On the cusp of offering COVID-19 vaccines to their consumers aged 75 and older, a renowned regional health system in a major U.S. city faced the daunting task of informing and re-engaging hundreds of thousands of eligible patients, while still maintaining the essential day-to-day communications of the system’s thirteen hospitals and medical centers. With multiple patient portals in use across the system, there was no single, easy way to push vaccine information to the entire community.
Prior to vaccine rollout, we worked with system leadership to develop an end-to-end patient engagement strategy. The immediate task, after identifying eligible patients, was determining how to reach them. Lacking a universal patient portal, and with many eligible patients inactive across the system, a key imperative was to forge new communications channels that would re-engage patients, promote vaccine literacy and encourage appointment bookings.
We accomplished this by assembling a Vaccine Communications Playbook defining both core messages and outreach tactics. Recognizing the need for a flexible message platform that could be tailored to the various ages, demographics and geographies targeted by the campaign, we then conducted a persona analysis to evaluate how best to engage each population.
In launching the campaign, we crafted and dispatched a variety of communications, including home mailers, emails and pre-recorded phone calls. Postcards were delivered that either invited patients to schedule appointments or encouraged them to provide additional information to help with prioritization. Materials were translated into six languages to ensure equitable vaccine distribution.
Outreach was further supported by a range of collateral, including FAQ scripts for the system’s call center, educational one-pagers, way-finders and QR code post cards pointing people to pop-up vaccination clinics. Within these locations, we also set up selfie stations to encourage social participation in a hashtag campaign geared towards overcoming vaccination hesitancy through social proof.
With an enlightened understanding of their consumers, system leaders were able to successfully re-engage hundreds of thousands of inactive patients through a tremendously successful COVID-19 vaccine campaign. By both leveraging existing communication channels and forging new outreach methods, the system was able to cut through the noise and confusion surrounding the vaccine, offering reliable messaging and improving the health of a significant percentage of its patient population. Through the vaccine rollout and communications campaign, the venerable organization strengthened its position as a leading provider and community partner, significantly increasing its consumer base.
Craft Adaptable Tools
Conduct Persona Analysis
Create a Viral Moment
Roadblocks to message delivery and acceptance:
Lack of marketing and communications infrastructure
Community skepticism of the proposed action
Re-engaging inactive patients
year relationship between the city and hospital
patients served per year
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