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BTG COVID-19 Ep. 21: Consumer-Sentiment Data Results with Brian Wynne Pt. 2

BTG COVID-19 Ep. 21: Consumer-Sentiment Data Results with Brian Wynne Pt. 2

View the newest COVID19 NRC Health study here  & Infogram here

This series is designed to provide resources, share the love stories and encourage those who are overseeing the care of aging adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe in you!

Lucas: Welcome to Bridge the Gap podcast, the senior living podcast with Josh and Lucas on our special series dedicated to COVID-19 we have an alumni back on the program. A good friend of ours, Brian Wynne from NRC. Welcome back to the program. 


Brian: Thank you. Great to be here. 


Lucas: Brian- 


Brian: -Good to see you. 


Lucas: You too. You too. We’re going to jump right into it. You were on a recent episode where you guys released some of the findings of a study that you did and now you have an up to date study. So give us a brief overview of what you studied before and now talk us through the timeline and the outcomes of this new one.


Brian: Sure. The previous study that we had that we’d spoken about just a few weeks ago that data is a little over five and a half weeks old. And what we wanted to do was take a look at the generational differences in their perceptions to the COVID crisis in terms of consumer behavior and care providers’ confidence in themselves to manage this crisis. And of course we want to understand the level of information that they place in news that they’re receiving about the covered crisis and, and how to respond to it. So we had a generational breakdown, which, which is a bit unique, had about 2000 responses from across the country wanting to have an even representation from a generation Z, from millennial, from the gen-xers like myself. And then of course, boomers and the silent generation. So we refreshed that.


 And what we are looking at now is updated research from the same type of generational cohort. And I think what is not going to surprise anybody listening or you two, is that we’ve seen a major shift in the last five weeks. I think as we have learned more about COVID and we’ve seen cases in the United States and unfortunately deaths increase here. We see the way that our lives had been impacted just in terms of social business saying or self quarantining businesses being affected. We see that come out very so luminated very clearly in terms of consumer sentiment. So we see things alike those level of concerns by generation, you know, in some cases more than double in terms of, you know, will coronavirus, impact my life. We see the numbers more than double from about 20% to about 48% on those that belief that they will contract coronavirus. So, you know, we wanted to see essentially trending between this period of five weeks in a highly fluid situation, what it was going to look like from a consumer standpoint. You know, that of your eye.


Josh: So I’m Brian walk us through some of the maybe similarities or differences that you have pinpointed comparing the Stu the two studies.


Brian: Sure. Similarities are really interesting because we thought that we might see a pretty decent gap just in that five week timeframe among all generational cohorts. But one thing that we’ve seen is that confidence in healthcare has changed a little bit. If we look at confidence in healthcare providers to manage a situation to do their job, we see that actually on an increase. If we look at confidence in healthcare providers to have the resources to be able to do their job, then that actually has seen a little bit of a decline. And I think some of that is a result of news coverage about health systems and, and basically any care providing setting, being overwhelmed with this virus, but still a relatively high percentage of confidence from consumers about the care providers. 


We’ve actually seen a pretty big increase of individuals say that they feel they’re really well-informed about coronavirus, about how to identify symptoms, about how to, you know, behave if you think that you’ve been exposed to it. And I think that’s really important because I think one of the things that is a fear to healthcare providers is if individuals are misinformed, they may seek treatment or behave inappropriately, which could help, could exacerbate the situation. 


As I mentioned before, I think one of the more interesting changes in the data that we’ve seen is across the board we’ve seen more and more individuals being, I would say, more concerned at a global level about the coronavirus. Say that’s a very global question, you know, are what, state your level of concern about COVID19. All right. So it’s, it’s not at all too very much. And so we’ve seen that of course, increase which is I think intuitively we would have expected that. However, we see some of the older generations, the boomers and the silent generation haven’t increased as much as some of the younger generations. And I know we’ve had a conversation about this and that maybe is partially due to access to social media or let’s say like the daily interaction with media that the younger generations have versus the older generations. Or, or it could be a matter of thinking about the impact or concern of coronavirus and being more inclusive of things like affecting one’s job, their livelihood, income, stability, things like that. And so that’s something that we definitely want to pay close attention to moving forward.


