American Heart Month: 4 Ways to Get Your Patients Involved
As February kicks into gear and the heart-filled holiday of Valentine’s Day approaches, healthcare providers are making different hearts a priority—their patients’. February is American Heart Month and healthcare providers are ready to get their patients on board when it comes to sustaining a healthy heart.
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death in men and women each year. And with 83% of Americans holding their healthcare providers responsible for their well-being, it’s becoming expected of providers to inform their patients when opportunities arise. We’ve gathered a few ways to keep your patients healthy and your marketing hearty.
Nearly 55% of New Year’s resolutions are health-related, such as exercising and proper eating, but roughly 80% fail to stay loyal to their new goal. Most people start losing the motivation to maintain their New Year’s resolution within the first month, so it can be a good opportunity to encourage patients to get back into the routine in support of cardiac month. Exercise plays a big role in maintaining a healthy heart and American Heart Month is the time to leverage awareness.
Healthcare providers can raise awareness by partnering with local recreation or fitness centers and offering branded promotional items that will encourage users to push through and stick to their fitness goals. Studies show that the average consumer holds onto promotional items for 5.8 months. Promotional items like water bottles allow patients to use them during workouts for hydration but also lets providers inform patients that proper hydration reduces cardiovascular strain.
Host a Screening Event
Regardless of what type of healthcare you specialize in, promoting a healthy lifestyle is always applicable. This not only reassures your patients that you’re a well-rounded healthcare expert, but that you care about their total health and wellness as well.
Host an event or form a partnership
Host your own screening event or partner with a farmers market, retail outlet or health club to get your current and prospective patients involved. Many patients don’t see the signs of cardiac risk until after they’ve suffered a heart attack or stroke. By offering free or reduced cost health screenings, patients can feel confident that their heart is in good health before they are at risk.
Increase event attendance through activities
You can increase attendance at your screening event by encouraging patients to participate in an activity that will help strengthen their own heart. Sponsor an event such as a walk to increase awareness for heart health or a 5K race that will get the whole family involved.
Above all, be prepared for those attendees that result in high blood pressure at the screening event by gathering their contact information for a followup with a healthcare professional. Be mindful if your area is likely to have health disparities that may cause a barrier in community engagement. Consider presenting low-cost options and facilities that are easily accessible with public transportation as solutions.
Build an Experience with a Healthy Heart Day
Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be the only day that’s heart-focused in your healthcare center. Designate one day in the month to spotlight American Heart Month by getting your staff and patients involved on-site with a Healthy Heart Day.
There’s no better day to host Healthy Heart Day in your healthcare center than on National Wear Red Day, a movement sponsored by Go Red for Women to promote awareness about heart disease affecting women. This not only kicks off American Heart Month on the first Friday of the month but will also spark conversation about heart disease.
Invite a nutrition expert to inform your patients and staff about best supplements for cardiac health or conduct a cooking demonstration for simple, healthy recipes. Offer nutritious foods in your center, such as fruit and vegetable platters, to get your Healthy Heart Day rolling with a fun treat for everyone.
Raise Awareness Beyond February
Combatting heart disease shouldn’t be limited to the short month of February. Implement a strategy that offers a year-round effort in raising heart disease awareness.
Use social media as an outlet for raising awareness during American Heart Month by promoting your screening events, promotions and services related to cardiac health. But don’t forget to dedicate at least one post a month to heart disease awareness beyond February as a friendly reminder to stay in tune with your cardiac needs.
Also, utilize your staff as an asset to create personal relationships with patients. Showing patients that you care helps create a mutual trust that not only makes their visit more enjoyable, but also paves the path to better overall health and quality of life.
“Patients have more options than ever before. With so much information available online, they no longer feel the need to visit the hospital or practice closest to their location. That’s why it’s so important to have a plan,” shares Chris LeBlanc, evok’s VP, creative director and healthcare category captain. “Health screenings and health fairs have the ability to reach a larger segment of the public and identify people with risk factors for disease. To gain a share of voice in the marketplace it’s important to utilize as many areas of outreach to build relationships with potential patients.”