Wendy Lund
Wendy Lund

Nearly half (48 percent) of respondents already dealing with underlying health conditions are satisfied with the amount of information available to them about COVID-19, according to a study from GCI Health and the Harris Poll. Respondents have several suggestions about how the healthcare industry could provide more effective communications.

First on the list was helping them prepare for emergencies (cited by 47 percent of respondents with chronic conditions as opposed to 42 percent of all respondents). They also were looking for tips on improving mental wellbeing (46 percent vs. 42 percent) and information on alternative medicine (32 percent vs. 30 percent).

About a third of those with an underlying condition (33 percent) said they felt they were getting too much information about COVID-19, with 13 percent saying they weren’t getting enough.

Just under a fifth of patients and caregivers (19 percent) also said that there is too little information available about how to manage chronic health conditions after a coronavirus diagnosis.

The study also uncovered a significant amount of coronavirus overload for all respondents. Two thirds (66 percent) said they were overwhelmed by the news coverage of the topic. In addition, more than half (52 percent) said that the glut of COVID-19 news made it difficult to find health information on any other topic.

A surprising discovery: the reputation of the pharmaceutical industry is on the upswing. “Yet-to-be-released data indicates that people living with chronic conditions view the pharmaceutical industry more favorably than those who are not managing a condition,” said The Harris Poll managing director Rob Jekielek.

Although 80 percent of the survey respondents said they feel that their lives have been put on hold during the pandemic, they also see a positive side to the current situation. Seven out of 10 said they think the crisis has made them stronger and more resilient, while 83 percent said they were inspired by how people have come together.

The increasing need for information is also opening up opportunities for healthcare communicators, according to GCI Health CEO Wendy Lund. “There is a clear desire, especially among those managing chronic conditions for non-COVID-related content, and this is an important time for the industry to adapt and rethink communications strategies.”

The COVID-19 Health Impact Survey polled more than 2,000 U.S. adults (including 1,300 suffering from chronic conditions) from April 14 to 16.