Josh: Yeah. I have to believe that you know, depending on the person answering this study, what point of life they are and how they’re being impacted directly or indirectly. So many people I know are talking about especially the younger generation that I often get a chance to talk with about, you know, what is the long term fallout of this? Even once we’re past this, you know, with how the economy is quickly come to a halt, not only just the American economy but the kind of world economy and what does that mean near term, long term. And so I think when you factor in what all is weighing on people because of this and the thoughts people are having that could definitely be part of it.


Brian: Yeah. Certainly as we, as we think about what could potentially be weighing on an individual, a healthcare consumer, we wanted to be more inclusive to have, I would say some of the more emotional and mental aspects of that. So you know, to your point, Josh is  somebody you know well, will the economy, will healthcare provider revenues, let’s say for example, recover more quickly? And at what point will, will that happen? What has to happen in order for that to be the case? I think we have to look at the, the state of wellbeing of the, of the consumer, right, of their customer. 


So a couple of things come to mind, things that we can study. Number one would be just the, the, the state of wellbeing. So we wanted to understand is this current situation which is creating, in some cases a lot of isolation, I mean, it’s meant to, right? Is that affecting one’s state of mental wellbeing? By way of, let’s say, increased depression or anxiety as a result of either isolation or as a result of a financial stress or whatever it may be. And we’ve actually seen through this recent study that more than half of the population has actually seen the decline in what they would consider their, their mental state of wellbeing. So increased anxiety, increased depression that’s something we’ll want to keep a very close eye on as well.


 And the other part of this is, you know, how fast can we all recover in terms of an industry is going to be a dependent, largely on healthcare deferment. So we think of deferment as intentionally delaying healthcare need, right? So there’s always a certain level of healthcare deferment. We see economic depressions increase deferment because of, I would say insecurities around the financial side of healthcare. But now with this you know, there, there’s individuals that have stated fear about going to seek treatment that they need, maybe even move in status as has been delayed or deferred because of the existence and the persistence of this virus where maybe they just don’t want to become exposed and are unsure how to go about what they would consider routine or necessary care. 


And so when that rebounds is going to, is it going to rebound in 30 days, 60 days, 90, you know, six, six months plus. I know we’re, we’re all waiting to see when that’s gonna happen. Definitely. And discount the financial consideration of that. And so with cost pressure being applied to consumers, we’re likely to see deferment continue. And so the one thing that we don’t want to see, and I think that we can all help as, as healthcare providers and partners in the space is addressing this aspect of mental wellbeing and trying to reduce confusion and frustration around the cost element so that we can begin to reduce the amount of people that are deferring what they have considered to be necessary health care.


Lucas: I’m wondering how our technology actually plays into those aspects that you just mentioned? And given that we’re as a global learning how to work remotely, how does telehealth and telemedicine play into the survey or something that you think would be an aspect of our future care?


Brian: Telemedicine has seen an absolute spike. You may imagine that, you know, with our acute health system partners, for example, we see like routine care visits or those that have questions about say, maybe do I have this virus, I’d like to run my symptoms by you. We’ve seen that. We’ve seen a spike in that. So whenever you see an increase in volume or participation in an area it’s done a couple of things. Number one is put pressure on, I would say health care providers, they have not provided that as an option, as a viable channel for care to be able to get to that point very quickly to where it can be a viable channel for care and people can stay safe in their own home and still have a conversation with the care provider. 


