Bought Not Sold

There is a fine line between making patients health literate so they can make choices and selling them something. But, there is really little need to step over that line since, when given the options, most patients make the right decisions.

There is a saying about real estate that it is bought not sold and that you make money when you buy, not when you sell. If a prospective buyer does not feel the love or smell the freshly baked cookies at the showing, no amount of curb appeal, per-square-foot price analysis, or staging will usually change their minds. The same holds true for patients.

All entrepreneurs are faced with the challenge of converting prospects to leads to customers. Doctors are not different. Some have to get patients to buy into being compliant with their medicines. Others have to present enough information to enable patients to make informed decisions about having elective surgery or participating in a clinical trial. Yet others have to make a convincing argument that no further therapy is warranted.

There is a fine line between making patients health literate so they can make choices and selling them something. But, there is really little need to step over that line since, when given the options, most patients make the right decisions. In fact, those that feel pressured or coerced usually are unhappy.

That said, the ways and means we use to educate patients and make them more health literate could us a lot of work and creativity. Now that we have the technologies and interfaces to use impactful media, there is no limit to our potential success and moving the needle from the present 13% patient health literacy rate.

When we put virtual reality, adult learning theory, gamification, mobile technologies, behavioral economics, and behavior modification theory together, the potential is big. One of the ways to move Sick Care to Healthcare is to give patients what they need to feel comfortable about the buying decision. Even a stack of your best chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen won't get us there.