.” So right now, when they’re not in control, it’s much harder for them to make a decision, and there’s just a lot of emotional stress that comes with that.

Stewart Gandolf:
On that note, stress, bring some people together and obviously based upon some of what we’re seeing, pulls others apart. So you have this dynamic where psychologically people are in a whole new world. Now here’s something bizarre. My wife is in this category, it’s funny. [Joe Jardine 00:00:16:53], this was the therapist that was referring to a minute ago, and I, both have wives who are introverts. Their happiest plans, they tell us, to stay at home orders, they’re with their family, they’re with the dogs, they’re with the people they love. So again, you’d have a different dynamic there.

Stewart Gandolf:
Then finally keep in mind that, and this, again, from a marketing standpoint, some are using this opportunity to make positive changes in their business, their relationships, their lives, and most importantly, for the purposes of this meeting, their health. So you’ve already heard probably about people getting divorced or likely to get divorced. Other people are rediscovering their marriages. Some businesses are floundering where others are reaching new highs.

Stewart Gandolf:
I recommend by the way, to anybody in business, even if it’s a hospital or system to be thinking about your business model going forward, this is a fantastic time to be reevaluating. Particularly as we get into things like telemedicine later, to really reevaluate it because the models are all going to change, and then health.

Stewart Gandolf:
So there is some opportunity positive, with all this negative news to reach out to consumers that have decided, “Finally, it’s time to lose weight. Finally, I want to take control of my health. Finally, I’m ready to do this.” So as you start thinking your message, recognizing that this audience, there are going to be people within the audience that are ready to make some big changes and your marketing should reflect that.

Stewart Gandolf:
So in terms of creative strategy, here are some of the things that we recommend. I was speaking with my creative director, Dana, and me, we were describing this before this meeting. So our first strong recommendation is rethink your personas. Most of the people on this call today are marketers. Chances are you have personas, you’ve broken your audience down beyond just female 35 to 45. You’ve thought through personas. You figured out who you’re reaching psychographically as well as demographically. So I would say this is a really good time to go back and test the assumptions you make. Maybe they’re completely the same, but really, nobody’s exactly the same. So I would really encourage you to rethink your personas and [wu 00:18:50] up the coronavirus pandemic. It’s really important.

Stewart Gandolf:
Make appropriate changes to your messaging to make sure that it resonates with people in our new normal. So, as you’re thinking today, like just a moment ago, we described that some people are ready for change. So how can we make sure that messaging makes sense? In our last seminar we did, we talked about no handshaking, no people hand in hand, no large crowds. So that was the beginning step. But now again, what feels maybe a little bit leading edge, but still appropriate for the audience? You can’t move too fast, back towards normal.

Stewart Gandolf:
It’s funny, again, I’m preparing for some other presentations have been working on, looking for the word teamwork on Shutterstock, the way they showed teamwork, or I’m sorry. Partnership, rather, was the word. Every single slide was showing people shaking hands. That doesn’t work today. So you have to think through how do you show concepts like partnership in new ways, which is, in a way fun. It’s a creative challenge. So make sure that you do that.

Stewart Gandolf:
We also expect to see what we call COVID resolutionists. So we’ve had for many years, obviously, new year’s resolutions where everybody feels like, “Okay, this is the year I’m going to finally lose weight. This is the year going to finally take control of my asthma. This is the year I’m finally going to do something about my droopy eyelids, or I’m going to finally take action against my migraines.” So what we expect and all of it just described is, despite all the chaos and all the craziness, that people are going to be resolving to take advantage of this time. Certainly a subset. Quantifiable, I don’t know, but certainly there’s people out there.

Stewart Gandolf:
So a lot of the … and our hypothesis is here. A lot of the healthiest people will work even harder to stay healthy, and not in a bragging way. But it’s funny. My wife complains about me to her friends because I have a little home gym here in the same room I’m talking to you about, and I’ve actually lost a couple of times. She’s like, “My husband lost weight in COVID, can you believe it?” But that’s worse than me, right? So it’s like, “Well, I might as well make the best of it.” So there are people out there that are going to work even harder and because they have more time, they’ll probably work even harder to stay healthy, which is great.

Stewart Gandolf:
There’s a moderate group who may double down and try harder. But the real opportunity I think is for those of us in the healthcare space is of the people that are not so healthy, you’re going to get some who’ll do nothing at all. But there’s going to be a certain percentage that has an opportunity right now for you to be able to reach them in ways that you’ve never been able to before so that you can talk to them in a new message like, “Let us be part of your new life. This is a new you.”

