Introducing: Healthcare Idea Email from Hammock | Like Hammock Inc.’s popular Idea Email, the new Healthcare Idea Email briefly explores one topic, every other week. Learn more about the new Healthcare Idea Email at the bottom of the page.

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Idea: Personal Training: The Model for True Patient Engagement

By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

My wife and I were having dinner with two friends recently, one of whom is a personal fitness trainer, and the other one a consultant who helps healthcare systems with high-level strategic issues, including marketing and communications.

As we discussed what we do during the day, a conversation emerged about the challenge of effectively engaging strangers in a conversation many people would prefer not to have: how to get and stay healthy.

As our healthcare system transforms and financial risk is shifted from payors to providers and from employers to individuals, the need for conversation about how to stay healthy increases. But the willingness to engage in that conversation isn’t necessarily any greater.

As the consultant and I spitballed future patient engagement scenarios, he suddenly realized that the real solution was sitting next to him—in the form of the relationship between trainer and client. The future of patient engagement will more likely resemble this two-way relationship than a one-way communications channel that doesn’t move the conversation along. It can be so challenging to make changes to long-held health habits. It’s often more productive to have someone there to coach us along the way. Media that is created to start and continue conversations is media that resembles the relationship between trainer and client.

A good personal trainer is exactly what people seek to help them address their fitness and nutrition goals—an accountability partner who has knowledge of their capabilities and weaknesses, and who can provide gentle coaching. A level of trust emerges in a trainer-client relationship that begins to create conversation around the very things that cause a client to seek that engagement. Once sufficiently engaged, conversation around health flows naturally.

The essence of that human relationship, coupled with mobile tools and connected to data collection, is where we see provider-patient engagement in the future. We can all imagine the tools and the technology, but it’s the trusted human interactions that are key.

Is your vision of patient engagement about creating content or collecting data? If it’s not about creating real conversations, you are missing the essence of the patient engagement challenge.






Photo: Thinkstock

About the new Healthcare Idea Email |
As our popular Idea Email has a large number of healthcare marketers who subscribe, it did not surprise us that the No. 1 request we’ve received is to “offer more ideas about healthcare.” So we have. In addition to Idea Email, on other weeks you can receive the Healthcare Idea Email that is focused exclusively on healthcare-related marketing, media and content trends and topics. You can visit the Healthcare Idea Email archive and subscribe for your own copy here.