Cleveland, OH. – Informed consent in healthcare is easily understood, right? You are in the exam room with the doctor for, maybe, 10 minutes, and you fully understand everything there is to know about your condition and your treatment plan, right?
For example, when a doctor explains how strong the end points were in phase 2 and phase 3 of the clinical trials for the potentially fatal chemotherapy she or he is about to prescribe, you’re 100% comfortable to move forward? Me neither.
Dr. Mikkael Sekeres and Dr. Timothy Gilligan, both with the Cleveland Clinic, recently wrote an article in the New York Times with an emphasis around how uninformed patients really are. To summarize: patients should be asking more questions than ever.
However it takes two to tango. When patients don’t engage, what’s a doctor to do? Answer: have you sign the consent form and move on. In the article, they layout several requests:
• Ask us (doctors) to use common words and terms
• Summarize back what you heard
• Request written materials, or even pictures or videos
• Ask for best-case, worst-case, and most likely scenarios
• Ask if you can talk to someone who has undergone the surgery/treatment
• Explore alternative treatment options
• Take notes
Why This Matters:
Health literacy is back in the spotlight and a trend we’re closely following in 2017 called: Still Don’t Get It. We’re looking for a drive for simplicity in communications and a groundswell of conversation about how to decode healthcare for the people who need the knowledge the most.
While this trend is mainly patient based, we, as marketers, can do a ton to help influence clearer communications. Simple messaging in places patients and their circles of social centricity look for and push content. While those of use in pharmaceutical marketing are, of course, in a heavily regulated space, we can still push the boundaries of what falls within the guardrails.