Diversity has never been more important in healthcare, and that includes the professional voice recordings that healthcare providers utilize for their patients and their staff. In a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has radically reshaped our cultural understanding of the importance (and fragility) of healthcare providers—from doctors to nurses to therapists to pharmacists to the staff that allow these institutions to function properly—healthcare providers are vital parts of any community. The voiceover recordings should reflect those communities. Voice diversity for healthcare providers plays an important role in creating that community feel.
Reporting the Numbers
Even as America has become an increasingly more diverse country, the healthcare industry has remained stubbornly resistant to similar change. In an article dated from March 2021, the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences found that 64% of physicians are male and 56% are white. The majority of nurse practitioners, physical therapists, and occupational therapists are female, but only 25% are non-white.
According to the St. Augustine article, referencing data from the most recent U.S. Census, only 6% of physicians identify as Hispanic, despite Hispanics representing 19% of the population. Only 5% of physicians identify as Black or African-American, despite 13% of the population being Black.
“People who are part of gender, racial, religious, and sexual minority groups may face obstacles in the healthcare workforce, including discrimination, fewer job offers, and uneven promotion opportunities—as well as challenges accessing the quality education they need to enter the field in the first place,” the article states.
Effects of COVID
The COVID pandemic has only exacerbated this preexisting reality, as communities of color have suffered from the effects of the pandemic at a much more pronounced and costly (in every sense of the word) than White communities.
“Given this harrowing reality, combined with the positive energy of current social movements around correcting systemic iniquities, it’s a particularly important time for health administrators to develop cultural competency,” the St. Augustine editorial states.
Professional voice recordings are part of that cultural competency. They are the first public face that is presented to someone contacting your organization for the first time. The auto attendant prompts that a caller will navigate are the guide they need to use to get whatever services, medicines, or appointments they will need.
And oftentimes, the caller will be in the midst of either a sudden or long-term health problem while making these calls. That was already the case before the COVID-19 pandemic, but now there are added layers of stress and discomfort on top of virtually every personal and professional interaction, especially as concerns hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, etc.
There is no way to calculate the psychological and emotional burdens that can be eased for a caller when that voice on the phone sounds like themselves, or like someone they might know, rather than a clipped, mechanical recitation from a voice that has no connection to this person or to anyone in the surrounding neighborhoods and communities.
Doesn’t that make a hospital seem that much more imposing? That much more stressful an institution to have to spend time dealing with? Doesn’t it make more sense for a healthcare provider to try and make itself feel at home among the people it will serve, and the culture into which it will exist?
Putting in the Work
In an article by Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford, “The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in the Healthcare Workforce”, Dr. Stanford writes that the first, critical step to increasing diversity is simply making the choice to make it a priority.
It’s an effort that we at Marketing Messages have also been making, with a recent push to recruit more African-American professional voice performers. We’ve already seen enthusiasm from some of our regular customers for more diverse voice selections, and it’s an effort we will continue to make.
So make the choice to put in the work. We live in a global world, and all share in beautiful and diverse communities. Having professional voice recordings that reflect those communities should be a priority for any company existing in this modern age, but voice diversity in healthcare is especially critical.