We Are NOT All Patients

Who wants to be a patient?

Do you? Is that something to which you aspire?

How many times do you wake up and say “You know, I hope I become a patient today. The wait is killing me.”?

We’re just people. This is life, and life bring problems which – one way or another – become our problems.

Fortunately, we have people curious and passionate and smart enough to take stabs at solving those problems. They are given names, like doctor, nurse, biologist, advocate.

None of us wants to be a patient.

This language, this way of speaking, is a consequence of the industrial age – the time when things needed to be neatly categorized and packaged.┬áThe world of the neatly-packaged, squarely-folded, factory-made cracker with no salt is coming to its end.

Healthcare marketers would be wise to avoid questions like “What do patients want?”.

Who knows what they want? They could want anything.

I don’t know what they want. I don’t even know what I want as a patient because I don’t know what condition I might have at any given moment. My frame of mind and focus on my needs/wants depends on what happens.

I do know that we want empathy.

I do know that we want competence.

I do know that we want ethical conduct.

Fun too, if possible.

Healthcare marketers need to think in terms of problems and solutions. Forget “patient”. Ditch the term from your thinking – it’s practically meaningless, and will only lead to Powerpoint water-boarding in tortuous proposal meetings.

Feel free to use the term, just don’t let it get in the way of knowing the people behind the word.

Knowing demographics and doing bread-and-butter market research are well-advised activities.

Just keep the language reality-appropriate. (There’s a new phrase for you: reality-appropriate.)

A patient is someone who waits for nothing to happen.

You do know that’s why “patients” are called “patients”, right?

We are not all patients.

We are all people.

Communicate with people, not patients.

What are you waiting for?

@PhilBaumann – @HealthIsSocial – Newsletter


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