Stewart Gandolf:
Again, you have to time this appropriately. As I said earlier, every market’s different. So some markets are ready for that message at all. You have to recognize there’s going to be a gradation here between which message is appropriate now, and which is later. It may even make sense internally to do sort of a flow chart, kind of predicting the future, and what kind of marketing might make sense for this stage where people go through the bell curve of accepting the reality and getting back to life. But at some point marketing towards those people who feel like, “I’m ready for something better,” is certainly a strategy worth exploring with your marketing.

Stewart Gandolf:
Also, today guiding principles should include things like values. When I say values, I mean, positive values, like, “We care about people,” but in a different way. Right now, there’s, certainly with the challenges we’ve had with the black violence and racism against blacks that’s always been around, but it’s come up to light. Some companies are embracing and taking a forward, which is great, a forward stance. That the key is how can you as a company embrace this without making it into a marketing opportunity, right? So there’s values there. There’s authenticity, transparency, and safety.

Stewart Gandolf:
These are always values, but there’s even data. As I was preparing for this, I chose not to show it because it’s long winded and hard to describe, but essentially things like safety are a lot more important to people than they have been in the past. It was always presumed. So which, did I lose a slide here? Okay. I think I’m okay. So how do we turn back on? I’ll describe that more later.

Stewart Gandolf:
So again, remember, strategies will vary tremendously by location provider type. The hospital system is different than a single location hospital, which is different than a multi specialty group with hundreds of locations, which is different than a single practice or family practice. So it is going to vary a lot. Then by location, New York is a lot different than Kansas in terms of its impact of the chronic virus. So keep that in mind.

Stewart Gandolf:
Have that said, I would strongly recommend that you continually … and a lot of the hospitals have done a pretty good job of this others, not so much, but to really integrate with what the clinical team’s priorities are. I felt like what we went through the last of months is this an unprecedented, exciting time in a way, in a tragedy, sadly it took to bring out, but where there was coordination between the clinical team, the administrators, the marketing team, everybody’s on the same page.

Stewart Gandolf:
So hopefully if you’re already doing that, continue to do that because now as we’re past the crisis phase in many markets, we’re prepared and we’re ready, we’re kind of managing the cases, then how do we successfully roll out the elective care and the surgical non-urgent care? What is the priority within the hospital clinically? And it makes sure the marketing team is aligned with that.

Stewart Gandolf:
One of the things I thought about, and a lot lately is triage. The whole concept of triage. So if you have limited budget and you have limited resources target the people that that are your own patients, right? Target your high risk patients first. I would argue it’s a duty of a hospital to make sure that we do everything we can to make sure that they are our first priorities, these are people that we already have relationships with, we already have their health records. So think about how can we reach out to the people that trust us already. Make sure they’re getting the care they need.

Stewart Gandolf:
Clearly, you’ve seen some of the other headlines about people getting heart attacks and strokes because they’re afraid to go to the ER. So we need to spend a lot of time working on that messaging. So on that note, use this opportunity to raise awareness of emergency problems like strokes and heart attacks. Having somebody die at home because they had a stroke and didn’t do anything or have them debilitated for life when they could have been helped, is just tragic.

Stewart Gandolf:
I put in here, “Add symptoms to remind people that …” You know, people aren’t doctors, and so symptomatically, describe what the symptoms are and they’ve come a long way on this with strokes to make sure people know. Maybe there’s ways of integrating telemedicine into this, “When you’re not sure, call us, we’re here.” Obviously, clinically we want to make sure that’s appropriate. So think this through clinically, what makes sense for telemedicine as a test? What should just come straight to the hospital no matter what? But raise awareness.

Stewart Gandolf:
Consider the needs of high need consumers. So social determinants of health, obesity, diabetes, seniors, this would probably be at the top of your list community wise. Again, this is a chance to develop thought leadership in your community. So you probably have had, if you’re at a hospital level, campaigns about this in the past, well they won’t be just simply dusting them off and rerunning them. It’s a new epidemic. So this, sadly, this never gets old, right? You may have done obesity last year, but that hasn’t gone away probably. So consider the frame and the message and the context of today.

Stewart Gandolf:
Importantly, TV and online media consumption remain high. I spoke about this on the last webinar, and they’re almost as high as before. It’s dropped off a little bit, which you’d expect, but people are still, even in the states where people are opening and people are beginning to open up, there’s still much higher than average TV and online media consumption.

