2020 eHealthcare Leadership Awards: Call for Entries Opens May 20
// By Jane Weber Brubaker //
If there was ever a perfect time to recognize great marketing and communications in healthcare, it’s this year — 2020. As we open the call for entries for the eHealthcare Leadership Awards, we recognize that the last 12 months can justifiably be divided into three parts: pre-coronavirus, COVID-19 surge, and pandemic recovery. At all points, healthcare marketing and communications professionals have proven their ingenuity, sensitivity, and adaptability to changes taking place at breathtaking speed.
The year began with ubiquitous allusions to a “new vision” for a new decade in healthcare, playing on the 20-20 theme. But who could have possibly foreseen what was coming? On December 31 a couple of million revelers jammed into Times Square, ready to ring in the new year. Today, as we continue to adjust to social distancing, it seems unbelievable that just a few short months ago large group celebrations like this were possible.
As the coronavirus pandemic began to unfold, leaders from hospitals and health systems were ahead of the pack, clearly seeing the implications of the coming tsunami. They quickly pivoted from a focus on patient acquisition and normal hospital operations to the new normal — activating Hospital Incident Command Systems (HICS) overnight, shutting down elective procedures, and revamping all stakeholder communications to provide accurate and up-to-date information on when, how, and where to seek care.
The pandemic required that all resources be redirected to manage the expected surge in patients. For the rest of us, the mandate was (and still is depending on where you live) “Stay Home,” with the goal of flattening the curve and not overwhelming healthcare facilities.
Healthcare workers have emerged as the new frontline heroes. The stature of their organizations rose to new heights during the worst of the pandemic as communities looked to them for leadership and recognized the sacrifices they made, and continue to make, to care for others. Community members lined up to help — donating equipment, money, and masks, at times overwhelming healthcare facilities with their generosity. From the perspective of delivering on brand promise, hospitals have never been so revered.
Post-Pandemic Recovery Builds on Strengths
Now, as the country begins to reopen, the new challenge for the industry is to persuade consumers that it is safe to come back. The need for effective marketing is more essential than ever.
Every year, we see outstanding work in the eHealthcare Leadership Awards that demonstrates how much progress has been made. Imagine if this pandemic happened 10 years ago, well before digital marketing had become so embedded in healthcare organizations. Would they have been able to —
- Quickly update websites with the latest information from the CDC?
- Use social media to keep up a steady flow of critical updates?
- Post content quickly and easily, and make navigating to it seamless?
- Communicate with internal and external audiences easily and effectively?
- Update business listings on Google to let people know their new hours of operation, and which facilities to go to for testing?
- Produce videos to quickly convey breaking news from their infectious disease subject matter experts, or produce podcast episodes to share the latest research?
Mobile devices, now our constant companions and main sources of information, were barely on the radar screen 10 years ago. Without digital tools to communicate timely information tailored to each audience, the flow of essential communications might have been impossible during the pandemic, and the impact far worse.
This year, all of healthcare, including marketing and communications took a giant leap forward due to the extreme circumstances. Changes in care delivery that may have occurred slowly over time were accelerated overnight — like switching patients from office visits to telehealth.
Showcase Your Great Work
Each year, the work we see keeps getting better, and we are excited to see the next round of entries into the Awards. What did you achieve for your organizations or your clients before the pandemic? During the pandemic? How is marketing helping in the recovery?
This year you can enter in 20 different categories including a special new category for Best COVID-19 Communications. Entries in this category may also be appropriate for categories like Best Home Page, Best Content, Best Social Media, Best Internal Communications, or others.
In shining a spotlight on your work, our goal is to keep raising the bar and helping the industry move forward. As we’ve seen this year during a crisis of epic proportions, your contributions as effective, experienced, and innovative marketers have never been more necessary or more valued. Leadership is our middle name. And that is what you continue to bring to the industry, year after year. We look forward to seeing your best work during a year that has shaken us all to the core, while simultaneously pushing us forward to meet the unprecedented demand.
In July, we’ll take a look back at some of the best work from the 2019 Awards.
For more information about the eHealthcare Leadership Awards, and to enter, visit:
Jane Weber Brubaker is executive editor of Plain-English Health Care, a division of Plain-English Media. She directs editorial content for eHealthcare Strategy & Trends and Strategic Health Care Marketing, and is past chair of the eHealthcare Leadership Awards. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.