The Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic continues to spread across the United States. The global number of confirmed cases is increasing as reported by the World Health Organization, and it is more important than ever to continue efforts for comprehensive containment and control of activities to slow the spreading of the virus and to limit the number of cases.
Healthcare providers and payers are responding by taking several measures to prepare, support and protect individuals and their communities via communication strategies that are frequent and transparent to reduce panic, in addition to providing the appropriate levels of care.
Digital platforms, tools, and tactics that can offer great assistance at this moment in time are listed below with best practices
- Offer updates directly from the homepage
- Web pages dedicated to the basics of COVID-19, how to protect yourself, FAQs, how your healthcare organization is preparing or coverage for testing and treatment, and links to external support services such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Patient/member portals
- Dedicated information as mentioned in the above section
- Telehealth services
- Mobile apps
- Provide adaptations of information that is on websites
- Offer push notifications for updates to those who have opted-in
- Healthcare providers can offer telehealth services including remote patient monitoring and care.
- Chatbots to assist in answering frequently asked questions and appropriately routing to the correct level of treatment that is needed. If you have a symptom checker tool it will be imperative to make updates to include COVID-19.
- SMS can be used for those who have opted-in sharing information such as health guidance. In addition to reaching patient/member populations that may be at higher risk to ensure they receive timely information and are prepared with what to do or coverage for testing and treatment.
- Email whether a dedicated Coronavirus ‘update’ type of email series or part of the e-newsletter to share updates, in addition to targeting specific segments of patient/member populations who are at higher risk with relevant information.
- Social media can be leveraged to ensure there is an integrated approach. Individuals are keen to remain updated via multiple channels on the very latest developments as close to real-time as possible.
There is a place for digital channels, tools, and tactics to support healthcare organizations in responding quickly and with an integrated approach to offer timely contextualized information and support with fast-spreading epidemics.