Stewart Gandolf:
Also, there’s new habits that have changed even for the people that are going back to work back to the office, there’s new habits that have formed over the past eight weeks or so. Paid search. We do a lot with paid search with our company. It’s one of our, certainly our only weapon, but it’s a favorite weapon because it targets people who are already looking for care. So I saw some data about, in fact, Aaron’s going to share some of the data they put together about what hospital markers and healthcare markers are doing now. A lot of the strategies have taken a back seat, and naturally so for crisis care and some content marketing.

Stewart Gandolf:
But as a reminder, people that are in the market don’t search for care, typically, especially terms like, “Weight loss doctor near me,” unless they’re looking. They don’t just do that randomly. So they may be at different levels of the funnel, but paid search is really strong and we are seeing that in our own marketing. So a lot of our clients that paused or slowed down are back in the market already. What we’re seeing is certainly interested again in getting healthcare, and as I expected predicted last time the conversions have been softer. So people will be clicking through, reading, but they may be taking time to actually contact you, which means in that case, think about retargeting back to these patients through Facebook and other methods. So paid search for those people are looking for care.

Stewart Gandolf:
Another opportunity, we did a webinar recently because of the pandemic pharma reps and physician liaisons at the hospital level can’t reach doctors. They probably won’t for a long, long time because obviously they’re trying to social distance, they don’t want a bunch of drug reps or physician liaison hanging around the lobby when they’re trying to keep people in at a very slow pace. So one to one digital marketing with email, with targeted paid social, if you’re interested in that, let us know. We just did a full webinar on that, but digital marketing to reach those referring to many doctors on a one to one basis.

Stewart Gandolf:
I mentioned safety a minute ago. Safety is always important. Remember, that safety is number one in the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs list. Number one, right? You’re not thinking about self-actualization or writing poetry if a tigers chasing you down the street. Safety is number one. But what’s intriguing in our world today, for most people, not all, but for most people, safety was presumed. Up until February sometime in America, that thing was happening in China was a distant … You know, “We’ve seen this before. It’s no big deal. Everything’s overblown.” So nobody really thought much about safety until they had to.

Stewart Gandolf:
So it’s going to be very difficult. You’re not going to get people thinking about weight loss if they’re still afraid they could die if they make it into your waiting room. So number one, safety first, it’s a saying, but from a marketing standpoint it’s critical. Lots of evidence out there that easing government restrictions make it possible for people to come out. That doesn’t mean they will. So easing government restrictions is the first step, but that does not equate to feeling safe. A lot of people are afraid that, “Okay, great. We can …”

Stewart Gandolf:
… way to feeling safe. And a lot of people are afraid that, okay, great. We can come out, but are they got to shut down again because too many people came out too fast? I get them to stay away from the politics of this, but there are certainly, while there’s some people out and about as though nothing happened, there’s a lot of people as the statistics show, that are not quite there.

Stewart Gandolf:
This is an interesting stat. Just going back to stats for a moment. Again, this is super recent. “More than 60% of Americans said they’d wait one to six months to return to routine health care after restrictions are lifted. So almost two-thirds said they it’s their plan is to wait.

Stewart Gandolf:
However, I have some other stats that I think you’ll like. Now this is really important. According to McKinsey, a trusted source there, “50% of patients said they might reschedule earlier if their doctor’s office would call them to reschedule.” I want to say that again because that may be one of the biggest takeaways of the meeting today. 50% say they might be willing to reschedule if their doctor’s office called them.

Stewart Gandolf:
So and I’m using the term broadly. I read this study and if anybody wants it, I can get it to you but it’s not super clear the context of this. But the basic idea, whether it’s calling, emailing, texting, I don’t know, whatever’s appropriate to try to get in front of your patients, that active effort whether it’s a doctor’s office or a hospital, is something to think through and to build into your marketing system.

Stewart Gandolf:
Don’t start off with the obscure stuff unless you do the basics. And that means that for a big hospital system, that’s a lot easier said than done, right? That’s a whole process. Someone’s got to figure that out. Do we use call centers? How are we going to do that?

Stewart Gandolf:
But again, the data shows us that and it just makes sense. People trust their doctors. All the data shows they trust the doctors even more. So with some nudging, people are more likely to come in so call, email, text. Make sure that don’t just do that though. Explain the safety measures you put into place.

Stewart Gandolf:
I have some people on my team that have some health issues now. One of us, one of our team members has a husband with stage four colon cancer. And she literally called me asking what to do because she was afraid to take him to the oncologist. And while I’m not an expert at this, I told her like, We’ll talk them through safety measures. Make sure they put that into place.”

