The voice of the patient – we don’t hear it nearly enough. That may sound strange but it is the truth. Healthcare marketers need to open themselves up to patient stories and patient experiences. This is a huge shortcoming in the current healthcare marketing paradigm. Simply put, we don’t spend a lot of time listening to our most important constituents – patients. That two-way communication has not yet become a reality for most of us. Many patient advocates would argue that this is a challenge for all of healthcare, not just the marketers. Whatever the case, when I find an opportunity to share patient stories, I do it. This is yet another example.
As I’ve stated in the past, I am a big fan of Stanford Medicine’s SCOPE blog, and its ongoing series that features stories from patients affected by serious and often rare diseases. Stanford has partnered with Inspire to launch this series. If you aren’t familiar with Inspire, they build and manage online support communities for patients and caregivers. Go to Inspire.com to learn more about them. They are doing great work. (By the way, I have no affiliation with them.)
The latest post in the patient series is written by Dan Adams, a bladder cancer survivor. Dan lives along the Southern New Jersey Shore where he and his wife of 35 years raised three children and recently became grandparents for the first time. Dan is committed to raising awareness of bladder cancer and supporting those who are newly diagnosed through the Inspire/BCAN Support Community.
Dan shares his story which involved battling both anxiety and cancer. Here’s an excerpt from his post on the SCOPE blog:
“During the first couple of years in this war with bladder cancer, anxiety consumed my everyday living. Cancer was always on my mind, but I was unaware that anxiety was running my life. It took a long time, but eventually I learned to recognize changes due to anxiety, things that aren’t really “me.” Inattention to details, aimlessly daydreaming and becoming much more emotional were some of the telltale signs. I realized things weren’t right and I sought the professional help I needed. Thankfully, this help and the encouragement and support of a close family brought me through a very trying period.” (Source: Stonford Medicine’s Scope Blog, The road to diagnosis: How to be insistent, persistent and consistent, February 14, 2013.)
If you’d like to read the rest of Dan’s story and perhaps read other patient stories from the series, click here.
To read and/or download Inspire’s report, Experts by Experience, that includes a compilation of patient blog posts, click here. (http://www.inspire.com/static/inspire/reports/inspire-stanford-experts-by-experience-report.pdf)