Why is storytelling important?
Storytelling is part of our make up as humans. Stories create connections as we seek to explain our world. The best stories tap into our emotions and simultaneously take us away to new places while also making us feel seen and at home. In recent years, storytelling has made its way into the business world; in fact, it has become so powerful that universities like Harvard and UC Berkeley are studying stories and their impact on human behavior. They’re learning that stories that evoke emotion tend to be more compelling and better remembered. What’s even more striking, is that when empathy specifically is evoked as part of a physiological response to a story, people are quicker to form relationships with strangers (ie: salespeople) even though this is against our evolutionary comforts as humans.
Storytelling in healthcare
Last week, I had the honor of presenting at the World Health & Wellness Congress & Awards in Mumbai, India. I spoke to a group of esteemed colleagues about how storytelling creates connection at the point of care. “Point of care” describes the space where patients and their healthcare professional are together. Think back to your last point of care experience. What was it like? What feelings did you have? How long did you have to wait to see your doctor? (In a study with Nielsen, wait times can vary from an average of 38 min in the waiting room to 36 min in the exam room, to about 3 hours for chemotherapy infusion rooms.) The point of care can be a very cold experience, making many patients feel unsupported and alone.
At Outcome Health, we’re dedicated to transforming the experience at the point of care. Our digital content and experience platform exists in more than 37,000 physicians offices where we contextualize content for the “moments of care™” of the patient experience. We work with nonprofits, health advocacy groups and sponsor/partners to curate content to connect with patients during vital moments of their health journey.
We understand that patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals find themselves navigating emotional, life-changing moments every day. It’s why the content we create has both emotional and rational appeal at those critical moments so that they’re remembered during the times when patients need it most.
How do you show empathy in healthcare?
In 2019, we conducted dozens of stakeholder interviews and commissioned a multi-phase study with IQVIA to better understand exactly what patients and providers need at the point of care. We learned that patients, caregivers, providers – the entire point of care ecosystem – want an empathetic experience. It seems obvious – empathy. But it’s more than putting ourselves in the shoes of patients; it’s actually turning to our own experiences – our own stories – to influence how we transform the point of care experience.
Because Outcome Health’s content platform exists in the rooms where life-changing moments happen, we needed to show that we are empathetic to and understand the patient experience because we are ALL patients and caregivers. Our solution was to capture the raw, authentic emotions and real experiences that happen within the rooms of point of care.
So we created In These Rooms.
In These Rooms is more than the creative output to a problem; it is a call to action to challenge the industry to rethink the content for the point of care channel and to create experiences that wrap patients with empathy, education and support at the ‘moments of care’ when they are most vulnerable and need it most. Watch In These Rooms here.
The wave of positive reactions we received from the industry demonstrated to us the power of storytelling and its ability to connect people. Rather than telling health advocacy groups, pharma brands, doctors, patients, etc that we are the point of care leader, we showed them that we are by tapping into our own experiences and personal moments.
Patient support at the point of care
As was done for In These Rooms, we are leveraging the fundamentals of storytelling for the content we create for our platform. We work with various content partners, advocacy groups, as well as creating our own content. Our content is strategic in that we have specific content categories that support the emotional and rational needs of patients. Some examples of these content topics include: Entertainment, Transportive, Condition Specific, and Healthy Living.
And we’ll continue to tell our own stories – because at the end of the day, we’re all patients and have connections to the healthcare journey.
Nandini Ramani is the Chief Operating Officer at Outcome Health and was recently awarded for her leadership and innovation in health and technology at the World Health & Wellness Congress and Awards in Mumbai.
Want to support patients during the most important moments of their health journey? Bring Outcome Health to your practice.