The Office Visit is Not a Drive By

 In Digital Tonto’s post ‘4 New Marketing Paradigms’ Greg’s second paradigm is titled ‘From Campaigns to Platforms’. His premise is that marketers can no longer just run ads till they wear out; they need to build campaigns that integrate social media, e-commerce, and interaction with the reader/viewer. Marketers are now ‘tailoring the message to past behavior’. I am very found of his closing sentence ‘Brands need to become authors whose stories unfold over time.’ The brand becomes the connection to reader/viewer not just a feature or benefit. 

How does this relate to healthcare? The physician is the brand. The patient is the consumer of that brand. The office visit for a check-up or care for an acute or chronic condition is the ad/commercial. It is where the consumer (patient) interacts with the brand (physician). And historically it is a flat moment where the patient is passive and the physician active. With all the changes occurring in healthcare etc. more patients are becoming active in their health and care. Many physicians are stepping up to meet that half way. But that is not enough and it misses key inflection points. Engagement between physician and patient is becoming the new black and it is up to the physician to lead the way. To in a sense create that learning narrative with the patient.

The physician as a brand should look at that visit not as a one time event in a string of events. It is a way to build a brand platform based on patient needs and goals. It is the moment where the physician can determine not just blood pressure but pressure points for knowledge uptake and begin that healthcare narrative. What are the problems/goals/needs the patient wants? How can the physician become the author of a patient narrative? Does the patient leave with an Rx? Or do they leave with a continuum of care based on integration into the brand platform? ‘My physician is a great doctor but he is also doing more then caring for me, he hears me.’ 

Yes, yes I know, not all patients want to be part of a platform or need to be. The 20 year old patient in excellent health who comes in for a check up is not looking to solve a healthcare problem. And frankly many older patients with chronic HTN are not interested either. What exists is the opportunity to for HCP to take the pulse of each patients’ needs and goals regarding their health and learning styles and to change the office visit from a drive by to an engagement for life. Why can’t patients move from grade school to graduate school in their relationship with their physician over time? Physicians need life long learning. So do patients. I’m getting all misty here 

 And yes dear readers (all three) you re correct, how does a busy HCP achieve this? Stick with me and it shall be shown.

1 thought on “The Office Visit is Not a Drive By”

  1. Mark,

    Great stuff, all of this, and plenty of food for thought, but I would add a few more practical considerations which are (probably?) at play in most cases. First, the fact that one does not normally search for information or help without a problem presenting itself – either for yourself, or for a loved one – so introduce an element of urgency and anxiety to any medical situation. This condition can well impact the amount/level to which one will absorb information. Second, there is no general sense that 'gathering knowledge' is good for you – i.e., I would never peruse a website on fybromyalgia 'just because', but only if I had a reason to, so there is no general sense that we should all have some basic sense of – well, I don't know – anatomy?, biology?, diseases?, health related statistics/demographics?, family medical history? Maybe starting there would be a good move. Like the general concepts behind learning about nutrition, exercise, etc. Add to this the layer of the abstruse medical SYSTEM, and well, you've got a recipe for disaster. Through sheer luck, I had never had any dealings at all with the medical establishment until my 93 y.o. mother had her first medical emergency. It was not that serious, and had a happy outcome, but when I think back about all the mistakes we made, or never even knew about at the time, the mind boggles. I also think, frequently, of my critically ill dear friend Eleanor, who had myriad medical problems, but as a single woman, was left to fight and to find her way through the medical jungle on her own, feeling like s(*t, often from a hospital bed. She died four days after her 65th birthday, completely worn out from the slog of it all. Perhaps this is all pretty mundane, but it needs to be factored into the equation, I'm quite sure. God bless you all for even thinking about it…….

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