Stewart Gandolf:
So clearly, this is important to a whole bunch of people. Don’t make the mistake thinking everybody’s back to normal. Reinforce that messaging everywhere, your website, social media, directories, online, offline advertising, safety first.

Stewart Gandolf:
Keep in mind that people just like the diffusion of innovations curve. Most markers have seen that where some people are innovators, then you get into early adopters, then you get into early majority, late majority of migrants, right? The people that tend to be more out that early part of that curve tend to be younger and more educated. The people that are older into the curve are a bit less educated, less money and older.

Stewart Gandolf:
But whether that’s the case in this case or not is really not the point. It’s just to remember that not everybody’s ready. And so you’re going to have to build your marketing strategy recognizing that no matter what you do, some people are going to be taking more time than others. And so it’s a reality of life. Build that into your marketing. Oh, and the patients don’t fully understand medical terms like elective surgery. Elective surgery, people think of that means a face-lift but obviously that’s a completely different term clinically.

Stewart Gandolf:
Finally, I’m going to set the ball up here for Erin. Telemedicine. I’m going to tell you about how fantastic telemedicine is, how it’s going to change the world. You’ve heard that for sure, but I would suggest number one, promote telemedicine’s and telehealth’s benefits now to seize a leadership position while you still can. It’s still, while it’s not new to you anymore, it’s still new to the public. This is a fantastic opportunity to seize a leadership position.

Stewart Gandolf:
Two, consider the entire digital journey. Aaron will be speaking about that. It’s not just your website, it’s the entire digital journey throughout the process. Directory listings, email, social media, display. Target people in paid search, in SEO who are actively looking for telehealth.

Stewart Gandolf:
Finally, one of the things I talk a lot about is look at telehealth as a bridge that allows people to safely and competently reengage. So maybe you need to have them come in for procedures, but telehealth could easily be the first step.

Stewart Gandolf:
And then as we get into the later stages of the pandemic, telehealth could be a fantastic, and I’ve been talking about this for years, a way of doing a low-risk offer. So if you’re a direct response marketer, a low-risk way to find out about bariatric surgery.

Stewart Gandolf:
You don’t have to come down and sit in a seminar. You don’t have to go pay for an office visit. To have a quick tele-health consultation. For example, it’s a fantastic opportunity with telemedicine. Okay, Aaron, I told Jim, “You wouldn’t have to give me the hook.” So I’m turning it over to you.

Aaron Clifford:
No, I had no worries. And yeah thank you, Stewart. Just the insight and the perspective definitely gets my brain working differently, so thank you for sharing those items. And again, please, all of you, if you have questions, please feel free to submit those. We’ll get to them in a few minutes here.

Aaron Clifford:
So Stewart, I think he covered the getting back into telemedicine very or not getting back into, but the opportunity telemedicine provides. And just wanted to share with you some of the things that we’ve observed and also have found in some of our surveys that we have done to marketers, healthcare marketers.

Aaron Clifford:
So we know that the pandemic has spurred all kinds of providers to accelerate the rollout and the promotion of telemedicine initiatives. Forrester Research. This is just mind boggling but it’s believable, says that, “Virtual healthcare interactions are on pace to top 1 billion by year’s end.”

Aaron Clifford:
And no doubt if you all have used telehealth and options like Stewart mentioned about his daughter with the spider bite, you know that it is extremely convenient. And my wife had a situation that she needed to, with all the COVID stuff happening didn’t want to go to an urgent care. But had set up a visit with an urgent care that was connected to her primary care physician, which is connected to the hospitals that we normally go to and all of the information was right there.

Aaron Clifford:
There was a beautiful digital journey. A physician was able to pull up her records and medications and other items. And it was just extremely simple from the beginning, to searching, to the completion of her appointment. It was only 35 minutes, which is just extremely convenient and she got the help that she needed. So huge, huge. Obviously you all have found that out.

Aaron Clifford:
We did a survey to healthcare marketers asking about, “How their strategies are changing due to COVID-19?” And we asked what projects or initiatives they had planned post-COVID 19, and the three responses were, “Telehealth, online listings and advertising.”

Aaron Clifford:
So when it comes to communicating about the telemedicine offerings, please keep in mind that half of consumers are concerned about receiving low quality of care from a telemedicine appointment. According to surveys from AP-NORC Center and the advisory board, which the AP-NORC Center just has great data in case you want to look them up and look at reports that they put out. Very good.

