Another COVID update:
The potential risk of a coronavirus pandemic is gripping the country (and the world). Grocery stores are rationing or running out of supplies like face masks and cleaning agents. The media is providing constant updates to the public about the latest number of infections and deaths from the novel strain of the virus and those numbers are climbing.
While the actual severity of the COVID-19 virus is still to be determined, there is no doubt that the fear of this unknown pathogen is impacting prospective patient motivation and willingness to explore elective procedures. You need to be prepared for how this fear may affect your practice and what you can do about it.
Here are a few tips for the coming weeks and months as we better understand how coronavirus will play out:
1. Understand the mindset. People are afraid of the threat of a pandemic. As of the time of this article, the media is painting a worst-case scenario for the public, stirring up anxiety and fear. This is affecting the mindset of your potential patients. Anticipate lower show rates at public gatherings, like seminars, and a greater sense of concern in general.
2. Consider a shift from seminars/workshops to a direct-to-office campaign. We have already witnessed prospective patients cancel attendance at a seminar for fear of the coronavirus. I expect this will continue until we better understand and contain the coronavirus outbreak. If possible, transition to a direct-to-office campaign, either individual appointments or small groups. This can either be in addition to, or instead of, seminars/workshops.