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Harnessing the patient voice – The key prescription to healthcare communications

Blog, Healthcare | May 6, 2015

By Lisa Cancian, Senior Consultant, Healthcare

IvelinRadkov (iStockphoto)

IvelinRadkov (iStockphoto)

In healthcare communications, people’s stories become a focal point, the heart of everything we do, and make a difference in the programs we execute. Focusing on the experiences of real people and being committed to championing their voice is the key to shaping successful communications strategies, and creating powerful messaging to change perspectives and influence behaviour.

As healthcare communicators, we always start a program, whether it’s an awareness campaign, product launch, etc. by asking the question: “Who can share this story?” The physical, emotional and psychological impact on a person and his or her support system is not always easy to share. So when people are willing to talk about their journey, their stories create value and relevance for others. Identifying this person adds credibility, context and meaning through a human-face element. Real-life stories have influence on stakeholders, companies, media and other audiences.

Over the years, our team at GCI has listened to stories from numerous inspirational people, who’ve opened up about how their lives have been impacted by a health matter – meningitis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, cancer, etc. – about their lives before diagnosis, where they are now, their families, their aspirations and words of wisdom. These stories not only inspire but also motivate us to become better communicators through a better understanding of our audience— to tailor our communications to resonate with those affected.

What’s more powerful than an inspirational story we can learn from? At GCI, not only do we understand the impact of a story, we know how to listen to patients and work with them to capture and tell their experience in a way that will empower and motivate others to become their own health advocates.

The Ingredients for a Great Patient Story…

  • Delivers insights and provides a deep understanding of the patient’s journey
  • Is a personal testament that helps raise awareness and reaches a large audience
  • Includes anecdotes and quotes that paints the picture and connects with your audience
  • Offers relevant and inspirational advice to others who are currently experiencing or have experienced a similar journey
  • Includes photos to put a face to a name and illustrate life beyond the health story