Aaron Clifford:
Most of the studies that we’ve seen, show that virtual visits are actually right on par for the care quality measurements, but perceptions of virtual care are what they are. So yeah, definitely explaining the quality and incorporating patient testimonials of what they’ve experienced. Obviously if the consumer gets that from reviews where there are telemedicine experiences shared, that helps your marketing program. But when you can and it’s appropriate, share those testimonials on your digital channels if you’re able to capture those as well.

Aaron Clifford:
Other top consumer concerns surrounding virtual visits include data security, privacy, needing an in-person clinic. Anyway, so I actually, I need to see something in person. All of those things with consistent communication and very directed communication on those concerns, can make a big difference in gaining more appointments.

Aaron Clifford:
Cost is always a top issue. So make sure that you review management team and the providers that are responding to online reviews. Have the appropriate information to respond to the FAQs that come along. The University of North Carolina Medical Center virtual urgent care page is a great example of an FAQ page that answers many common consumer questions before the patient even has to ask. So I encourage you guys to come up with content that’s helpful in answering those questions, just to remove that barrier of entry into your health system or your clinic.

Aaron Clifford:
Next, there’s a huge opportunity that we’re seeing with your listings management initiatives to drive the adoption of telemedicine. So 81% of patients are more likely to select a medical provider who offers telemedicine services over one who does not when choosing a physician, according to the software advice survey.

Aaron Clifford:
So make sure that your listings are updated across all platforms, directories and social media pages for every location and for every provider. If telemedicine is your primary means of seeing patients during COVID-19 and during the reopening, we would definitely mention that word higher up in the bio for the providers. So it’s in the search previews when via whether it’s Google or on a particular platform.

Aaron Clifford:
Both CareDash and Healthgrades have telehealth indicators that you can add to your profiles for your physicians. And Healthgrades is also adding a search filter for telehealth services. So you’ll want to have that category checked to appear in the results on the Healthgrade searches.

Aaron Clifford:
Of course your own website, extremely important. I think the billings clinic, they have their homepage banner is a great example of the promotion. They highlight it with the banner with the bright colors, large, easy to read text. It’s a very efficient way to get traffic into their digital lobby, so to speak, of the website and lets patients know immediately what their options are for booking an appointment.

Aaron Clifford:
I thought it was interesting in Stewart mentioning that, “50% of patients said, ‘Hey, if you call me, I may make a, I’ll book an appointment.'” So obviously using those off-digital channels are important, but making sure that your digital channels are up to snuff there.

Aaron Clifford:
As a relatively new healthcare experience for many, the patient reviews and ratings are highly, highly valuable for those considering telemedicine services. Just in when we were searching out and looking for a telemedicine physician to get an appointment, we were definitely looking at the reviews and seeing what the experience was. So encouraging patients to leave a review and share their experience that they had with telehealth, is going to be extremely important to others that are taking that journey, trying to find a provider.

Aaron Clifford:
They’re valuable to the health systems too. Kaiser Permanente, their virtual patient interactions survey said, “93% of the patients that they saw were satisfied with their experience.” So the online nature of telemedicine, gives you an increased access to contact information that’s important for marketers as well. There’s a number of different tactics that you can use to gather information that could be helpful for future campaigns and also to understand the patient experience for those visits.

Aaron Clifford:
We encourage you to add specific telemedicine questions to surveys, and benchmark it against in-office patient experience. We had a webinar and we had a representative from Stewart Medical Group. Joanne, she shared with the audience that the Stewart Medical Group rolled out their telemedicine program in just two weeks during the crisis.

Aaron Clifford:
And a huge part of provider adoption were that they, the patient experience team shared the comments, the positive comments that they received in the surveys, with the physicians about how positive those visits were for the patients. And that drove a lot of adoption, especially to those hesitant physicians. Obviously Medicare, Medicaid and insurance companies paying at the same rate as an in-clinic or in-person visit, also that definitely drives adoption.

Aaron Clifford:
But it’s important for the physicians to know, are patients happy with the care that they’re receiving through these visits? So definitely add those questions to the surveys that are specific to telemedicine. And just for your own study and reporting and communication to senior leadership, to compare and contrast to in person to the virtual visits. Very important.

Aaron Clifford:
All right, next Google Search. So the understandable interest in telehealth initiatives post-COVID. It’s completely understandable from our healthcare marketer survey, it’s nearly matched with the increased focus on listing to management and online appointments.

