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Shared understanding is the foundation of patient-oriented work

How to develop a common frame of reference

Knowledge from the world of social science is a powerful companion for patient centricity as it can help us explore two important questions:

- What do our teams think about patient centricity?

- What do patients expect from interactions with us?

In our report, five ideas to enhance patient centricity, we look at how experiences frame beliefs, and what this means for stakeholder alignment.

Inspiration from social sciences

We learn to understand most things by interacting with our community. By talking to our peers and sharing experiences, we construct our own understanding of the world. The technical term is ‘social constructionism’.

To see social constructionism in practice, you only need to look at how quickly a post on Facebook can go from an isolated idea to a fully-blown and shared belief. People with similar values, experiences and interpretations of the world engage with the initial idea and reinforce it – creating an echo chamber – and one that doesn’t always align with the views of others.

What this means for patient centricity

If you are trying to encourage the business to think and work in a new way as relates to patient-oriented activity, then you need to surface and potentially reframe some of the assumptions that define the current view. Working with patients and internal stakeholders to challenge assumptions and create a better understanding is a great place to start.

Thinking about social constructionism can also help shape how we interact with patients. We need to appreciate different interpretations of a topic of interest and build towards a common ground. Actively listening and enabling discussion of differences is key.

Getting started

With this in mind, how can we start to discover the beliefs and experiences that shape how internal and external stakeholders make sense of the world? How do they talk about patient-oriented activity? Does this need to change and, if so, to what?

Our report provides tips and guidance on how to diagnose the current situation from both your internal and external stakeholders’ point of view. By following our suggestions, you will be able to fuel conversations about what good looks like and these conversations will start to develop a shared understanding between you and your stakeholders.

Each of the five ideas to enhance patient centricity in our report concludes with a solid action plan to help you turn theory into best (or better) practice. So, make sure the first step in your action plan is downloading the full report here

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