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The importance of the human touch

by  Kirstie Turner

Our healthcare ecosystem is under threat from the diminishing time allowances our healthcare professionals (HCPs) have to spend with patients.

Brought on by increasing pressure to cut costs and meet higher quotas in an ageing and growing population, these measures are placing a burden of stress on the shoulders of our HCPs. We are now at risk of seeing the human touch disappear from healthcare.

We must find a way to empower HCPs to deliver supportive, compassionate care in an increasingly bureaucratic system.
Health is an immensely personal subject and the spectrum of emotions we experience when having our health threatened can be vast, from vulnerability to sadness and anger.

We never feel more delicately human than when we are struck down by illness or injury. What we need most at that time is compassionate care from another human being, a need that is juxtaposed against the diminishing human aspect of healthcare, as HCPs feel pressured to focus on the physical needs of patients in quick, efficient interactions.

HCPs are acutely aware of the roller coaster of emotions that patients experience. Even beyond that, it is why they do the job. But they are overworked and underpaid in an industry that’s underfunded and overused. While we don’t have a magic wand to make these challenges disappear, we can use the power of communication to remind HCPs of the difference they make to patients’ lives.

Communications professionals, as experts in building cohesive messages that weave many viewpoints into one narrative, are uniquely positioned to help HCPs see the world from their patients’ perspectives.

They should create communication that speaks to the audience’s hearts, rather than their minds, because humans are innately irrational beings: we choose the option that feels right, and then post-rationalise that decision with seemingly logical explanations.

Creating an emotional connection gives HCPs a sense of belonging, reminding them that they are part of something special: changing patients’ lives. By harnessing the power of imaginative communication to build a narrative around patient stories, we can inspire HCPs into action and help our healthcare system rediscover the importance of the human touch.

Kirstie Turner is Writer and Editor at Page & Page

In association with

2nd July 2021

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