Last updateTue, 04 Aug 2020 6pm

How to Leverage Storytelling to Create Powerful Patient Communications

Storytelling is an ancient art form that can instantly call to mind an intriguing cast of characters who draw us into their world through triumph or despair, and take us on a wonderful journey of discovery. So it's no wonder that storytelling is making a huge comeback in the business world today, particularly in the growing area of medicine and patient communications. Medical professionals looking to deliver the best possible patient experience, which in turn impacts loyalty and the bottom line, will glean some interesting insight from the following, time-tested tips.

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Freedom to Imagine

At a senior center in Seattle, 15 elderly people sit in a circle while a moderator leads the session based on an innovative program called TimeSlips. Utilizing the tagline: let your imagination soar, TimeSlips aims to open up storytelling by releasing the pressure to remember and replacing it with the freedom to imagine. For aging patients with dementia, this type of therapy is extremely helpful. People with memory loss no longer have to remember people, places or things, because they're able to make up a story instead.

The Fine Art of Listening

Probably one of the most challenging aspects of patient care is a result of the sheer volume of patients a doctor sees on a daily basis. It's not always feasible for a doctor to spend the amount of quality time necessary to really get to know a patient; the emotional side of what they are feeling, their personality, and how those things could impact the information they offer up.

Many practices have found success using patient personas, which group patients with similar health needs, behavioral patters, attitudes, and lifestyles choices. Personas are essentially mini stories of a typical patient with labels like "Expectant Emily" or "Chronic Pain Sufferer Sarah," and an accompanying fictitious photo along with key insights written in story form. This type of tool helps everyone in the office get inside the heads of patients, from front office administrators to nurses in the back.

Testimonials as a Tool

People naturally relate to stories told by other people, particularly if it's something they are personally experiencing. So testimonials can be a great business-building tool as long as they are gathered and published within the specific guidelines related to your particular area of medicine. Consider how to bring these stories alive within your office environment. One idea is to use dynamic digital signage, which provides an interactive way to deliver high-quality sound and moving pictures to a captive audience eager to listen.

The Short Story

Office signs are great little helpers when you want to tell bite-sized pieces of your story. An orthopedic doctor for example might have the name of the practice on a sign with a short statement describing the key benefit to patients, such as "keeping people in motion since 1995."

Take these kinds of opportunities to reinforce your reputation, stress your quality of care and reiterate your commitment to patients. It will pay off in the long run.



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