How to get the message across

Monday, 3 August 2015

Alison Lightbourne, IAPO Policy Manager, shares about how to get the message across and the importance of communicating clearly.


Attending events like the HTAi Annual Meeting in Oslo last month provides an opportunity not only to advocate with national authorities on what really matters to patients and how our needs and preferences should be considered, it also enables patient groups to meet and share experiences and resources.

Whilst presenting on behalf of IAPO, I highlighted the need for organizations to consider who they are aiming to reach in their communication, and to use new technologies, social media and multiple communication methods to have the best chance of effective communication and understanding – not just transmitting information.

I was then so pleased to meet people who showed good examples that communicate a clear and forthright message about patient involvement and the patient experience.  We all need to do what we can to improve how we communicate. It’s not only doctors, scientists, policy makers and payers (those who pay for the service) who need to improve!

infographic exampleExamples of good communication

Animated presentations are one way to communicate both verbally and visually to a broad audience in remote locations. After speaking about the importance of patient involvement in research right from the very start and at every stage, a conference attendee, Dr Anke-Peggy Holtorf, pointed me to this animation (top right) she’s created on patient engagement in research (French, German, Spanish and Italian language versions are in the pipeline).

In another example, Deb Maskens from Kidney Cancer Canada and the International Kidney Cancer Coalition showed me this infographic from a coalition of charities working for equitable access to cancer treatment across Canada. By visualising the patient experience of accessing medication in two different ways, the coalition is able to show clinicians, policy makers and funders just how complex healthcare systems can be to navigate. The campaign includes sharp and succinct headlines, videos, infographics, social media and strong individuals and groups working together.

Share your examples with us

If you’ve had great results communicating with policy-makers, payers, health services and authorities, do get in touch so we can share your experience and tools – patients, stronger, together!