It starts innocently enough. A group wants to do something to improve things for healthcare.
“But, how do we do it? How do we do patient engagement? How do we make the team work for this?”
I get this question all the time – clinics, communities, charities, project teams – they’ve all asked. It usually follows with a whispered note of, “people think we have this figured out, but we don’t, and I have to fix it ASAP.”
The thing is, connecting with patients (or any group related to your work) is easier than most folks make it and, most over complicate it and fail by over architecting the process.
If your goal is to invite patients to the event you are hosting later on or send something to a patient group to review after it is crafted and passed by some governance structure, you aren’t including stakeholders, you are checking in with them. That’s not going to work and give you the success you need for your engagement. Worse? Some groups have been bringing along patients to include them for “checking the box” on a grant or project design effort and then they make movement to exclude them from planning, implementation, or ideation once things get going.
And patients? If you have a group working on a project and you are not including clinicians or plan to check in with them at the end of things, that also won’t work.
Folks, don’t be this kind of group.
To truly influence a whole system, whatever you are working on, you need to bring together representatives from all of the stakeholders involved in influencing the variable you are trying to move. Then? Bring them in at the earliest discussions and connect with them often to check your process.
You need to hear from all of these voices as equal stakeholders, balanced voices with buy-in, ownership, and responsibility for the end goals and outcomes. They are potential ambassadors for your effort and the stories of patient impact and influence when included properly are exponential.
Remember, the most valuable insights and creativity often come from outside the chorus of voices you typically encounter.
Be this group!