Authentic patient journeys can unlock new opportunities
to make an impact at healthcare events and beyond
At FIXING US, we see an authentic patient journey as a dynamic representation of a genuine patient's actual experiences; their health journey from their perspective. The journey might touch upon their emotions and their wider circumstances but also includes the interactions and perspectives of loved ones, caregivers and health system stakeholders.
We find this be the key difference between conventional retrospective talking heads patient journeys content - that tends to simply drive awareness. With enhanced relevance and resonance, these journeys provide effective inspiration to engage for patients, healthcare professionals (HCPs) and stakeholders and generate free or earned media and industry coverage.
One of the tools for helping authentic patient journeys to resonate especially well with specific stakeholders – whether they be doctors, nurses, specialists, policymakers or other healthcare workers - is to bring the journey to life in different forms that each adapt or cater for the perspective of that particular stakeholder.
This approach can be very powerful and its impact can be very notable at healthcare events. At these events, attendees are often bombarded with information that relies on putting the disease or science at the centre of communications or where patient journeys are expressed in the form of theoretical or idealized patient pathways that often fail to highlight emotional aspects of the journeys or often rely on a standard format for distribution or showcasing.
The dynamic approach can provide a mechanism for stakeholder engagement and a platform for advocacy that can flow through most arenas of the healthcare system. This can be achieved in a way that respects - and conforms to - regulatory and compliance frameworks. Within the arena of healthcare events, which involve the coming together of various stakeholders and perspectives, there is a tendency for presence to be elongated between pre-event promotional activities (both internal and external) and post-event activities over a prolonged period of time. In such cases, the rewards for the right approach can be transformative.
Looking At Things With Perspective
To help us gain some perspective, it is important to appreciate the spectrum of activities at healthcare events that are well-established and which can be very effective in helping to support engagement between stakeholders. These include a variety of activities including traditional booths or stands, stage presentations, educational sessions and workshops, panel discussions, interactive experiences, sponsorship and signage, networking events, promotional initiatives as well as a range of souvenirs and takeaway packs. But this also presents a challenge. How does one get above the clutter but in a meaningful way that is less about just getting noticed and more about achieving a higher level of engagement and outcomes for the right reasons (and in a way that will fuel the business and its commitment to enhancing healthcare in the right tone)? We found that authentic patient journeys can be integrated into those established activities and used to spawn new opportunities for diffusion that materially elevate the impact and engagement that brands and their workforces can achieve at events.
Unlocking New Opportunities That Make A Greater Impact
The beauty of the authentic patient journey is that it provides an opportunity for the patient journey to become a source of energy and momentum that drives engagement. And this can have a huge impact. Not only can the content from patient journeys be used at stands and via digital communications utilised by exhibitors, there are a number of other ways in which authentic patient journeys can be diffused to support an effective and impactful presence at and around events. These include having the protagonists from the journeys – including patients, caregivers and HCPs – appearing on stage for speeches or for panel discussions in addition to supporting activity at stands. The patient journey is a natural platform for advocacy and healthcare events can be particularly receptive and fertile ground for what they have to share.
This can be powerful. Without exception, surveys amongst attendees conducted following presentations by protagonists from our journeys receive the highest scores in post-event surveys relating to resonance and impact to these genuine and authentic participants in the patient journey. In an industry where even the most committed workforces have little proximity to patients and caregivers, working within frameworks and divisions of specialism that are distant from patients and front-line workers, it is understandable for them to be emboldened by first-hand accounts that go to the very heart of their work.
The authentic patient journey opens up different approaches that stand apart from others. For example, a few years ago, we introduced one particularly engaging format that involved a patient, their doctor and a healthcare brand representative sitting together on a panel where they were able to interact and discuss the impact that each has upon the other. This of course leads to new original and shareable content relating to this exchange which in turn was shared extensively via digital and social channels and which, in due course, led to other opportunities for advocacy in collaboration with the brand and HCPs for both internal and external events as well as free or earned industry media and mass media coverage.
Authentic patient journeys also present an opportunity for charities and patient groups to be integrated via recruitment, participation, association and distribution. This can often lead to organic presence at their events and membership initiatives, especially when it involves an opportunity for advocacy. This not only fuels stakeholder-engagement but also prolongs the shelf-life of content beyond the initial events or campaign that they are often devised for. So instead of just creating a conventional patient journey for featuring at a stand and supporting digital communications, the authentic patient journey can create greater opportunities to make an impact at events, including:
An effective platform for advocacy at multiple events (each of which spawns new original and shareable content);
More opportunities for diffusion of content relating to those journeys in partnership with a brand at external and internal events;
Much greater shelf-life of content and ancillary coverage; - Activations for new partnerships with charities and patient groups; and
The likely scope for free or earned industry and consumer media coverage to support awareness and educational campaigns.
FIXING US is committed to helping organisations to create the most powerful and effective patient journeys and patient-centric content, ensuring that they get the most out of their events and other forms of communications. If you wish to learn more about any of this or if you are as passionate about this as we are, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.