Empowering patients through onsite healthcare
In today’s fast-paced, on-demand culture – convenience has become key to just about everything. However, the time saved through resources like ride-sharing apps and meal delivery services often causes consumers to overlook the quality of the product they are receiving. Sure, you were able to forego a trip to the grocery store after work by ordering takeout, but tomorrow, the refrigerator will still be empty, and you’ll be back to square one.
Unfortunately, this “quick-fix” mentality extends to how healthcare is delivered. In the US, 13-16 minutes is the most common period of time that physicians spend actually interacting with a patient. While this might allow for a brief discussion surrounding the presenting ailment, it isn’t enough to delve into the how and why of the patient’s health symptoms or conditions. Shorter doctor visits may drive volume and revenue for health systems, but the majority of those brief visits fail to address the root cause of the patient’s health problems; which could cost patients both monetarily, and in the quality of their life down the line.
The only way to make patient-centered healthcare a reality is by providing clinicians with the resources to make building relationships with patients the top priority. And, employer-provided healthcare is doing just that with onsite and near site health clinics that allow for ongoing patient and clinician engagement.
Instruction vs. Guidance
In many scenarios, the most that a patient can glean from a rushed, frantic doctor visit is a short list of technical instructions surrounding medication, or a high-level overview of general lifestyle changes. These types of discussions tend to minimise the role of the patient in their own healthcare journey.
In order to empower patients to optimise their well-being, clinicians should view themselves more as a coach, and less as a “healthcare provider.” Instead of directing and instructing, a coach approaches the patient from a holistic perspective, seeking a deep understanding of the whole person for better outcomes in both the near and far term.
A large part of this patient empowerment stems from continuous health coaching conversations. By lengthening appointment times, onsite and near site health clinics provide the environment necessary to address the root cause of poor health.
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With more time in the schedule, health coaches can follow up with patients via multiple channels, helping them stay on track with established health goals and remind them to take proactive and preventative measures such as routine testing and vaccinations.
Wellness must be a fluid, ongoing aspect of every person’s life, which is why a health coach’s guidance should extend beyond the four walls of a doctor’s office, and create a collaborative, long-term path toward change.
Reading Between the Lines
A patient’s health is often dictated by social determinants of health, including their education, income, access to transportation, employment, and family situations. According to a recent study, although a majority of physicians in the US agree that being able to assist in managing their patients’ social determinants of health would benefit their patients’ overall well-being, they feel it’s not their responsibility to provide this assistance. This mindset may largely be attributed to the ever-present fee-for-service models that encourage stacked calendars and reactive care – which does not support the mentality that a health coach needs to succeed.
Thankfully, the “safe space” fostered by onsite and near site employer clinics allows health coaches to prioritise building strong relationships with the employees they serve, enabling them to uncover the social determinants of health at hand. We need to understand why patients make the choices they make before jumping into their clinical needs.
In the workplace, you can’t slap a band aide on an ongoing business problem and consider it fixed – and the same goes for healthcare. That’s why providers must take the time to truly assess the patient’s understanding of their own wellbeing, and coach them through conquering their unique healthcare journey.
The healthcare system in the US today is undergoing an enormous change, and it’s also facing intense challenges and systemic bottlenecks. However, we see onsite healthcare as a real and viable solution that allows clinicians to put patients first, and understand their “whys.” If clinicians in traditional healthcare settings were able to adopt more coaching techniques like those in onsite clinics, we just might be able to help more patients make long-lasting changes to their health and wellbeing.
Credit: Marathon Health
How can the healthcare industry build trust with consumers?
One of the many ways the pandemic has impacted society is that it has firmly cast the healthcare industry in the public spotlight. From producing ventilators and PPE to developing life-saving vaccines, consumers have looked to pharmaceutical and healthcare companies to keep us safe and find a way out of the Covid-19 crisis.
As a result, healthcare companies have an opportunity to build upon this and utilise their marketing to drive greater engagement and trust with consumers. When it comes to effective marketing, it’s vital to remember the important role which visuals play. Consumers increasingly engage with brands through the visual communications and storytelling they absorb while online or browsing through media channels. These visual communications can have a huge impact not only on consumer purchasing decisions but also the relationship between brands and customers.
