Times have changed – for good

Genuine engagement with consumers has suffered in some organisations as a result of Covid-19. And the current situation in Victoria reminds us that the pandemic is not over and will likely continue affecting us for some time.

This means organisations need to get creative about how to engage with their consumers or risk significant set-backs to their consumer engagement programs. As one Health Service shared with Health Issues Centre last week, Covid-19 has devastated their program so completely, they will need to start over from scratch.

But face-to-face consultation is not the only option for maintaining connection. Technology not only overcomes risk to vulnerable participants, it can also overcome issues of equity imposed by other barriers such as mobility, distance and lack of access to transport or carer support.

Health Issues Centre has been connecting with consumers throughout the Covid-19 crisis using technology and discovering that – contrary to popular mythology – many consumers are happy to adapt to new ways of engaging.

Hundreds of consumers and consumer representatives from across Australia attended our three-part online forum series on Covid-19 and actively participated in breakout discussions – adding their valuable voices to the issue.

This is not a challenge, it’s an opportunity

CEO of Health Issues Centre, Danny Vadasz, said, “There is a great opportunity here for organisations to show leadership in this space and support consumers in engaging in a different way.

“The world has changed and I don’t expect we will ever completely return to a pre-Covid way of working. This means it’s more important than ever to help consumers gain the skills they need to function in that new world where technology will be a key feature.”

Health Issues Centre offers training and support to Health Services, organisations and consumers in how to engage using online technology. To find out more about how we can help, contact us at training@hic.org.au.

Health Issues Centre conducted a survey of consumer representatives and Health Services to find out how the Covid-19 restrictions are impacting consumer engagement – including how widespread the use of technology solutions was.

We produced a short report highlighting the key findings of the survey. See the report.

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