Industries working to find a path forward in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic aren’t limited to cruise ships and movie theaters.

The health care industry has also experienced significant volume declines in recent months, and guiding patients back to hospitals and doctor’s offices will be a significant undertaking for many providers and health systems.

As a result, Ballad Health has launched its own campaign called #SafeWithUs to share precautions that its staff and facilities are taking to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of both patients and health care providers.

In addition, Ballad Health has created a public service announcement-style campaign materials for rural, not-for-profit and nonprofit hospitals and health systems to download and customize at no charge, according to a release from the health system.

The materials, developed internally at Ballad Health, are available to download at www.balladhealth.org/infectious-disease/staying-safe-healthy-well and outline safety measures being taken by many health care facilities, such as enhanced physical distancing measures, increased infection control and new processes and systems to safeguard their patients.

The goal of the campaign is to reassure patients most health care services are safe, accessible and important.

“This isn’t about business operations or bottom lines – it’s about the health of our communities and nation,” said Taylor Hamilton, chief consumer officer for Ballad Health. “Since March, scores of people have been delaying their care, or avoiding it completely, largely due to fears about COVID-19. And while it’s important to stay safe and limit exposure to the infection, it’s more important for people to seek care when they need it.

“Our communities turned to Ballad Health to be a reliable source of information and reassurance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic; and now, as life begins to find its new normal, they will look to us for guidance about how to safely resume their normal healthcare services,” Hamilton continued. “Other rural, small and mid-size health systems are also trusted by their audiences to be the authority on which activities and health care services are safe right now, but with steeply declining volumes and major financial losses, developing a campaign can be unfeasible.”

Ballad Health plans to extend its own campaign until August with materials changing every two to three weeks to emphasize key areas of focus, including finding or re-establishing a relationship with a primary care provider, recognizing the signs of heart attacks and strokes and maintaining care for chronic conditions.

“The postponement and avoidance of routine and preventive health care services can lead to major surgeries, lengthy hospital stays and even death,” said Dr. Clay Runnels, Ballad Health’s chief physician executive.

“Additionally, there’s an alarming national trend of parents choosing to delay and deviate from vaccination schedules, which seriously increases the risk of new epidemics of disease like measles and rubella – which presents just as much, or more, of a risk to our communities than COVID-19,” Runnels said.

More information about Ballad Health’s COVID-19 prevention and containment measures is available at www.balladhealth.org.

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