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11 Smiles That Save Lives

Making happier, healthier patients

The link between happiness and health is well documented. More accurately referred to as subjective wellbeing (SWB) , it’s been demonstrated that a positive outlook is not only the result of good health, but the cause of it. According to studies, SWB can have a significant impact on a broad spectrum of health issues: improved cardiovascular, immune and endocrine systems; lowered risk of heart disease and stroke; increased speed of recovery; improved cancer outcomes; reduced inflammations; better adoption of healthy behaviours; and even increased longevity (see study below).

Even given the briefest consideration the connection seems perfectly logical. What makes less sense, is that this potential positive outcomes catalyst isn’t better utilised within the healthcare industry. The focus is always on ‘getting patients better’, but do we give their happiness the consideration it deserves? Should treatment suppliers take greater responsibility for patients’ overall emotional wellbeing?

In the modern era of healthcare, pharmaceutical companies no longer simply sell drugs or treatments. They supply outcomes, a fact that is increasingly dictated by the value-based purchasing models of healthcare providers around the world. Thus, if a patient’s SWB is the key to unlocking improved outcomes, then it’s also vital to the success of a treatment brand.

More than just a commercial obligation, for the healthcare communications sector this represents a fantastic opportunity. It’s a chance to utilise the talent within the industry, to offer a point of difference, and to transform lives. The ability to elicit emotional responses from people is one of the core crafts of good communications, as ads such as Evian’s ‘Roller babies’ demonstrate. The film’s wit and imagination so charmed its viewers that it broke the Guinness World Record for the mostwatched viral film ever, delivering a 7% bump in sales and a 13% improvement in market share in the process. The needs in healthcare might be more complicated and diverse, but significant work doesn’t always have to be serious. Throughout this paper there are examples of interventions that have dramatically improved health by introducing joy and pleasure into peoples’ lives; from a physiotherapy tool that has boosted efficacy by turning exercises into exciting game play, to a care home that has reduced prescriptions and mortalities by surrounding residents with plants and animals. If we’re to meet the greater wellbeing needs of patients then what we offer them must be imbued with vitality.

Downloads

  Smiles That Save Lives
PDF File: 280.8 KB

15th December 2015

Downloads

  Smiles That Save Lives
PDF File: 280.8 KB

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