Smith and Shifrin both work at Jarrad Phillips Cate & Hancock which recently conducted a survey of a thousand people asking them for their opinions and perception of healthcare. Specifically, how that perception has changed due to COVID-19.
I thought this topic – the perception of healthcare – was interesting. Below is a blog post written by Smith and Shifrin to set up the next #hcldr weekly chat which they will be hosting on Tuesday April 28th at 8:30pm EDT (for your local time click here).
Americans’ perception of healthcare as a whole has shifted over the past 60 days.* Trust in clinical staff, which historically runs very high, is even higher. Americans almost universally have a favorable view of nurses and doctors. Even trust in hospitals is remarkably high. It’s an appropriate reflection of the incredible work caregivers across the country have done to prepare for the pandemic, respond to it, and in so many cases (all too often overlooked in the crush of attention given to COVID-19-related care), continue to deliver care for “other” acute medical concerns.
At the same time, people have expressed hesitancy to reengage with healthcare providers due to lingering concerns about safety. In short, the medical community’s passionate emphasis on the danger of the novel coronavirus and need to remain isolated has worked. Both providers and patients have cancelled elective procedures and primary care visits. People are staying home. The use of telehealth is up dramatically…and people love it. But, as we crush the curve and begin looking towards reopening the economy – and “normal” healthcare – we have to help people feel comfortable with the exact opposite of what we’ve been saying for the past two months and encourage them to return for care.
Certainly, this effort will have implications for the business of healthcare. It’s no secret that hospital revenue has been devastated. Especially in smaller or rural communities, facilities that shut down elective procedures in preparation of a surge that never came have been lying empty, putting their long-term viability in jeopardy.
But there is another cost to the delays in care and the reticence to return. Individual consumers are avoiding care – sometimes for routine management of chronic conditions, other times for emergent issues like heart attack and stroke. For many people, it will be a matter of months, not weeks, before they feel comfortable returning to hospitals and scheduling elective procedures. That’s both understandable and concerning (for all parties involved). The health implications caused by COVID-19 go far beyond the people infected by the virus. Even many procedures that are categorized as elective (think joint replacements, for example) have real and significant benefits for an individual’s health, wellbeing, productivity and quality of life.
And yet, as we sit here laying out a string of worrisome issues that have the potential to create long-term problems for both individuals and providers, we see enormous opportunity to effect profound, positive change. The devastation to our society and the stresses on our healthcare system during the pandemic have been so hard to watch. Like so many crises before, we must grieve the loss while also digging out and looking towards the future. Healthcare has responded to COVID-19. Now it is time to refocus, reignite, and recast for a new landscape reshaped by this pandemic. It starts with bringing people back or offering them alternatives like telehealth, and ensuring their comfort and safety all the while.
Join us for the next #hcldr tweetchat on Tuesday April 28th at 8:30pm EDT (for your local time click here) when we will be discussing:
- T1 What will it take for you to feel comfortable going back to in-person medical care?
- T2 Nurses and doctors are more trusted now than ever. What is their role in “reopening” healthcare?
- T3 How do we address the health ramifications of the economic crisis created by COVID-19 (e.g., health disparities, loss of job/insurance, etc.)
- T4 Will the way we’ve engaged with medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic (telehealth, at-home care) continue or will we revert back to the way things were?
*Information is based on a survey we just wrapped up in partnership with Public Opinion Strategies. We polled 1,000 adults and will be releasing the full results tomorrow. Check back at jarrardinc.com for updates.
About the Authors
David Shifrin. A Left-handed PhD working in a world of right-handed MDs, David is the editorial manager at Jarrard Phillips Cate and Hancock. With over a decade of experience in research, writing and content development, he specializes in curating ideas and making technical concepts accessible to broad audiences. In short, Shifrin helps thought leaders move past jargon to present core messages in a meaningful way.
Reed Smith is a digital transformation expert who helps clients ask themselves, “how do people want to connect with us?” and then build a plan using digital tools to make those connections. His work lies at the intersection of change management, patient experience, and consumer behavior in healthcare. VP at @jarrardinc, Advisor @MayoClinic Social Media Network and @SXSW Health & MedTech. @SocialHealthIns and @tpmnetwork founder.