Posts tagged with "demographics"

Kaelen Felix Illustrates a Healthcare Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Authenticx x Healthcare Companies

Healthcare companies are at the center of so many debates right now, and their involvement in the pandemic is one of the biggest.

Having to answer customer questions while COVID-19 impacts the nation in a manner unprecedented in our lifetime can be a challenge, but Authenticx is offering advice to companies attempting to provide answers.

Authenticx CEO Amy Brown said the upcoming flu season will bring about more questions, and we can use the past several months to prepare.

“Americans are tuned into what healthcare experts are saying like never before. We’re urging healthcare providers to seize this opportunity to listen to the concerns of the public and use their resources to provide clear guidelines and straightforward advice so healthcare consumers can make the best decisions to protect themselves and others,” Brown said.

Based on 45,000 data points pulled from customer conversations, Authenticx was able to determine three main concerns regarding coverage. The three concerns are as follows:

1. Contraction Risk: Patients have divided themselves into different demographics trying to determine the possibility of contracting COVID-19, and the flu will only make it more difficult to determine. Customers called their healthcare providers to ask questions like:

  1. Should I get my flu shot this year or does that lower my immune system?
  2. Is there anything I should know about flu shots relative to my specific treatment plan?
  3. Should I quarantine if I think I have the flu?
  4. How do I know if I have the flu or COVID-19? What should I do about that?

2. Flexible Payment Options: Unstable employment and loss of insurance have been devastating results of COVID-19, but customers are still trying to remain safe. Customers reportedly asked how to proceed forward with healthcare given limited financial flexibility. Those concerns are not likely to curtail in the very near future.

3. Supply Chain & Access to Medications: With COVID-19 taking priority in national health, many patients expressed concern about getting medication they required prior to the pandemic. Issues with the mail system could also cause consumers to panic if their medication sees shipping delays or problems. Between flu shots and COVID vaccines, drug manufacturers are being kept busy. Some worry they’re too busy to handle normal mandatory medication.

Brown said healthcare companies can implement a listening system for customers with these questions by doing the following:

1. Listen at Scale: It will be nearly impossible to give full attention to each and every customer. The goal should be to prioritize the most important questions and select customer interactions to monitor. Determine a specific sample size suited to the customer base and use that sample to select questions and customers to address specifically.

2. Be Strategic: Listening can provide insight when choosing a strategy for engaging with customers. The customers will tell companies what they are hoping for in terms of service, and that information can be used to change for the better. Once a strategy is solidified, deploy resources to give the customers what they hope to receive from the company.

3. Move Fast: Begin moving on customer questions right away. As news regarding healthcare develops, so do the needs of the customers. Concerns not handled right away could get lost in the shuffle in an ever-developing news cycle, and customers want their problems solved in real time.

To see a full step-by-step guide on how to properly serve healthcare customers right now, you can click right here.

Covid and health illustration

Environmental Effects × COVID-19

MIT Sloan School of Management study shows potential long-term environment effects from COVID-19 and the findings show a decrease in clean energy investment could exacerbate health crisis

While the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced air pollution in the U.S., the longer-term impact on the environment is unclear. In a recent study, MIT Sloan School of Management Prof. Christopher Knittel and Prof. Jing Li analyzed the short- and long-term effects, finding that the actual impact will depend on the policy response to the pandemic. Their study suggests that pushing back investments in renewable electricity generation by one year could outweigh the emission reductions and deaths avoided from March through June 2020.

“The pandemic raises two important questions related to the environment. First, what is the short-run impact on fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions? Second – and more important but harder to answer – what are the longer-term implications from the pandemic on those same variables? The health impacts from the pandemic could stretch out for decades if not centuries depending on the policy response,” says Knittel.

In their study, the researchers analyzed the short-term impact of the pandemic on CO2 emissions in the U.S. from late March to June 7, 2020. They found a 50% reduction in the use of jet fuel and a 30% reduction in the use of gasoline. The use of natural gas in residential and commercial buildings declined by almost 20% and overall electricity demand declined by less than 10%. However, the professors point out that the shutdown also halted most investment in the transition to low-carbon energy. In addition, clean energy jobs decreased by almost 600,000 by the end of April.

“The short-term impact of the pandemic is clear, but the long-term impact is highly uncertain,” says Li. “It will depend on how long it takes to bring the pandemic under control and how long any economic recession lasts.”

The best-case scenario, according to the researchers, is a swift and low-cost strategy to control the virus, allowing the economy to reopen by the end of 2020. In this scenario, investment trends prior to the pandemic will continue.

