From being accurate and engaging to providing compassionate support, many elements are needed to ensure patient education is effective and drives action. But the true secret to success starts long before any words hit the page, and you fine-tune the messages and tactics.
The secret to excellent patient education starts with its process.
The key to consistently great patient education is more than the elements incorporated within the piece; the real differentiator is the journey you take to make it come to life.
Let's dive into four reasons a refined, continuously improving process is imperative to generate materials that motivate and activate patients to participate in their care.
There will always be newer, better, or more detailed information that patients need to know; patient education is never a one-and-done type of project. But, as time passes, things change—team members leave, goals adapt, strategies shift. The best way to stay successful is to have a process in place that yields consistently outstanding content.
Almost every business function has processes set up to drive consistency and order; brainstorming, writing, and designing patient education materials shouldn't differ.
Having a process not only shows that you've carefully thought through your approach to education, but it also helps you offer more focused thinking to each individual project.
A good patient education process will help ensure you and your team consider every element, and nothing is forgotten. It's helpful to include checkpoints and checklists to confirm you address all critical components before moving on to the next step. Use these to propel collaborative thought and feedback at various milestones of the process, as well as prevent re-work.
Moreover, it can be very challenging to contribute detailed thought to all the many aspects of the project if you are overwhelmed by its scale. A process can help break down a large project into smaller, more manageable tasks, enabling the team to fully think through each step.
Excellent patient education requires a highly specialized team of experts, from medical subject matter experts to writers and designers. It can be overwhelming to keep everyone organized and on track.
A defined process will help the project manager quickly assign roles and communicate tasks across the entire team. The team will understand their responsibilities and avoid duplication of work. Furthermore, the project manager can keep track of the team's progress and follow-through.
We highly suggest using a project management tool. It can be as simple as a templated Excel spreadsheet. However, the Dr. Joe Explains team uses project management software to help keep track of all the documents, simultaneous tasks, and team communications.
Practice & Improvement
Finally, one of the biggest reasons to document and utilize your process is to allow your team to practice. You take the guesswork out of the tasks, enabling the team to collectively improve their skills.
Beyond practice, it's essential to continuously evaluate and improve the process.
Is there a better way to work through the tasks? Could another team member accomplish this task more efficiently? Do we need more checkpoints to reduce re-work? Do any tasks need more precise instructions to prevent holdups or duplication of work?
A process allows you to approach progress systematically. You can more easily determine where issues arise or tasks that unnecessarily hold up the whole process.
Setting up a new process can be very overwhelming, especially if you don't have a full patient education development team at your disposal. Luckily for you, we are backed by a team of experts trained on our proven process that we've developed and evolved over the last 5+ years.
Our process is what separates our materials from other patient education publishers. We call it our secret sauce. If you're lucky, we just might share some of its ingredients to get you started.
Contact us and ask about our consulting services if you'd like help getting started or fine-tuning your content and process. We can also provide your organization with customized, premium patient materials.