Teachable Moments

In the world of communications, there is a lot of information out there.  And, it continues to grow.  Consumers are overwhelmed today…and that’s not going to stop.

I have been talking a lot lately with people on how to find the “teachable moments”.  If you are communicating with someone and want them to take action around their healthcare – continue to fill a medication, use the 24/7 nurse line, move to a generic drug, you have to catch them when they are willing to take action.

This is completely different from the parallel conversation around behavioral economics and how to figure out what information will motivate them to act.

Here, the question is when are they willing to be “taught” or “influenced”.  For example, if I tell you that Lipitor is not on formulary but you don’t take Lipitor, you probably don’t care.  Six months later when you get diagnosed with high cholesterol and your MD writes a prescription for Lipitor, you won’t remember.  

We have to identify when people are open to new information and time things to communicate with them at that point.  

Do you understand how your patients / members receive information?  Do you understand their lifecycle of interactions with you?  Do you understand how and when they take action?  I always like to use the “outside-in” framework for analyzing and problem solving things from the patient point-of-view.  

HINT: Stop thinking like a person who works in healthcare.  You will not solve this problem using yourself as an example of “normal”.

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