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Quick Thoughts from ePatient Connections 2009, Day 1

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Our friends at KruResearch invited Think Brownstone to conduct 1:1 coaching sessions at the first ePatient Connections conference.

Blogs will be filled with recaps and Twitter is already teeming with comments hashtagged #ePatCon.

Rather than recap the day, I thought I would share a common theme I picked up from most of the presenters: The healthcare landscape is changing; listen to your patients and follow their lead. As we often note on our blog, listening to the user is the job of any experience designer.

Two memorable quotes from the day are good examples of how this message permeated the sessions:

We don’t blog because we have to, we blog because it helps us heal

-Kerri Morrone Sparling, Diabetes awareness advocate and blogger addressing her motivation to blog.

The users will tell you what’s relevant, it’s not about us

-Tricia Geoghegan, from Johnson and Johnson, when discussing how to determine what the best channel of communication is for your audience.

The questions asked during my Facebook 1:1 coaching sessions focused around, “How do I use Facebook to promote my (organization, product, service, non-profit…) My advice was twofold:

  1. If you’re not already active on Facebook, get on it and use it in earnest for at least a month. During that time period, learn how the space works: the jargon, the etiquette. Become a user.
  2. Don’t bother trying to force your audience to come to you. Every user group is different. Develop methods to identify where and how they communicate, but don’t be a stalker. The focus should not be on promoting, it should be about informing. Their voice is stronger in this landscape, when you’re providing value to your audience, they will listen.

I’ve known the folks at KruResearch for a while and even though this is their first big event, they get it. Probably because they have attended enough conferences that lacked focus or focused too much on star power and not enough on practical application.

Russ will be there today. Stop by his 1:1 coaching session if you’re around.

*images courtesy of the ePatient Connection Photostream

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