Lessons Learned: The Changing Face of Healthcare


Healthline Media recently spoke with Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association, and Paul Matsen, chief marketing and communications officer at the Cleveland Clinic, about what they’ve needed to navigate both for their business and the industry in order to lead resiliently in the face of change. 

Here are three key themes as they relate to how brands and marketers should think about carrying themselves and their work into the future.

Shifts in access to and delivery of care

Telemedicine has gained immense clout over the last year, and its value has proven to be universal across all medicine. It has provided patients with access to care in ways they may not have ever known to take advantage of before, and it has also broken down the barriers of the patient-doctor relationship in many capacities. But we’re remiss to overlook that there is still a lot of work to be done in the world of telemedicine.

As healthcare marketers, we can address change and challenges head-on to help enact ongoing developments in the healthcare system.

“If you can't access telemedicine in the first place, if you don't have broadband or if you're not computer literate, obviously that can be a real barrier to telemedicine. Many of us now think that broadband access should be added to the list of things that are important in the social determinants of health.” - Dr. Susan Bailey

Communication and engagement

With physical distancing and stay-at-home orders in place, communication practices have become more important than ever. Consumers are looking for a trusted ally to help connect the dots in a world where wellness, and news, is ever-changing.

  • Transparency and frequency. Create an open, honest, and consistent cadence of communication with patients and their caregivers due to such a fluid environment. Use this as an opportunity to create trust and confidence.

“The thing we recognized early on in the pandemic was, we need to make sure that we were fully transparent in all of our communications. Our CEO said right from the start to our own caregivers, ‘I will tell you everything I know about this pandemic and you'll know it as I know.’ ” - Paul Matsen

  • Emotional support. Provide emotional support for caregivers not only during times of crisis, but make it evergreen in your plans to make an impact.

  • Meet the consumer where they are. Humans are looking for trusted content and a seamless journey while feeling supported on their path to well-being, no matter the action they need to take next.

Marketing strategies and messaging

Health and condition management is all around us. It is critical for brands and institutions to lean into the full circle journey and help consumers find connections across care and communication.

  • Digital environment. Leverage the platforms and tools around you. Consumers need new information faster than ever before. Make your communications and messages accessible and intuitive.

“Loneliness and isolation has been such a tremendous problem during the pandemic and anything that we can do to reach out to our patients, one on one, and let them know that we haven't forgotten about them, that we're here for them, and that they're not alone in this situation, even though they may feel very alone.” - Dr. Susan Bailey

  • Challenge yourself as a marketer. Look outside of the healthcare industry for inspiration and opportunity. Brands across sectors are going through stark changes and adjustments; therefore, complacency is not an option.

  • Health equity. Inequities across healthcare have come to the forefront, and reflecting accessibility and advocacy in your strategy as a healthcare marketer is table stakes as we look ahead.

What does the future hold for marketers?

While there may be a light at the end of the tunnel, there will always be challenges to push through and move beyond both as a healthcare professional or brand marketer. Continue to push the limits, create trustworthy and transparent relationships with your audiences, and meet them where they are. Now is the time to be resilient and move beyond with confidence and hope.

About Healthline Media

As the #1 health media property in the US, Healthline Media reaches more than 94MM unique visitors each month (Comscore, August 2021). We provide credible health information with a compassionate approach.