Johnson & Johnson urges patients not to delay healthcare due to COVID-19

As people have taken shelter in place this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, routine medical visits have dropped precipitously.

Johnson & Johnson is urging patients to put their health first and not delay their healthcare during the pandemic. The campaign, My Health Can’t Wait, takes a two-pronged approach, one focused on educating patients and the other on encouraging doctors to start the conversation with their patients.

Before beginning this effort, J&J conducted a survey in June of 2,000 American adults. The results of this survey influenced many campaign messages.

“One thing that really struck us was the fact that a majority, 88%, considered health care a priority, but around 70% had either postponed some care or knew someone who had postponed the care they needed. needed,” said Jijo James, chief medical officer of Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices. “A positive finding was that if their doctor called, 20% would go ahead and receive needed care, but if not contacted, they were 40% more likely to delay care.”

This last finding influenced the doctor component of the campaign. J&J uses this initiative to encourage physicians to contact their patients proactively.

Resources for doctors on the My Health Can’t Wait website include an email template, surgery checklist and discussion guide, tips for communicating with patients during this uncertain time, and tips for communicate via telehealth.

“The main message is to put your health care first,” James said. “We don’t tell them so much that it’s safe, because that’s a conversation that needs to take place between a doctor and a patient to determine if they can’t wait for care. Our focus has been more on providing them with the information to make that informed decision.

J&J uses several methods to reach patients and doctors. The company has partnered with the Association for Healthcare Social Media to reach physicians and relies on its own network of employees to spread the word, James said.

The initiative is led by J&J’s medical devices unit, but James said the effort is also supported across the organization.

The other aspect of the campaign is patient education. The website also includes discussion guides for patients to talk with their doctor, guidelines and FAQs on what to expect when going to an appointment, and a guide to preparing for appointments. telehealth.

The patient effort goes through a social, digital and public relations campaign. J&J is also sharing patient stories about returning to in-person care and patients who received care or surgery during the pandemic. James hopes the patient stories will help reassure others who don’t know what a visit to the doctor is like during COVID-19.

“When you look at the emphasis we put on it, we were generally talking to healthcare providers and providing them with tools to reach out and support them,” James said. “There is also a change in this case to support patients. Often patients feel like they are being spoken to rather than being listened to. We provide them with information that allows them to have the conversation and make them share that responsibility around their care.”

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