Do you remember the first-ever lesson you received in your life? For most, this was done through one of the oldest forms of passing on information to the next generation: Stories. Our entire lives are full of stories. The movies we watch, the books we read, the little incidents from our own lives or the big news we read about in the newspapers – all stories told in different forms.
Storytelling, if done right, can help engage the audience, incite their emotions and arouse curiosity. But most importantly stories help us understand each other and create a connection.
For the Patients
Sure, lab results and charts can give some information about the patient’s ailments but listening to their story can give a doctor a bigger picture. For example, if a patient walks in with a broken arm, the x-ray will only tell you where the arm is broken and how severe it is. But by listening to how they broke the arm through a bike accident, the doctor can further check the patient for internal bleeding in other areas or concussions the patient might not be aware of.
On the flip side, hearing about others who have gone through a similar experience can help patients understand their own situation better. Stories have a transformative power. They help us understand the world around us. This is the reason support groups and therapy are as effective as they are. Hearing another patient’s stories can bring their own situation into focus. It can help them take that final plunge towards treatment. Not only that, but storytelling can also help directly improve physical condition. According to studies, storytelling has also helped patients improve blood pressure related problems and hypertension.
For the Medical Professionals
Storytelling is a powerful tool. Not just for the patients. The daily lives of medical professionals can be and are often compared to that of a battlefield. Making choices that can have long term effects on another person’s life or even cause their deaths isn’t easy. Do it daily and you are bound to strain your psyche.
People working in health care need to need an outlet. Storytelling can provide this outlet for some, as it did for Danielle Ofri when he faced a challenging situation while writing down what could have been a patient’s last words. Simply talking about a patient who died on your table to your friends or colleagues can help ease your mind. At times, just hearing a success story can help you remember why you are doing it all in the first place.
Marketing for the Hospital
Let us roll back a bit to the part where storytelling can help engage an audience, incite their emotions and arouse curiosity. Advertising in health care is no longer as easy as putting up a TVC about your hospital’s facilities or PSAs. Instead of telling your patients “it’s important to get an eye check-up every year” tell them how one of your patients discovered a curable disease on time when they came in for a regular check-up.
Online is the way forward, and storytelling is the best way to grab attention. A good story can always create more buzz around your brand and as mentioned earlier, create a “connection”. Feeling a connect can help build loyalty and trust.
Blogging can be a very reliable platform for telling your stories. A Pricewaterhouse Cooper survey showed that patients said the most trusted healthcare resources online are those posted by physicians and doctors (60%), followed by nurses (56%), and hospitals (55%). Sharing patient testimonials is also one of the most effective ways to create trust around your brand.
Storytelling is a powerful tool. If used correctly, it can help patients, medical professionals, and hospitals in many ways.