Health education is a transformative tool for helping patients and healthcare professionals communicate more effectively.
As consumers navigate health information today, they are often overwhelmed, facing misinformation and seeking clarity and guidance in their health journeys. Meanwhile, healthcare professionals (HCPs) face their own challenges in figuring out how to connect and effectively communicate with patients — they are overworked and often unfamiliar with what resonates with patients outside of the standard doctor’s visit.
Education can bridge the gap, guiding patients toward healthy action while providing HCPs with tools to support patient needs.
Education Reaches Both Consumers and HCPs
Consumers and HCPs don’t exist in silos. Consumers absorb messaging and information long before they visit an HCP, and HCPs regularly read about health, often in the same ecosystems as their consumers.
Education is empowering and transformative. It goes beyond the top-down idea of information. Content from a publisher, a clinician perspective, a marketing message from a brand or pharma — all are part of health education, an ongoing process of engagement and learning. The consistency of these messages along the continuum of the care journey is the health education that brings together consumers and HCPs.
Health Education Has the Power to Change Behavior
Education is the most modifiable determinant of health. Education in diagnosis, treatment, and care navigation impacts adherence, self-management, and overall health outcomes. Clinicians are increasingly seeking education to understand patients’ needs and behaviors. Content that brings the patient and HCP closer in dialogue can help to decrease health misinformation and improve the overall experience.
Health education at the right time can alter the course of a person’s health journey for the better. It takes time and should involve the collective healthcare community. Because of the power of education, the industry is responsible for providing trustworthy, accessible, and patient-focused resources.
“Health education at the right time can alter the course of a person’s health journey for the better. It takes time and should involve the collective healthcare community.”
1. Ensure credibility
Counter misinformation for consumers and help answer their questions with reliable, evidence-based information and support. Give them a factual foundation for further discussing health questions with their HCPs.
HCPs can offer their expertise to ensure trustworthy information, as Healthline’s Medical Affairs Team demonstrates. This network of 150+ medical professionals goes beyond baseline standards to vet content, ensuring everything we do is medically backed and up to date.
In return, consistent and accurate messaging about health conditions helps HCPs, equipping patients for more productive conversations before they enter a doctor’s office.
2. Make complex topics accessible
Education can make complex medical information accessible, translating jargon into everyday language for consumers to easily understand.
More understandable health information empowers patients to manage their health better and equips them to have open and honest conversations with HCPs in language that works for them. At the same time, HCPs gain insight into consumer perspectives and are prepared to discuss health concerns more effectively with patients, hitting the right tone and health literacy level.
3. Keep the consumer at the center
Health education succeeds for the consumer when it considers their needs, whether in terms of their barriers to health, identities, or preferences for learning formats.
At the same time, HCPs can keep up with the latest health news and learn about consumer trends and preferences, gaining a broader context for understanding who their patients are and what they need. With education, they are empowered to understand their patients and keep their perspectives in mind.
Education Is an Opportunity for the Industry to Empower Healthy Action
For health brands and marketers, it’s possible to support both consumers and HCPs by building a more effective education journey. The results can be profound.
For consumers, health education is how they gain confidence in what they know and what their next healthy action should be.
For HCPs, health education can reinforce how to explain health topics in language their patients understand, so that they can ultimately build trust with them and further guide them toward healthy actions.
Health expertise isn’t just for academic or clinical spheres — it should form the foundation of quality health education. For the healthcare industry, this means bringing authoritative health expertise into the full spectrum of health education whenever possible, while meeting consumers and HCPs in ways that work for them. This rigorous yet relatable approach to health education can amplify the impact for better health outcomes.
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