Aaron Clifford:
So for current initiatives that we asked about, both email marketing and content marketing have decreased sharply in priority for healthcare organizations, while online listing is climbed to the second most important initiative on average, just behind crisis communications. Obviously within the changes of hours with the closures, it’s no reason why.

Aaron Clifford:
And with the reopening, it’s still going to be up there to make sure that, are they open? You want to make sure that Google My Business is there and it’s updated. So it’s no surprise to us that why that ranked so high in the survey.

Aaron Clifford:
According to our own data, so we have a lot of data that we’ve collected from various health systems and clinics, Google My Business pages, the total search for health core care organizations, dipped more than 60% in March before climbing back up to now 43% fewer weekly searches than in February.

Aaron Clifford:
So we’re coming back. We’re seeing profiles getting more traffic, so important to have the profiles updated with the correct information. So you should monitor these changes with your own profiles, monitor the traffic you’re getting and make sure that we don’t see the full impact yet, but an-

Aaron Clifford:
That we don’t see the full impact yet, but an SEM rush report found that the industries most impacted by the updates were travel, real estate, and health. These are updates that Google is making to the Google My Business page. They also announced if you guys didn’t see it, that Google, they’re making changes to their algorithm in 2021 based on page experience. There’s not necessarily a rush right now, but you don’t want to be left behind in 2021 when they make this change. It’s expected to add a little more weight to things like load times, mobile friendliness, and other factors around the user experience on your web pages. Google’s typically, they’re pretty, when they make an update to their algorithm, it’s normally in concert with the…

Aaron Clifford:
I said they have given before and the webmaster definitely did some studies and back home, you have on your own website. They’re telling me I cut off a little bit, so sorry if I cut out. Internet connection is not the best at home, so thanks for your patience there. Anyway, as I was saying that, make sure that you’re investing in your digital platform where your website lives and that the patient experiences on, not the patient, the digital patient experience is on par with what Google is recommending.

Aaron Clifford:
All right, just a couple of more things, then we’ll get to the QA. So please, if you have questions, please submit those. If you haven’t already, you definitely need to be adding the COVID info, the COVID-19 info link to your profiles and virtual care attributes to the Google My Business profiles. It’s there waiting for you to put data in, so please utilize those.

Aaron Clifford:
Most online directories and platforms have made one or two COVID-19 related features available. Facebook has had options for temporary closures and service changes. Twitter is prioritizing verification for accounts that have email addresses associated with an authoritative health organization. Yelp has alert banners on business pages. CareDash and Healthgrades, we mentioned those already. LinkedIn, from an employer brand standpoint, they have urgent hiring features for health related communities, so if you support your HR team, be aware of the offerings that LinkedIn have and the updates to the profiles for job listings that they have.

Aaron Clifford:
You can find a lot of these resources on binaryfountain.com, COVID-19 resource page, so please reference those. We try to keep that updated as we learn. Google is also adding in, this is a really important thing to pay attention to because this will impact your business for sure, and even the operations of your clinics. Google is adding the insurance providers to business profiles. Your GMB, make sure that you’re auditing it and staying up to date with what they’re putting on there, and make sure that it’s in concert with what is true and what’s happening within your clinic and your healthcare organization.

Aaron Clifford:
Also you’ll want to map those if you have insurance providers on your physician profiles on your hospital website or your clinic’s website, and make sure that they match up. If there is a discrepancy on the Google My Business profile, you can submit a change in question and Google will address those.

Aaron Clifford:
Next, I want to talk briefly about employer brands. We’re seeing a big increase in the employer brand just with the layoffs and furloughs and maybe the rehiring now. Seeing a lot of activity there. Obviously, this has been a challenging time for healthcare systems, and some have had pandemic pay programs. Some have had to lay off. Just please be monitoring your Glassdoor and Indeed profiles, other places where your employees may be leaving comments.

Aaron Clifford:
Our survey, we found that more than one third of respondents had team members laid off or at risk of layoffs. It’s significant, right? How the healthcare organizations manage the internal communications during this time will definitely have a lasting impact on the company’s culture. We’re encouraging you, communicate with empathy, keeping your employees up to date. We definitely, if you are posting jobs again, we recommend updating the job listings with a message about COVID-19 and directing people to the careers page and letting them know that hiring is ongoing or on pause, either way.

Aaron Clifford:
For both job seekers and current employees, your online brand needs to be perceived as empathetic and competent. Job seekers will remember which companies rose to the occasion and led through the crisis. LinkedIn did a study where coronavirus related posts are getting more engagement than any other posts, especially those focusing in on how companies are helping, perhaps because people are looking for resources and ways to cope. Engagement with the coronavirus posts from companies is significantly higher than engagement for the average company post.

