Overcoming Fears From COVID
Across the US, fear of exposure to COVID-19 kept many people from seeking necessary medical care at their local EDs or urgent care centers. Delaying care led to serious complications and worse outcomes for many patients. CHI Southeast Division, a four-health system division of CommonSpirit Health, knew these delays in seeking care were causing unacceptable harm to their communities. It was also greatly reducing revenue as ED volumes were down by nearly 50% in some locations. CHI had to convince a wary public it was safe to access their vital services.
Fear can be a powerful force; simply claiming to be safe would not allay these fears. We had to pay off the trust each health system had in their own community with specific and credible information about all that CHI was doing to keep patients safe. However, with four health systems participating in the campaign, we had four different sets of safety protocols. Compromising credibility was not an option. Instead, we created a system for communicating each health system’s specific safety protocols within a single campaign.
It was also important to educate consumers about when to seek care in the appropriate facility. Serious conditions requiring an ED had to be spelled out versus conditions that can be safely treated in urgent care.
Finally, tone was critical. In the midst of a pandemic, realism and optimism had to be carefully balanced. The pandemic is scary but we had to allow people to feel it is safe to seek care when needed. We balanced serious imagery with copy and music that was reassuring and comforting.
While the campaign is just beginning to run, our clients are confident they have creative that will leverage the trust in their brand to break through the barrier of fear. They believe they will persuade consumers it is safe to access their healthcare facilities.