CHRISTUS Health System Uses Yext to Communicate Critical Updates to Patients During a Pandemic
- 600+ centers
- Irving, TX
During the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, everything changed — “maybe consider wearing a mask” — and then it changed again — “don’t wear a mask if you’re not a healthcare worker.” And then it changed again: “masks are required.” For the healthcare industry in particular, the constant changes to policy and procedure put an additional strain on health systems that were already overwhelmed by the rapid measures of preparation needed to ensure safe treatment of a wave of highly contagious patients.
Multiply all this by more than 600 centers — including a variety of facilities, community hospitals, walk-in clinics, and health ministries — and CHRISTUS Health had its work cut out for it.
“We are a not for profit Catholic, faith-based healthcare system that serves a broad region,” explains Jenny Walker, Director of Digital Engagement. “We’re in Louisiana, Texas, and New Mexico. We also have an international presence with ministries in Chile, Colombia, and Mexico.”
Walker’s team knew they would need a way to get information about each individual center to the patients who would be impacted, as those details evolved in real time. The team was already using the Yext platform to manage much of CHRISTUS Health’s brand information, and as luck would have it, they had just recently onboarded all of the health system’s new facilities and providers when the public health crisis struck.
Because CHRISTUS Health already centrally managed its brand information across search experiences, the health system was able to reach patients with swift, clear updates as soon as the pandemic struck.
“As Google and other entities have updated to keep up with COVID-19, we’ve learned a lot about opportunities that we probably wouldn’t have learned about otherwise,” Walker explains. “This is the great accelerator that changed everything. Virtual medicine of course took off, and we utilized a lot of areas within Yext to promote that. We were also using Google posting to ensure that our patients knew the latest about our visitor guidelines, which were changing daily, if not hourly. We had guidelines to get out, like universal masking at our facilities, among other important information. We needed to let the public know about COVID testing. And in some cases needed to remove information about COVID testing because some of our ministries did not provide COVID testing for everyone.”
With so many moving pieces, Walker was grateful to have a centralized solution to manage all that information. “Having everything in one central location was incredibly helpful during this time — especially as our resources internally had depleted,” Walker continues. “It was nice to have these external resources that we could lean on.”
Lauryn Hayutin, on Walker’s team, has managed all COVID-related updates for CHRISTUS Health. “Yext has been very beneficial for us, as far as helping us to cast a wider net across search engines,” she says. “We’ve had a surge in impressions, profile views, customer actions, phone calls, link clicks, et cetera. It’s just a coincidence that the coronavirus hit literally within weeks after we onboarded all of our facilities and providers.”
CHRISTUS Health was already set up with consistent, comprehensive, and optimized information across search experiences, so the health system had everything it needed in place to publish swift updates with a wide reach when the crisis struck. “We expanded our footprint,” she explains. “Basically, that helped to defend against a larger decline that would have been caused by coronavirus. In fact, we’re still up dramatically.”
As the health system knows, communication is now more important than ever. “As Texas and Louisiana continue to lift restrictions and then reimpose them, we know that we have to quickly adjust to these orders,” explains Walker. “That has been a challenge, to make sure people understand that we are providing COVID-safe care. We have safety procedures in place like how you can enter the building, and where it’s safe to have surgery. We don’t want the people we serve to delay care. We’re seeing a high volume of search terms on these topics, which wouldn’t have been as high before. ‘Is it safe to have surgery right now?’ is not a long tail keyword that people have used a lot in the past. But it is something that’s being asked a lot now. I think every medical professional right now is just worried about the fact that there are still cardiac events, for example, that we need to take care of. You shouldn’t worry about coming to our ER.”
Even as patient engagement online declined across the industry, CHRISTUS Health continued to see an increase.
Using the Yext platform, CHRISTUS Health made more than 31k updates across search experiences during the quarter that COVID-19 struck the United States.
In Q1 of 2020, healthcare industry benchmark trends show a 13.2% year-over-year drop in clicks and a 13.8% year-over-year drop in impressions, due to COVID. CHRISTUS Health, however, experienced a 13% year-over-year increase in listing clicks, and a 55% year-over-year increase in impressions for the quarter. Looking into these types of clicks, healthcare industry benchmark trends show a 26.1% year-over-year drop in website clicks and an 11.8% year-over-year drop in clicks-to-call, while CHRISTUS Health has experienced a 12% year-over-year increase in website clicks and a 17% year-over-year increase in clicks-to-call.