Healthcare is full of stories – it is after all the business of life and death.
But the kind of stories that you tell determine whether your organization stays relevant and engaging in the eyes of the audience you are trying to reach. No one for example cares about the chronological history of your hospital. Most people I know are looking for stories they can relate to – stories about other people like them.
Never underestimate the value of patient stories. For healthcare managers stories provide an opportunity to understand the needs of patients from something other than dry results of surveys and statistics.
A very good reason for listening to patient stories says Ian Kramer, an HIV-positive patient in the UK, is that “we see things that nobody else sees.” In his own digital story, “Another Pair of Eyes,” Ian describes how a nurse who regularly takes his blood wore gloves on only one occassion – when a senior nurse came in to observe the procedure as part of an infection control audit.
Patient stories also acknowledge the patient’s own area of expertise i.e. his or her own life and unique experience with an illness. If you want to provide ‘real value’ to patients then you will listen to their stories and discover that they care more about being treated with dignity and respect than they do about mortality rates, healthcare reform and policy.
When you work in social media or content marketing you have to get comfortable with the idea of telling stories. I think one of the best ways to start is by capturing stories shared by patients, carers, and workers and then creating a library of digital stories that can be viewed online.
Whether the story is posted on a blog, shared in a tweet chat or captured on YouTube, your audience will listen. And if the story resonates with them, they might just respond and tell you how much your brand means to them.
Over to you: What kind of healthcare stories are you telling? Are you using the language your audience wants to hear?