Good Shepherd Health Care System (GSHCS) is honoring its commitment to improving community health and responsiveness by enhancing how it connects with patients. GSHCS is now conducting multi-channel outreach programs about flu vaccinations, physician visits and healthy living with Welltok, the consumer activation solutions company.
“More than ever, our patients are looking to us for consistent and clear communication,” said Caitlin Cozad, GSHCS’ marketing and communications director. “This is a responsibility that we take very seriously and recognize that leveraging technology allows us to scale outreach and engage with our community in new ways.”
GSHCS has a successful track record working with Welltok’s Patientology solution, which uses proprietary data and predictive analytics to engage the right patients with the right message for targeted activities. Given changes to patient interactions and behaviors due to COVID-19, GSHCS is adding more channels including direct mail, social ads, text messaging and dedicated landing pages to increase connectivity.
“GSHCS is leading the way to make sure social distancing doesn’t turn into medical distancing. They are proactively engaging patients around care needs as well as introducing new safety protocols like a drive-thru flu clinic,” said Jaci Haack, vice president of client strategy for Welltok. “We are honored to partner with them on the strategy, creative development and distribution of these highly valuable campaigns.”
Current and future patients of GSHCS will be receiving more information about the drive-thru flu clinic, which will be opened October 24, and the annual community meeting set for October 28. Targeted communications will also be delivered to people who will benefit the most from orthopedic and OBGYN services with the addition of accomplished physicians new to the area.
Additionally, Prescription Trails will be promoted more broadly thanks to an educational grant GSHCS was awarded. The Prescription Trails program is designed to help community members improve their health by using exercise as medicine, while accessing Oregon’s beautiful parks and trails.
“We look forward to engaging with our community in new ways and continuing to meet their evolving needs,” added Cozad. “It’s a new world, and we are all adapting to it together!”
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By April Gill, senior vice president, solution management, Welltok.
The future of COVID-19 remains a giant question mark right now. But what is clear in this uncertain time is the significant impact everyday factors, commonly called social determinants of health (SDOH), have on a person’s health. Literature shows that up to 70% of a person’s overall health is driven by SDOH, including factors like race, income, education level and more. Knowing about these factors can improve how providers keep patients healthy year-round, but also how they engage, counsel and treat patients as individuals during a crisis like the one we are currently experiencing.
If providers understand what kinds of SDOH their patients are facing, they can better understand what health risks they have today, as well as to anticipate their future needs and risks. They can use this insight to tailor what information they share with whom, using the most effective communications channels.
Consider an elderly patient who does not own a car and relies on public transportation for everyday needs. Before COVID, a provider may have leveraged this insight to connect them to Lyft to get to a clinical appointment.
Now, a provider with this insight would likely do much more – have a telehealth appointment instead, connect them with local volunteers who will deliver groceries so they can maintain a healthy diet without leaving home, and email them facts about how to minimize risk while using public transportation to pick up a prescription, if absolutely necessary. This is just one example of how providers can improve patient care and support by understanding what they experience every day.
But are patients aware of the impact SDOH have on their own health? To find out, Welltok conducted a survey of over 2,000 consumers earlier this year, to get their views on what factors they think affect health, and which ones they would share with their provider. Surprisingly, consumers underestimated how much SDOH influenced their overall health and wellbeing – responding that they only make up about 50% of a person’s overall health. (It’s really 70%). They did have a good understanding of some factors that drive health status – like type of work or who they live with – but not more than half did not understand how daily factors like length of commute also play a role.
Not surprisingly, three out of four people also told us they experienced a change in life in the last year that impacts health. The top ones were a change in 1) stress level, 2) annual income and 3) the amount of debt they have. With most provider interactions being episodic in nature, the opportunity to get to know patients at a personal level and/or stay apprised these changes is extremely difficult. Building off this, consumers were asked to list who they would share these life changes with.
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