And then the backside of that is if you hope to have that experience, be it at all meaningful or improve it in any way, then you have to be able to improve it and measure it. So that’s actually for folks like NRC health, we’ve evolved our tools to the point to be able to have a meaningful feedback mechanism in the case of a virtual setting or a virtual visit so that you can have daily feedback, can be able to tune that so that it is more meaningful and appropriate the very next time somebody has an engagement with you.


Josh: You know to your point on telehealth you know, I’vebeen a user fortunately not very frequently in, in my short life, but of the telehealth and what a blessing it has been. It’s a feature available through the insurance plan that I’m part of. But I have noticed even several of my primary care and specialty doctors and physician networks here in the area where I live in Knoxville that did not previously really offer those services that I’ve been getting a lot of communication from them that now they’re offering that. And, and one positive thing I, I thought of is, you know, for the first time typically I never hear from my physicians unless I need them, right, and I’m going to them but I’ve seen a lot of engagement with me and a digital means of reaching out saying, hey, if you need us, here’s all the ways you can reach us. Here’s all the ways that we’re virtually available to you. 


And so I actually thought that was a really positive thing. That has, I think that because of this in our industry, in society in our teams being, you know, pressed and forced out of our comfort zone it’s amazing how human nature has brought us in many ways together. Even though we’re isolated, as you say, we’ve been forced to actually work together in ways and communicate, probably over communicate in ways that we never did before. And I think Brian, the work that you guys do across the healthcare continuum at NRC in really diving deep and helping us understand human nature and, and really that human understanding as you refer to it, that’s how we actually adapt. And that’s how we study. And that’s how we create solutions to offset some of these tendencies that maybe aren’t real healthy.

Brian: Yeah. Yeah. Thanks for that. I, we believe so. We hope so, Josh. But one thing that technology has enabled us to do certainly is try to get at what is most important to any audience, any stakeholder audience. If it, if it’s resident or somebody going to the general practitioner for physical, right? We want to, want to understand what is most important to that individual at that time and hopefully what’s most important to them, you know, in less of a near term setting. So like what is important to you? What are your goals for your life? Your health, you know, your wellbeing. And then if providers aren’t with that, then that’s terrific. But there’s only one way to get that information. It’s not through predictive models and all that, that kind of thing. It’s by asking. So there’s only one way to understand what’s important to me and that is to observe and ask me and, and try to, and then ask again, right? And then you keep tuning that.  And I think that that does, it does go a long way towards helping an organization understand a person provide appropriate service based on their expectations and needs. 

But then I think one of the things you’re, you’re, you’re talking about was building a sense of communities. So these technological tools can also connect us in such a way. I mean, look at what we’re doing right now from, you know, from different locations around the country, but yet we’re still having a conversation. We’re still talking about how we can move forward and how we can do it together and being inclusive like that as something that, you know, I guess we’re lucky to be able to be in this day and age so we can do it this way.


Josh: Well, and I think Lucas and I can speak to that. I think he and I have probably spoken more and communicated more virtually in the last five or six weeks then than we ever did prior to this. I know we’ve engaged in our, our listeners have engaged with us more than ever. Our listeners actually I have many of them have requested to get their hands on that study and we’ve provided that to them. And the first one I know they’re gonna connect and get this second study and we’ll make sure that we’ll get that in their hands. And awesome. Again, as always having you on our show, Brian. 


Brian: Anytime. I love what you guys do. Thanks for bringing a voice to so many to be able to talk about what’s important. I will look forward to doing it again in person next time.


Josh: Yeah, I hope so. 


Lucas:  I hope so, too. 


Brian: Thank you all. 


Lucas: Brian, NRC, the masters of human understanding on the show today. Hope this has been valuable to you. We just wanted you to know as our listeners, we want to connect with you. You can find us at We are set up now virtually to connect even better than when we were before and we really do love engaging with you with those direct messages and emails. Thank you for listening to Bridge the Gap.

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BTG COVID-19 Ep. 21: Consumer-Sentiment Data Results with Brian Wynne Pt. 2