The Healthcare Climate: What Now?
As human beings, we find ourselves in a time like no other. The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously fractured the normal course of life, unleashing forces that have reordered economic, social, and political dynamics while disrupting the value propositions of nearly every industry. Healthcare is at the epicenter of our fractured world, with consumers viewing brands through a new lens as providers and systems seek financial recovery.
The Healthcare Climate
Five seismic shifts have taken place during the pandemic, each with long-term implications to the industry at large.
- New perceptions of health care are affecting purchase decisions and utilization patterns. BVK’s proprietary quantitative study in July 2020 revealed that trust in physicians, nurses, and hospitals is at an all-time high, with well over half of healthcare consumers trusting individual caregivers as well as hospitals and health systems. While their confidence in receiving safe care in the future is strong, at 45%, it is much lower for current Primary Care and specialty appointments, particularly among those with chronic conditions. This reinforces the need for healthcare organizations to leverage their earned trust with clear messaging around safety.
- Business disruption and margin destruction due to cancellation of high-value procedures. While health systems expect a modest decrease in total revenue (roughly 13%) in 2020, this could have a massive impact on margin, given the case mix index flowing from highly profitable elective procedures (down 75%) to costly COVID-19 cases. Margin is expected to be down 30-40% in 2020. The healthcare marketplace is ripe for mergers and acquisitions, with some rural and smaller systems at risk of closure.
- Consolidation of physician practices due to financial distress and providers “walking away.” Primary Care and specialty practices are experiencing up to a 60% drop in patient volume due to safety precautions and procedures, resulting in physicians walking away from practices or being forced to leave due to systems skimming off the top for the best performing practices. Disappointed patients are actively searching for new physicians who can meet their need for convenience as well as safe delivery of care. Driving volumes has become an essential survival strategy for even the most successful practices.
- Accelerated “virtual” innovation to create touchless service experiences for safety and convenience. While convenient care was gaining momentum among urban and younger demographics prior to the pandemic, the virtual world has quickly become attractive to older (55+) and rural / suburban cohorts. The growing affinity for virtual care is here to stay, with 59% of adults now receptive to the idea of virtual care for routine health matters.
- Employee engagement and burnout as we emerge from the peak of the coronavirus pandemic. Frontline healthcare workers are burning out at alarming rates, with many leaving the industry altogether. The prolonged pandemic has spurred resentment for long hours, lack of protective equipment, and overall mismanagement of the crisis. To make matters worse, many health systems have responded to financial distress with layoffs and pay cuts. With employees concerned about their personal safety as well as their job security, the costs and complexity of the problems caused by the pandemic continue to rise.
The combined impact of these five healthcare shifts create a single clear direction artfully articulated by Kantar in their July 2020 Blueprint for Recovery: WINNING COMPANIES WILL PUT FIRST PRIORITY ON REACTIVATING DEMAND AS THE PATHWAY TO SUCCESS.
Creating patient volume is a vital lifeline for health systems across the country. While there are many means of creating demand, there are two essential levers of engagement:
- A powerful call to action (CTA)
- A compelling campaign that is delivered to the right target at the right time in the right place
Campaigns that Deliver
BVK believes that driving volume quickly at a reasonable cost should be the baseline for any healthcare marketing organization. The campaigns themselves must build volume in vital clinical lines that contribute to a valuable payer mix and overall case mix index. Unfortunately, the roller coaster of COVID-19 has turned crafting a recovery strategy into a guessing game for marketers with shrinking resources. We see the need for a volume-building strategy that employs tactics that are cost-effective, flexible, and which can be turned on and off to accommodate the twists and turns of the pandemic. BVK’s OnDemand healthcare campaigns provide a thoroughly customizable, ready-to-go solution that can be in market in just weeks, establishing a needed presence for your brand and generating demand for your service lines.
Sourced in consumer perceptions and behavior with propensity modeling that provides razor-sharp targeting of just the right patient at the right time in the right place, BVK OnDemand campaigns were developed and vetted with experienced healthcare experts.
Each campaign includes strategic insight, media strategy, and creative. Plus, reporting and optimization across a full range of consumer touchpoints including digital banners, social media posts, e-mail, landing pages, digital OOH, video, and radio. Our suite of OnDemand campaigns focuses on conditions and procedures with a high degree of consumer decision impact. Each can be used individually or integrated with multiple campaigns for a more comprehensive initiative.
- Bariatric Surgery
- Frontline Worker Support
- Medical Imaging
- Primary Care
- Provider Safety
- Screening Mammogram
- Urgent Care
Each 12-week sprint includes a real-time dashboard to monitor campaign results and monthly optimizations of both media and creative. Speaking of which, here is a sampling of several of the campaigns.
The Time is Now
It has never been more critical to answer the call of demand generation in healthcare. Our very healthcare system depends upon recovering through refilling the provider pipeline with profitable patient care, now. Whether you choose to develop your own campaign or explore a BVK OnDemand campaign, the time is now.