Use Patient Communication Tactics That Work
April 3, 2017
Dear House Rules,
In our agency, we’re used to finding better ways to communicate with doctors – after all, they’re the ones who write the prescriptions. But our clients’ sales data tells us those prescriptions aren’t always being filled. How can we deploy patient communications that have real impact?
How can I improve my patient communications?
It used to be that patients did (and took) whatever their doctors told them to. No more! Nowadays, effective patient communications can make a measurable difference with far more educated patients that are nevertheless still not clinicians. As marketers, our job is to strike a balance between clearly explaining conditions, medications, and instructions and “talking down” to consumers who’ve often done a lot of research before seeing their doctors.
Mending Communication Fences
There are several points along the healthcare continuum where there are likely to be communication missteps. That’s why it’s important to anticipate what the patient might be thinking and provide clear guidance, via pertinent and relevant marketing materials, along the way.
At the doctor’s office – Clinicians just don’t have as much time to spend with each patient as they used to, which makes it more important than ever that the patient-facing marketing materials are thorough and on-point.
In the pharmacy – A pharmacist or other staff member may suggest, “Here, this video (or brochure, or website animation) shows you how to use this device…” Everyone learns differently, so healthcare marketers need to consider these differences as they develop their educational materials.
Using Simple Language and Analogies1
The patient needs to know “why” and “how” in terms they can understand. One way to handle this is to simplify.
“I don’t understand what I have,” the patient says. In this case, maybe the doctor can use an analogy, for example, likening a blood disease to dirty oil clogging up the pistons in a carburetor. Hopefully, the light bulb in the patient’s mind clicks on. This can all be accomplished through marketing materials geared to both clinicians and patients that utilize the same simple, powerful analogy.
Help Patients Understand
Doctor and pharmacy visits can be productive and effective, especially if a patient feels comfortable asking questions. In fact, healthcare providers at any interaction point can invite patients to list their top few health concerns. Often those questions come straight from pharma marketers’ websites and printed material at the pharmacies.1
Xavier Creative House has extensive experience in developing impactful patient communications, from single tactics to entire doctor’s-office-to-pharmacy strategies. We align these with your HCP communications for maximum impact. Contact us today to get the process started for your brand!
Reference: 1. https://www.pm360online.com/overcoming-healthcare-communication-deficits/. Accessed March 29, 2017.