World Heart Day is observed the world over on the last Sunday of the month of September. World Health Organisation estimates that annually over 17.5 mn people die of cardiovascular diseases. It is the world’s largest killer.
The theme of this year’s World Heart Day is ‘Know Your Risk’. Heart Disease is largely a consequence of the lifestyle choices that we make. True, some of us are predisposed to this disease because of our genetics, many of us make unwise lifestyle choices and suffer the consequences. Diet, Exercise and avoiding smoking are the simplest ways of keeping heart disease at bay. Yet so few of us pay attention only to regret later.
World Heart Day also provides an opportunity to healthcare marketers to connect with patients and people in general about various issues related to heart disease. Hospitals organise Heart Camps, Healthy Heart Runs, Public Lectures, Scientific Forums, CME’s , Exhibitions and Roadshows to create awareness about heart disease and its prevention. Dr. Ashok Seth a world famous cardiologist is on radio talking about the prevention of heart disease, the newspapers are full of advertising from hospitals and articles quoting famous doctors (Hindustan Times has Dr. Seth being quoted) on avoiding heart disease. The noise that the occasion allows marketers to generate will help drive the point further.
Healthcare Marketers however will do well to remember that an aware customer is always their best bet and awareness cannot be created by celebrating a World Heart Day (or for that matter World Anything Day) on a given day in the year. Healthcare Marketers interested in creating greater awareness about the prevention and treatment of heart disease must have a year long plan of activities. Continuous and meaningful engagement with customers the year round can only create a relationship, which will not only create greater awareness but also establish a relationship and hopefully get patients to walk in through the hospital’s door.
Healthcare Marketers alone can not pull this off. Without the support and active participation of medical folks, the cardiologists, the cardiac surgeons and other stakeholders, the program can never work. In fact they must take the lead in this.
Here is wishing everyone a healthy heart and a healthier lifestyle.
The pic is courtesy http://www.flickr.com