At Getty Images, we work with healthcare companies throughout Europe to advise them on their visual content. This study forms part of the research for our insight platform Visual GPS, which looks at the key factors affecting consumer decision making and how that impacts their visual choices.
In partnership with YouGov, we surveyed 10,000 consumers globally and have been tracking this consumer sentiment for the past two years. This latest deep-dive into the healthcare industry is part of our wider on-going research, and aims to better understand how consumers in different regions are interacting with the healthcare sector and what motivates their visual preferences.
Our research revealed that many companies are not using visuals as effectively as they could. In the UK, for instance, the vast majority of consumers do not feel represented by the visual communications which businesses are producing – only 7% of British respondents to our global Visual GPS survey say they felt represented. That is even lower than the global average of 14%.
This latest deep dive into the healthcare industry has uncovered some important insights that can help us better understand how consumers in different regions are interacting with the healthcare sector.
Mental health should be centre stage
A key finding shows that mental health remains a highly relevant issue for consumers. Over nine in ten British consumers think it is important to talk about mental health and put it on an equal footing with physical and emotional health. Not surprisingly, 55% of British consumers believe that more people are being diagnosed with depression due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
There is a growing awareness of the importance of mental health across Europe. Health and pharmaceutical companies should acknowledge this in their visual communications but do so in an empathetic and compassionate way. Only five years ago, visuals around mental health often depicted people alone, isolated and expressing feelings of shame, whereas now we are seeing a more empathetic and supportive approach to visualising mental health - with an increasing number of positive visuals showing support groups, or individuals proactively seeking and finding support.
Visual communications that show support for mental well-being in a meaningful way will resonate deeply with consumers.
A more holistic approach
Another key finding is that consumers want to focus more on holistic health. Our survey found that the majority of UK consumers place an almost equal importance on emotional, physical and mental health, and almost three quarters (73%) placed the health and well-being of family as a top priority.
It’s important that healthcare companies reflect this. Our research paired with ongoing image testing revealed that consumers want to see visuals that humanise healthcare, so companies should consider visualising inclusive care across intersecting factors such as age, ethnicity and gender. Brands can help establish trust with their customers by highlighting a collaborative relationship between medical professional and patient, as well as ensuring that their visual choices feel genuine.
Technology and innovation in healthcare are gaining traction
Thirdly, eHealth and purposeful innovation was another key finding. Consumers want innovation that will meaningfully support their care. Particularly in Europe, the older generation will pay more for brands that use technology to provide advice and recommendations, while Gen Z & Millennials are willing to pay for self-service capabilities. It’s important therefore for healthcare companies to incorporate purposeful innovation in their visual communication and demonstrate consumers at the centre of accessible eHealth.
Given these insights, what visual content do consumers expect to see from pharmaceutical brands? Our research highlighted three key themes.
- Consumers want to see how healthcare companies fit into people’s lives. Accessible health services are a key factor here. Decision makers should build trust by showing consumers at the centre of a holistic healthcare ecosystem.
- Consumers want to see the emotional rewards others get from using a healthcare company. This can be achieved by building brand loyalty through empathetic and inclusive visual storytelling.
- Finally, consumers want to see people who are similar to them and their lives. British consumers want to see people that look like them and reflect their lived experiences in advertising and brand communication. Decision-makers should ensure that their visual communication is inclusive and authentic and represents the diverse population of the market in which they’re operating.
Ultimately, the key to successful visual storytelling for pharma and healthcare businesses is to ensure that they understand what matters to their audience while establishing trust of care. An important element of this is authentically representing the full spectrum of the population. That means representing all ethnicities, ages, abilities, body shapes, sexuality, religion and genders, to ensure patients of all backgrounds feel included and represented.
Healthcare brands should bear in mind that, as a result of the pandemic’s impact on healthcare systems around the world, consumers may be feeling anxious about whether they will be able to access care if they need it. The healthcare industry has an opportunity to reassure customers and build greater engagement and trust by showing them that they matter through inclusive visuals that represents them authentically at the heart of brand storytelling.