“Unfortunately, we view a second scenario as more likely,” notes Knittel. “In this scenario, the consequences of the pandemic will be greater, with many more deaths and deeper disruptions to supply chains, and a persistent global recession. The need to backpedal on the reopening of the economy due to flare-ups could destroy rather than defer the demand for goods and services.”

In this scenario, the delays in investments in renewables and vehicle fuel economy could lead to an additional 2,500 MMT of CO2 from 2020-2035, which could cause 40 deaths per month on average or 7,500 deaths during that time.

“Our findings suggest that even just pushing back all renewable electricity generation investments by one year would outweigh the emissions reductions and avoided deaths from March to June of 2020. However, the energy policy response to COVID-19 is the wild card that can change everything,” they wrote in an article for Joule.

Li explains that budgets will be strained to pay for the costs of the virus, making it challenging to invest in clean energy. And if a recession persists, there may be pressure to lessen climate change mitigation goals. However, stimulus packages could focus on clean energy, increasing clean air, clean jobs, and national security.

“Just stabilizing the economy can go a long way to putting clean energy trends back on track. We need to solve the pandemic and continue to address climate change. Otherwise, it will lead to even more tragedy,” adds Knittel.

Li and Knittel are coauthors of “The short-run and long-run effects of COVID-19 on energy and the environment” with Kenneth Gillingham and Marten Ovaere of Yale University and Mar Reguant of Northwestern University. Their paper was published in a June issue of Joule.

Covid and health illustration

MIT COVID-19 Research

Why does the coronavirus kill some Americans, while leaving others relatively unscathed?

A new study by researchers at the MIT Sloan School of Management sheds light on that question. The study, by Christopher R. Knittel, the George P. Shultz Professor of Applied Economics at MIT Sloan, and Bora Ozaltun, a Graduate Research Assistant in the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEPR) lab, correlates COVID-19 death rates in the U.S. states with a variety of factors, including patients’ race, age, health and socioeconomic status, as well as their local climate, exposure to air pollution, and commuting patterns.

The findings have important implications for determining who is most at risk of dying from the virus and for how policymakers respond to the pandemic.
Using linear regression and negative binomial mixed models, the researchers analyzed daily county-level COVID-19 death rates from April 4 to May 27 of this year. Similar to prior studies, they found that African Americans and elderly people are more likely to die from the infection relative to Caucasians and people under the age of 65. Importantly, they did not find any correlation between obesity rates, ICU beds per capita, or poverty rates.

“Identifying these relationships is key to helping leaders understand both what’s causing the correlation and also how to formulate policies that address it,” says Prof. Knittel.

“Why, for instance, are African Americans more likely to die from the virus than other races? Our study controls for patients’ income, weight, diabetic status, and whether or not they’re smokers. So, whatever is causing this correlation, it’s none of those things. We must examine other possibilities, such as systemic racism that impacts African Americans’ quality of insurance, hospitals, and healthcare, or other underlying health conditions that are not in the model, and then urge policymakers to look at other ways to solve the problem.”

The study, which has been released as a Center for Energy and Environmental Policy working paper and is in the process of being released as a working paper on medRxiv, a preprint server for health sciences, contains additional insights about what does, and does not, correlate with COVID-19 death rates. For instance, the researchers did not find a correlation between exposure to air pollution. This finding contradicts earlier studies that indicated that coronavirus patients living in areas with high levels of air pollution before the pandemic were more likely to die from the infection than patients in cleaner parts of the country.

According to Prof. Knittel, the “statistical significance of air pollution and mortality from COVID-19 is likely spurious.”

The researchers did, however, find that patients who commute via public transportation are more likely to die from the disease relative to those who telecommute. They also find that a higher share of people not working, and thus not commuting, have higher death rates.

“The sheer magnitude of the correlation between public transit and mortality is huge, and at this point, we can only speculate on the reasons it increases vulnerability to experiencing the most severe COVID-19 outcomes,” says Prof. Knittel. “But at a time when many U.S. states are reopening and employees are heading back to work, thereby increasing ridership on public transportation, it is critical that public health officials zero in on the reason.”

The proportion of Americans who have died from COVID-19 varies dramatically from state to state. The statistical models that Knittel and Ozaltun created yield estimates of the relative death rates across states, after controlling for all of the factors in their model. Death rates in the Northeast are substantially higher compared to other states. Death rates are also significantly higher in Michigan, Louisiana, Iowa, Indiana, and Colorado. California’s death rate is the lowest across all states.

Curiously, the study found that patients who live in U.S. counties with higher home values, higher summer temperatures, and lower winter temperatures are more likely to die from the illness than patients in counties with lower home values, cooler summer weather, and warmer winter weather. This implies that social distancing policies will continue to be necessary in places with hotter summers and colder winters, according to the researchers.

