Around the globe, people flocked to social media to stay connected with family and friends, and to seek out COVID-19 health information. In Germany alone, since the start of the pandemic, 75% of residents use social platforms more extensively, according to a survey published by German digital association Bitkom3 conducted in April 2020.
This insight helped the healthcare community reach patients and caregivers via channels like Facebook and Instagram. For example, an effort to help seniors with Parkinson’s and their caregivers reconnect with their physicians proved successful through tailored posts on Facebook, says Jutta Ulbrich, director of patient engagement for AbbVie in Germany. The key is understanding where patients are spending their time and going there to meet their needs, she says.
An increased emphasis on virtual connections led to a powerful and ongoing program in Colombia and Central America for people with chronic diseases. Conversaciones Con Sentido, or Meaningful Conversations, focuses on helping people play a more active role
in the management of their health.
Interactive virtual workshops were introduced before COVID-19 hit, and then during the pandemic topics like emotional health and how to navigate telehealth were added to reflect patient needs.
Bottom line: Meet patients where they are to empower meaningful conversations.
The pandemic brought new challenges for people across the globe, presenting uncharted territory for those facing immunological diseases, chronic conditions or progressive diseases. Patient advocacy groups, government and health care groups have worked hard to connect people with doctors and medications, foster community and provide resources during this critical time. What may have been envisioned as temporary programs or pivots are now here to stay, from
telehealth to door-to-door medication delivery. One thing is certain: Ensuring continuity of care remains a key priority for the global medical community.