Here at inVibe, we tend to obsess about the importance of storytelling, and we’re particularly passionate about making sure patient voices are heard.
As inVibe’s Director of Research Kathryn Ticknor noted in PharmaVOICE’s 2nd annual Patient Perspectives edition, “patient stories may be among the most powerful tools for fostering patient-centricity — as well as the most easily misunderstood. In a world where big data is king, we can be quick to dismiss storytelling under the label of ‘anecdotal evidence’ and ‘small sample sizes.’ Yet, as human beings, we are hardwired to respond to narratives at a deeper emotional level than we ever could to a series of numbers.”
And what exactly is behind that hardwiring? What makes stories so sticky?
The power of storytelling comes from its inherently interactional nature. In healthcare, this is in stark contrast to the transactional dynamics of the intake form, exam room, or satisfaction survey. Storytelling is rooted in a uniquely human format that encourages patients and caregivers who may not be fluent in “medicalese” to participate and share more fully and authentically than they otherwise might.
Stories also stick because our brain is built to learn by listening. Humans process emotional stimuli first and foremost through the auditory system. As a result, we react to the sound of emotion faster and more empathetically than we do to written text. Without these cues, the challenges of decoding and correctly understanding natural language multiply — as do the potential traps for brand decision-making. As researchers and marketers strive to be more patient-centric, it is vitally important to move beyond just hearing what someone says and to also consider how it is said. In many ways, listening becomes the “System 1” of emotional analytics — helping us to quickly understand a speaker’s intention, mood, and attitude at a deeply human level. By taking time to listen to patient stories, we move from “anecdotal evidence” to a framework for empathy and understanding.
Contact us to find out how inVibe can help you listen better.
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