Aaron Clifford:
More on employer brand communications. The view of corporate transparency has an even sharper lens right now. Organizations are having to make difficult decisions with seemingly no good options, but trust definitely will be to those employers showing compassion or empathy. Just in terms of there might be opportunities operationally, especially with the ebb in telemedicine, to keep physicians and staff relatively satisfied with sharing positive feedback. Mass General, they did a study where a majority of their clinicians reported higher efficiency for the virtual appointments, but they felt better when hearing good news about their brand and what they were doing.

Aaron Clifford:
So share positive feedback that you’re getting on all the channels, whether that’s from Glassdoor and Indeed, current employees or those that may have interviewed in the reopening and as there’s jobs. It goes a long way, a really long way.

Aaron Clifford:
All right, with that, we’ll move to the Q and A session. I’ve got a question that came in here. “Can you repeat the example about what you said about a great FAQ?” Yeah, that was the University of North Carolina Medical Center. They have a great page on there where they answer a lot of questions. Definitely check that out.

Aaron Clifford:
All right, I got another question that came in. “How can you make sure that you understand that while certain offices may be closed, the PCPs who are attached to that offices are still seeing patients virtually?” I think again, Stewart, you may have some thoughts on this. It is really important that you follow up with your patients first that had appointments and calling them back, but then also on your website and on your social media channels, updating that you are open. Make sure that your listings are up to date are really important, but Stewart, any thoughts on that one?

Stewart Gandolf:
Yeah, I would say just one thing that I was going to bring up earlier is, again, things that are obvious to you are not obvious to them. In this pandemic where everything is so out of touch, I would just say over communicate. We always talk about the creative side. You get tired of your creative years before your your patients do, right? It’s the same thing here. You may have said, “Well, we said that they should all know that.” Well, they don’t. It’s like they’re not, they had a passing grade in their life. You’re under stress. They’re trying to get stuff done. I would just say, yes, everything Aaron just said, but don’t worry about overcommunicating because that’s really critical.

Stewart Gandolf:
Even, and one other just quick comment, Aaron, the last thing you said before I went to the ethic or the QA was to celebrate those internal wins. Even in a company like ours who have 30 people, we’re all virtual, right? Just talk time and what you’re doing with these great big health systems or practices or whatever people, don’t know, especially today. I just say overcommunicate, overcommunicate now because you have to.

Aaron Clifford:
Yeah, that’s a great point. Another one Stewart that you might be to answer. Well, I know you can answer it, but it’s better for you to answer. “We suspended our advertising when COVID-19 happened. As we ease back into it, where do you suggest we should invest first? Where do you go first from a paid advertising standpoint?”

Stewart Gandolf:
For sure. I’m not sure which they mean in terms of targeting or in terms of media, so let’s take one at a time. On the media side, the favorite places we see if you’re looking for direct response results is going to be typically broadcast or TV or digital marketing, which could include paid search, paid social, and programmatic. Those are like the levers that we can control quickly, that tend to generate results. So if you’re looking at it from a media standpoint, those are my first places. Maybe the next level down would be radio, print, outdoor. Those things are way down the list, right? If they’re looking at it from a which cases should we go after? Again, going back to what I talked about earlier, clinically this is the first issue. What’s the driver? And then you really have to prioritize. Exactly what I said earlier was that was predicting that a lot people had to stop.

Stewart Gandolf:
Despite my pleas to the contrary, this had to stop internally and I get it. Now it’s like we have to go back and really create a plan of, okay, what kind of patients will be ready for them? Which ones drive revenue to the hospital? Which are broad? What’s our mission? Is our mission healthcare for the community? Is that where we want to focus? Or is our mission generate some elective care cases? I think that’s a, it’s going to vary by hospital and practice to whatever provider you have. But certainly the levers that we can draw quickly are going to be the paid digital stuff because you can do it so quickly and get results so quickly.

Aaron Clifford:
Great. Good, good answer. Had a question. “When do you think Google will start actively posting reviews?” It’s a great question. We’ve seen across our… We represent over 30,000 healthcare locations, just our customers. We see a trickle, right? Not like we did before February, March, but we’re starting to see a little bit more in some geographic areas. There’s no rhyme or reason necessarily to even some of the, whether it’s urgent care hospital or clinics. I would imagine in the next month or two, we’re going to see more Google reviews being posted for healthcare. So keep an eye. We’re keeping an eye and we’re communicating when we see changes for sure, but we’re starting to see more reviews come into our system. Great question.

