Using Measurement to Illuminate Your Medical Storytelling Path

Stop right there! Stand up, close your eyes (and keep them closed), walk over to the break room, and pour that second cup of coffee you’ve been craving. Simple enough, right? You’ve likely completed this task dozens of times without fail, except this time you lack the visual cues and spatial awareness to make it to the break room successfully. You haven’t a clue what could be in your way until you trip, stumble, or fall right into it.

Now think about all of the details that go into crafting out a finely tuned and memorable medical story. The robust science, the creative design, the regulatory knowledge, and the flawless execution of the key messages. Where does measurement fit into the equation?

For some, measurement doesn’t fit at all. This rationale is often justified by tight budgets and limited appreciation of the value program assessments provide. Others will simply rely on program attendance or number of views, but how does that metric help you, really? How do counts or exposures help you determine if the audience learned or remembered anything?

If you value knowledge and strive for long-term program success, I suggest you take a more robust measurement approach. Ask yourself, “What is my goal? What do I hope to achieve with my medical storytelling strategy?” Carefully considered responses to these questions can help you formulate a measurement philosophy that is relevant and actionable. Whether your goal is to enhance awareness, expand knowledge, or change or influence behavior, a specific set of questions and measurement methods can be deployed to find answers.

It is important to translate those program objectives into a measurement approach that reveals actionable and relevant insights. You should carefully craft the questions and focus on the items that matter (not the chicken that was served but the content that was presented).  Determine the appropriate sequencing of the evaluation (preprogram vs postprogram) to see the impact that your content has made to both short-term and long-term learning. Finally, tabulate and segment the raw data to reveal critical insights which you might not notice by just looking at the bottom line numbers.

Results provided through measurement programs can enlighten your decision-making process. These data sets can be used to improve your content, quantify speaker performance, adjust your tactical mix, and even justify increases in program budgets. Relevant measurement programs allow you to make informed decisions that positively impact your long-term strategy.

So the next time you make a move for that second cup of coffee, take a few steps with your eyes closed (careful now, not too far), then open them up to witness the obstacles, challenges, and open paths that lie ahead. Properly designed measurement programs that align with your program objectives will help illuminate your journey and are the only way to know if your medical storytelling investment has met expectations and truly been successful.