“Some of these correlations are baffling and deserve further study, but regardless, our findings can help guide policymakers through this challenging time,” says Ozaltun. “It’s clear that there are important and statistically significant difference in death rates across states. We need to investigate what’s driving those differences and see if we can understand how we might do things differently.”

Why having a social media platform is right for your business

The one thing entrepreneurs, small business owners, large and small corporations around the globe have in common is the desire to grow and thrive in their line of business. In the last decade alone social media has significantly changed how people connect and communicate, with approximately over 2.4billion users worldwide. Keeping this in mind, growing one’s business simply boils down to building a strong brand online because that’s where the consumers are.

Let’s go through a few ways in which social media is good for business.

Allows you to adapt to shifts in consumer attention

Prior to the social media boom, businesses would communicate to their potential customers by paying to have their commercial ads on magazines, radio, and television. The non-free element of these platforms made it more difficult for startups to reach an audience and most would rely on ‘word of mouth’ to market their business. Today, online platforms are free, interactive and have an uncanny ability to reach a niche audience. As a business, you can constantly use surveys to find out if the consumers’ needs have changed or evolved and develop a marketing strategy to target your audience and meet their needs.

There is a lot of demographic data readily available on social media networks; analyzing this data can help you develop marketing tools that your audience is better likely to receive.

Social media is interactive

Social media allows you to have real-time interactions with your customers, and you can respond to comments and questions on your brand while on a grocery line or having a coffee. There are many existing online platforms which one can use to interact with consumers making it difficult for businesses to survive on all of them as this requires time. Which begs the question, how do I identify the right social media platform to use?

• Choose a platform your customers are on: A business should only exist on a platform that their audience is in to ensure value adding interactions. This allows you to ‘cull the herd’ in a manner of speaking, access and respond to your target consumer needs

• First, ensure your marketing strategy is better than your competitors and apply it on a platform that is comfortable for you. For example, if you are unable to create compelling short ads or hire someone to do it for you then twitter may not be the best platform to use; a business needs to play to its strengths. However, one cannot ignore core platforms which are essential for your business to be on such as LinkedIn and Instagram because of the attention such platforms receive.

• Choose a platform that allows you to have real-time interactions with people either through face to face marketing of group chats. This could be a strategic way to building lasting relationships and connections and leverage these connections for your business.

Interactive features like monitoring apps alert you to any bad reviews your business may be getting and allows you to respond adequately and promptly to avoid loss of sales and brand damage. It also lets you know how your competitors are doing, and this will enable you to make strategic business decisions if niches have been identified.

Offers many features

Popular social media platforms require the user to be active in order to gain a large following and subsequent likes. So, if you are unable to continually have an online presence, ‘cheat apps’ are your best bet. Let’s use the example of Instagram which is currently the most visited social network. The app offers individuals and businesses services such as Instagram likes for sale which gives the perception that your posts are popular and value adding to your audience. Instagram auto likes are a good marketing technique in the sense that it is easy to use and time-saving. A business simply has to submit an Instagram photo or URL and go about day-to-day activities while the system ensures that you receive as the number of like you requested. This feature not only brings traffic to the products and services your business offers but also gives you an edge over your competitors.

Advantages of auto like services

• It is time-saving. Once you subscribe and choose a package that works for you, the system does the rest while you can focus on other ways of growing your brand

• It is a great tool for entrepreneurs. It helps build the client base as people are more likely to take time to look and follow URLs of popular posts.

• It allows a business to increase sales while growing and promoting it’s their brand. The free auto likes will get the attention of consumer who will in turn like and sometimes share the post. This increases the likelihood of getting lifetime customers and reaching new audiences.

• It is affordable. Some packages are free allowing business to save on monetary resources while steadily growing their brand.

Allows you to partner with influencers

A social media influencer is an individual with a large online following that trusts their judgment and can easily help you improve brand visibility. These group of people often guide their followers purchasing choices by simply talking or sharing links and images about the products and services you offer. Since their opinions are trusted, your brand credibility soars, and this translates into sales.

In some instances business hit the gold mine and go viral through these partnerships. Consumers will share content they deem worthy with their friends and followers who will also do the same and before you know it your business has been exposed to millions of people online.

In conclusion

A lot has changed over the years; a business’s ability to adapt to these changes will determine whether it will succeed or fail. The use of social media to market one’s business is one such change. Social networks undoubtedly have a wide range of benefits to a company from increasing brand awareness to increased sales, and this makes it a vital component to business continuity.