Tell a Good Story: The Universal Patient Experience Gateway

idea bulbAchieving a “positive patient experience” in healthcare delivery is the product of many things. No matter how you choose to define it, the whole will be greater than the sum of a thousand tangible and intangible experiential components.

It may seem like a daunting challenge to control, channel and quantify these constantly moving parts, but the most common of common denominators is person to person communications. And, fortunately, early every stop on the healthcare delivery spectrum is a natural stage for using storytelling.

If there is one universal gateway to creating a positive patient experience, it is to tell a good story.

Benefits of storytelling…

The human brain is hardwired to interpret the world around us in the context of stories…so much so that we do it automatically. We tend to skim past the process and thus fail to appreciate the impact and benefits of storytelling and its power to engage others and enhance the patient experience.

Storytelling or stories…

  • Makes an emotional connection; creating an idea-bridge between minds of presenter and listener;
  • Evokes feelings that make information interesting and memorable;
  • Creates empathy, openness and shapes understanding;
  • Engages patients, opening the door to enduring relationships;
  • Combines imagery, feelings, context and motivation;
  • Interprets the usefulness of information;
  • Is persuasive and influential;
  • Facilitates candid dialog between patient and physician;
  • Equips listeners to become connected re-tellers;
  • Humanizes sterile facts, dry stats and cold instructions.

The fact is, people—everyone; patients included—naturally relate to, and more readily understand, knowledge that’s wrapped in stories. New and old ideas evoke empathy and understanding in the context of a story. It may be the single most versatile and effective communications tool available to doctors, staff members, technicians, administrators and healthcare marketing professionals.

“People don’t want more information. They are up to their eyeballs in information,” writes author and storytelling expert Annette Simmons. “They want faith—faith in you, your goals, your success, in the story you tell.”

For more about using the power of storytelling as an effective patient experience communications tool, see these previous posts:

Lonnie Hirsch


About Lonnie Hirsch

Co-Founder of Healthcare Success Strategies, Lonnie has consulted for over 2,000 health care clients during his 20-year career. Lonnie writes for many healthcare publications, and also has spoken at hundreds of venues nationally. His topics include patient experience, customer service, marketing, branding and business development.

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