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GCI Health and Harris Poll Research Reveals American Public’s Desire for Hopeful and Inspirational Content 

Proprietary research illuminates how the pandemic has made Americans stronger and more resilient, and a need for the healthcare industry to offer holistic support.

The Harris Poll, a global market research firm, and GCI Health, an award-winning global integrated communications agency specializing in healthcare, today announced the results of The COVID-19 Health Impact Survey, a proprietary research initiative designed to better understand how Americans, especially those living with or caring for someone with underlying health conditions, are coping during the pandemic and how the healthcare industry can help address their needs.

The national survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, including 1,300 people with chronic illnesses, revealed that 40 percent of Americans want to see stories of hope and inspiration (41 percent and 39 percent, respectively), and that people managing a chronic condition are more likely than those who are not to want to hear about how to be better prepared for emergencies (47 percent), tips for improving mental wellbeing (46 percent), stories of hope (44 percent) or information on alternative medicine (32 percent).

The survey further noted that 70 percent of Americans feel the pandemic has made them a stronger, more resilient person, and 62 percent find that social distancing mandates have given them time to take control of their health, such as eating healthy, exercising and sleeping more/better. Interestingly, 43 percent of those caring for someone with a health condition feel overwhelmed by trying to manage their health and the health of their loved ones.

“On the heels of new data showing how the pharmaceutical industry’s reputation is improving dramatically, these new findings indicate an opportunity to offer support in people’s evolving health journeys,” said Rob Jekielek, managing director of The Harris Poll. “Furthermore, 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.”

Not everyone is experiencing the pandemic in the same way. For people living with a chronic illness, about half (48 percent) felt that there was the right amount of information available to them about COVID-19, while 33 percent felt there was too much and 13 percent felt there wasn’t enough. Similarly, nearly two-thirds (66 percent) felt overwhelmed by news coverage of the topic. Additionally, half of Americans (52 percent) reported having had difficulty finding health information on anything else because of coronavirus coverage and 93 percent reported interest in non-COVID related content.

“Throughout this period, the healthcare industry has been striving for unprecedented innovation to fight COVID-19,” said Wendy Lund, CEO, GCI Health. “Information that is communicated in authentic ways with a more empathetic, supportive and grateful tone – and that balances the negative news around COVID-19 – will be well received. 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: Method

The COVID-19 Health Impact Survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll in partnership with GCI Health from April 14-16, 2020 among 2,033 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

Complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes are available upon request.