Few outside the hospital system see his point though. Given the scale of the pandemic, the fear of going to a hospital is high as is the outrage over their pricing methods. How must hospitals assuage such fears and restore trust?
The newly launched home quarantine packages are aimed at addressing these issues.
One, it takes the hospital into the houses of people and in some cases, into community spaces that are doubling up as isolation centres within residential complexes. And secondly, the hospitals have used a transparent pricing mechanism to assure customers that there is no subterfuge in the service.
Apollo Hospitals, Max Healthcare, HN Hospital (Reliance Foundation) and Fortis Hospitals
are among the big chains that have launched packages for home care for Covid-19 patients. The packages are similar and come with a break-down of the charges for each service.
Ambi Parameswaran, brand strategist and founder of Brand-Building.com believes that this is an opportunity that could give hospitals a much needed shot in the arm and should have been done earlier. “Social media is full of negative publicity around Covid-19 wards, sanitation conditions of public sector isolation centres and so on. With reputed brands getting into it, patients will opt for their services,” he said.
The Apollo Group has clubbed all its Covid-19 facilities under the umbrella of Apollo Kavach. This helps consolidate all the brand engagement initiatives and focuses customer attention too. “We pooled in our resources to address all the needs and it is convenient for the customer too,” Mahesh Joshi, CEO, Apollo Home Care said.
The service has been extremely popular says Joshi and he adds that Apollo was operating a home healthcare vertical since 2015 and hence could make the transition without a glitch. “Not a new thing for us,” he says. Apollo's home healthcare division typically looks after 400 patients a month and the Covid-19 package, launched about ten days back, already has over 100 patients.
Hospitals have also launched an aggressive social media campaign around the service as well as their role in the community. Jasrita Dhir, head of brand, marketing and corporate social responsibility, Fortis Healthcare said that Fortis launched its ‘Living with Covid’ campaign on May 26. The campaign talked about safe commuting, the impact on sleep, how to operate an ATM, how to do grocery shopping, how to reopen the doctor clinics, advise for pregnant women, for elderly, for diabetics etc. “Conversations around the ‘new normal’ is what we were trying to build. This was done through messaging platforms and social media,” she said.
Many hospitals are focusing on community outreach, arranging for motivational calls for quarantined patients from those who have battled and survived the virus, from leaders and well-known personalities and so on. “This works better than medicines,” Joshi said.