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David McIntyre (not his real name) is a forty-five year-old father of two. His daughter, Megan, is eight years old and looks just like a mini version of his wife of ten years, Suzanne. His son, Pauly, is six years old and loves to dance, especially at outdoor concerts on the town green. Suzanne is an acupuncturist. David was a human resources recruiter, that is, until May 2017, when he was diagnosed with ALS at the age of forty-three.

Now I have your attention.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease after the famed baseball player who contracted the disease in 1939, is a death sentence. In recent years, the Ice-bucket Challenge has brought increasing attention to this progressive, degenerative, debilitating disease, but still there are few drugs to even combat symptoms, never mind provide a cure.

In a nutshell, ALS is a group of neurological diseases that cause patients to lose control of their voluntary muscles. Simple things like chewing, walking, talking, and eventually breathing become impossible. Most patients with ALS succumb to the disease within three to five years due to respiratory failure.

I personally can almost not imagine anything worse. And I bet you can’t either.

Making Training Personal Makes It Memorable

We remember things that are personal. We not only remember them, but we feel them and internalize them, which ultimately enhances learning retention. There is nothing like a personal story about a patient’s journey to help sales reps better understand how their drugs can help on a deeper level.

Let’s look at David’s patient journey over the course of a few months. (See David’s Patient Journey below.) It covers not just the physical impact of ALS, but the emotional and financial impact for both David and his loved ones. If you were conducting training using a patient journey such as David’s, you might bring it to life further by incorporating narration and/or video that involves the different HCPs, caregivers, and other stakeholders such as family or friends. And you don’t need to incorporate the actual people in these roles. For training purposes, they could be represented by actors or voice talent. By bringing the patient journey to life, your sales team can walk in their shoes and see things through the patient’s perspective. This allows them to have more relevant and meaningful conversations with their HCP customers.

Place the patient journey in the center of your next training program. From evaluation and diagnosis to treatment and ongoing management, by understanding the paths a patient and their caregivers travel, your sales team can better relate the impact of your products to your customers. Moreover, this leads to more meaningful interactions with the people who matter most…the HCPs and the patients they care for.

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