Aaron Clifford:
Another question. “Do you think patients will be able to leave an equally positive review for a telemedicine visit as they do for an in-person visit?” From our data that we have, and I’ll just answer this, and Stewart, we’d love to have your thoughts. Our data is that we are seeing consistently higher reviews, positive reviews, than in clinic. In person, I should say, appointments. So that’s so far in our data, but we still are collecting and want to share more as we do the study. But I definitely think, with the satisfaction we’re seeing not only our own internal data, but also other studies, I think we’ll see positive reviews, a lot of positive reviews from that telehealth visits. Stewart, any thoughts on that?

Stewart Gandolf:
Yeah. First of all, Aaron, I love that. I’d love to see you guys do that data because I haven’t seen that data anywhere.

Aaron Clifford:
We’re still, it’s in the works.

Stewart Gandolf:
Let me know when you guys get it because I’d love to have that. I would say the healthcare system in places like healthcare or government insurance, they’re not known to be first movers. They tend to be very, very conservative. In healthcare in particular, I think the data will be very, very important. Here’s why. Because not that you have ever experienced this, but there are some hospitals and practices where a vocal doctor or two or a vocal administrator or two may decide they don’t like this and they have one or two bad anecdotes. And again, they throw the babies out with the bath water. Somebody, this patient gave us a terrible review on Yelp about the incompetent telemedicine yet there’s all this other data.

Stewart Gandolf:
I think the data is really important because you and I both talked about our telemedicine experiences, and I’ll never go back. I’ve used it now a number of different times for different reasons. So yeah, there’s going to be some, we’re just getting started, right? We just, we still have training wheels on. It’s not going to be, just think about that. You’re already getting better reviews than in person, and this is with training wheels on. You’re still not up and running. I’ve seen some data here about telemedicine where it could be used about 20% of the time in this case and about 30% of time in this case. I’ve got to believe that that’s all true, but I think that it’s going to be used a lot more than that as people get more used to it and more creative with it. It’s going to be just a huge impact. It solves so many problems, obviously in a pandemic, right? You don’t have a bunch of hospital beds set up with moderately ill people. The future is, again, it’s been said to death, but it really is bright. People like it.

Aaron Clifford:
Yeah, absolutely agreed. Well, thank you all for joining. We really appreciate you joining us. If you have questions and want to talk, Stewart and I both are open. Stewart, I’m speaking for you please reach him at Stewart@healthcaresuccess.com.

Stewart Gandolf:
No, absolutely. If you have any questions about the webinar content or anything or doing business or whatever, let me know. My email’s up there. I’m easy to reach to schedule a time to talk. Aaron, fantastic work with you guys again. Thank you for the invitation.

Aaron Clifford:
Yeah. Well thank you. Just real quick, before we end, somebody else had affirmed and said that their group is seeing higher scores for telemedicine as well, so thank you. Thank you all for joining. Really appreciate you taking your time, and you’ll get this presentation, a link to this. Let us know if there’s anything we can do for you. Thank you.

Stewart Gandolf:
Fantastic, guys. Thank you.

The digital marketing landscape is changing every day for healthcare professionals in the wake of COVID-19. Is your brand prepared to update strategies and manage communications as states begin to reopen, and consumers return to your facilities?

In this webinar, Stewart Gandolf, CEO of integrated marketing firm Healthcare Success, will join Binary Fountain’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, Aaron Clifford, to discuss ways for healthcare leaders to position their organization for success as we begin to emerge from the crisis.

We will offer data trends and actionable advice on changing online consumer behavior, content marketing best practices, strategies for promoting telemedicine, ways to improve employer brand, and more.

Join us and discover: 

  • Which marketing strategies should you rely on now to generate new patients?
  • How to regain the trust of consumers who are hesitant to visit care facilities or schedule elective medical appointments.
  • New trends and strategies behind the rise of telemedicine, and how to effectively promote virtual services.
  • Ways to publish informative content, manage surveys and online reviews, and protect your employer brand in this new marketing environment.


Stewart Gandolf
CEO
Healthcare Success

Aaron Clifford
Aaron Clifford
SVP of Marketing
Binary Foundation

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“Despite practicing in a hyper-competitive market, our new-patient counts are double what they were for the same time period last year. Hiring Healthcare Success was one of the best business decisions I have ever made.”

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