(HAMILTON, ON) The need for Canadians to undergo testing for COVID-19 has sadly become commonplace in 2020, and as a result, there is a growing awareness among Canadians of the function of medical laboratories – in that these are the places the tests must go. What’s still not fully understood is that COVID-19 is just one of the 1.2 million tests these laboratories, conducted by medical laboratory professionals, process on a daily basis.
A new social marketing campaign launching today will aim to address that knowledge gap.
The campaign is backed by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS), the national professional society for Canada's medical laboratory professionals, in an effort to generate greater awareness of the key role medical lab professionals play within our health care system and in supporting the health and wellness of Canadians.
“We know from recent research initiatives that Canadians don’t have a strong sense of who we are, what we do, and what role we play in the larger health care system,” says Christine Nielsen, Chief Executive Officer of CSMLS. “Canadians see medical laboratory work as a function behind the health care system, not an essential group of people that keeps it ticking. This public campaign aims to change that by raising the profile of our members’ professional contributions in Canada – with the creative concept focusing on ‘making the invisible, visible.’”
The marketing campaign centres around the profession’s most recognizable symbol – the lab coat. The coat you see in the campaign creative, however is no regular lab coat.
Printed on the coat in microscopic indigo type, are the names of the 1.2 million lab tests done each day in labs across the country; tests that help diagnose and treat the thousands of health issues that impact Canadians such as cancer, auto-immune diseases, diabetes and most recently, COVID-19. Indigo was chosen for the colour as it represents confidence, intelligence, truth, trust, ambition, and devotion – all characteristics of hard-working lab professionals.
While the decision to embark on an awareness campaign was made prior to the pandemic, Nielsen acknowledges the current environment offers a unique opportunity to shine a light on the work of medical lab professionals.
“COVID’s arrival in Canada has obviously generated a bit more awareness of lab work since it is our country’s medical laboratory technologists conducting the COVID testing,” says Nielsen. “Our connection to Canada’s COVID-19 response has provided us with a larger platform to make sure Canadians understand the direct role we play in their health care, and in supporting other health care professionals 24/7, 365 days a year.”
Valentin Villatoro a medical laboratory professional in Edmonton echoes Nielsen’s comments.
“It’s my hope, and my colleagues hope, that this campaign will ignite a much-needed conversation in Canada around how our work helps to uphold the health care system – providing doctors and other health care practitioners with the information they need to support their patients,” says Villatoro. “The pandemic, and the extent to which these medical lab professionals have stepped up to support our Country’s response to COVID-19, has certainly amplified the need for this acknowledgement.”
In the Canadian health care system, laboratory tests are by far the most common medical activity. Canadians annually receive an average of 14-20 laboratory tests per capita – with $5.9 billion invested each year by provincial and territorial governments on laboratory activities.
The campaign will feature out-of-home marketing in targeted regions across Canada, as well as investing efforts in significant social media outreach, all encouraging people to learn more at IndigoLabCoat.ca