CEOs and leaders of healthcare providers worldwide have experienced unprecedented levels of demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The response to the virus put tremendous pressure on healthcare systems in every country and the way the sector adapted and ramped up demonstrates the potential for fundamental shifts across the entire healthcare industry.  With more political support and government involvement, the healthcare industry is likely to play an important role in the successful recovery from COVID-19 and see significant change and growth in the foreseeable future.  

According to the OECD  (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), the four key measures health systems are putting in place in response to the epidemic are: 1) ensuring access of the vulnerable to diagnostics and treatment; 2) strengthening and optimising health system capacity to respond to the rapid increase in caseloads; 3) leverage digital solutions and data to improve surveillance and care; and 4) improve R&D for accelerated development of diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines. 

“Healthcare communications is likely to remain a priority for the coming months during this ongoing pandemic and the development of new settings for care delivery in the post-COVID-19 world,” says Ali Sheneamer, Chief Business Development Officer at Bupa Arabia. “COVID-19 has placed healthcare firmly on the public agenda, which represents a valuable opportunity for the sector to engage with the media, government, the public, and industry stakeholders in their communications campaigns.  We have worked with our communications partners W7Worldwide to produce a 7-Step communications guide for healthcare companies to help steer them through the next phase of the crisis.”

“Healthcare companies need to adjust to the new reality imposed by COVID-19, where old lines of communication are redrawn and operational processes recast. When designing healthcare communication strategies, it is important to consider the overall goals of the campaign,” advises Abdulrahman Inayat, Co-Founder of W7Worldwide.  “Communications strategies in the aftermath of COVID-19 need to report on the current state of your organization and articulate a clear path forward.  Healthcare organizations that proactively contributed to the management and containment of the COVID-19 pandemic can bolster their brand reputation with public goodwill by reporting on their efforts.”

The 7-Step Communications Guide which brings together Bupa Arabia and W7Worldwide’s combined healthcare advisory and communications knowledge sets out the current key actions healthcare companies should take to update their communications strategies and plans.  The guide recommends that organizations form strategic partnerships, both in the public and private sector, that they communicate now, focus on content marketing, attend or create virtual industry events, leverage current goodwill towards the sector, elevate internal communication, and address the future of healthcare. (To see the full report, click here)

W7Worldwide recently conducted a poll, which found that healthcare communications leaders are prioritizing Content Marketing as a key communications tool.  This is the case with both English (28.4%) and Arabic (21.4%) participants. English participants (21%) are more focused on Industry Events compared to their Arabic colleagues (11.3%) and equally English survey participants (19.8%) are more likely than Arabic healthcare communicators (12.5%) to form Strategic Partnerships. 

Adapting to public sentiment is considered equally important by both Arabic and English survey participants (18.4% English/ 18.1% Arabic).  Notably English participants (22.1%) are placing greater importance on localization by comparison to their Arabic colleagues (8.3%). 

As Saudi Arabia’s largest healthcare insurance provider with almost 40% market share, Bupa Arabia has a vital role to play in the management and containment of COVID-19 with its life-touching healthcare solutions.  The company has been working with W7Worldwide as its communications partner for the past few years and throughout COVID-19, providing valuable industry leadership and insight.