• Susan Cuozzo

The Importance of Working With Patient Advocates

Updated: Oct 5, 2019

It is an incredible experience working with patient advocates. They are brave, inspiring, and committed to helping other people. We often partner with patient advocates when we are trying to reach patients so that they realize they are not alone and they can learn from someone they find relatable. In promotional medical education, our target audience is typically health care providers (HCPs), which may include primary care physicians, specialists, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, and nutritionists, to help advance the care of patients. Patient advocates are essential in communicating important facts to HCPs. For example, there may be a lack of urgency around certain issues or a disconnect about what really happens throughout the patient journey for someone with a specific disease. In many cases, the work we do with patient advocates is appropriate for patient and HCP audiences and can be repurposed accordingly. We all learn a lot by listening to the experiences of patient advocates who selflessly share personal information to make things better for the next patient.

When we worked on a patient video last year, we thought it would be straight forward finding a patient advocate to work with since there are resources like nonprofit organization websites and social media pages dedicated to specific diseases or conditions. However, we found it challenging to find a patient who wanted to share their story and had the skillset to communicate onscreen. So, we asked a trusted opinion leader and advisor if he had any recommendations and he put us in touch with the perfect candidate. She is a seasoned patient advocate who routinely speaks publicly and has been passionate about educating newly diagnosed patients about other ways to go about their treatment for decades.

We began by interviewing her and translated what we learned about her experiences into a script. We wanted to ensure a logical flow to her onscreen discussion and make sure the real gaps in knowledge amongst our audiences were thoroughly addressed. She then approved the script and we scheduled the shoot. Afterwards, we worked on editing the footage since most viewers, especially HCPs, will only watch a video that is brief. We think the “sweet spot” is a duration of about 5 minutes. The final version was placed on our client’s website and was also available for viewing on other digital channels. Ultimately, this patient advocate articulated her journey beautifully on-screen. She inspired HCPs and patients to rethink important decisions following diagnosis for better long-term outcomes.


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