If communication was key before now, then communication is now mission critical for healthcare practices to instill patient and caregiver confidence.
A clear and consistent internal and external communication strategy has always been vital for a growing practice wanting to scale. The pandemic has caused collective fear and skepticism about how “things have always been done” when it comes to healthcare delivery. Like a rhythmic cadence, a steady, confident messaging strategy calms fears and generates trust where there is uncertainty and worry.
Your community, as a whole, is now hungry for this messaging like never before. It is your time to deliver and rise above the practices that choose to go silent and “ride out” the crisis. Patients and caregivers will be drawn to a commanding voice that doesn’t necessarily have all the answers but shares an ongoing message of empathy, understanding, and reassurance.
4 Essential Elements of an Effective Healthcare Communications Strategy
While developing your communications strategy, consider the following important elements to include in your messaging:
2020 was an emotional marathon. A good messaging strategy will address that to your team members and the community. Your internal comms should address team member fatigue, mental health, emotional and physical well-being, and genuine appreciation for what they go through daily. External comms need to embrace the 2020 human experience with compassion while delivering a message of encouragement and conviction that your practice is ready to take on what the year brings.
There is no playbook for what healthcare organizations are going through right now. That said, there have been industry fluctuations that your organization has already experienced, so resilience and adaptability are already part of your practice’s repertoire. No one with a shred of sensibility expects your practice to have all of the answers, but a confident message that addresses the past, envisions the future, and articulates how your practice is currently navigating the evolution of healthcare will assert your industry knowledge and your organization’s sustainability.
Weaving empathy and confidence into your messaging won’t necessarily create a sense of genuineness. Be true to your brand and share your core values as they pertain to today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities. Know your practice’s voice and share it with sincerity — every time.
Regularity indicates reliability. Like the rhythmic cadence referenced above, steady, consistent communication will build confidence and trust in your practice. It’s that simple but requires dedication, resources, and planning.
Successful Communications Strategies
Think about communication in its simplest forms. If you have a lunch appointment with someone and they haven’t arrived a few minutes after the scheduled time, you would be skeptical that they remembered the meeting. A quick incoming text that says, “I’m running 5 minutes late. Will be there soon!” is reassuring and gives you confidence that your associate will show up.
Silence breeds skepticism. Communication instills confidence.
You may have heard of the “Kellogg vs. Post” story during the Great Depression. Post chose to rein in its marketing and communications during the economic crisis, and Kellogg doubled down, resulting in Kellogg’s market dominance in the ready-to-eat cereal industry to the present day.
Many healthcare organizations are scrambling to cut expenses and reappropriate annual budgetary assignments to adapt to new demands in patient care and technology updates. Rather than reining in communications, healthcare organizations should focus, more than ever, on openly sharing changes and updates. Doing so will set patient and caregiver expectations while keeping the practice top-of-mind and creating a sense of stability internally and outwardly in the community.
Caregivers want to work for an organization that they feel has longevity. Patients want to receive care from an organization that makes them feel reassured. A clear communications strategy will address both, and much more.
Allegrow Can Help
Allegrow has a team of experienced consultants and marketers who can help you design a successful communications plan. We’ve won several national eHealthcare Leadership Awards and host The Healthcare CEO podcast — designed to discuss the challenges and opportunities for executives in the healthcare space.
Contact us or email your success manager to discuss creating a custom plan that’s best for your company.