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The Postwire Blog

What do Patient/Doctor and Buyer/Salesperson have in Common?

Posted by Cliff Pollan on 08, Jul, 2014 postwire-blog-image


Today,  we are featured in the New York Times for the use of Postwire in Healthcare.

Dr. Peggy Kriss ( is highlighted as an early adopter of the Open Notes in Mental Health movement  and a sample of one of her Postwires is linked in the article for viewers to explore. Open Notes is about a new level of information sharing and collaboration between doctor and patient.

Most of you are familiar with Postwire for its use in the business world. Although the applications for Postwire in Sales, Marketing and Healthcare ( seem very different, they share a strong common denominator – vastly improved and personalized communication. Let me say upfront that I realize that health care situations can have far more personal and dramatic implications than many business buying decisions, however I think there is a lot we can learn from their commonalities.

Since founding Postwire, we have been amazed by what we have learned about information sharing and how our experiences in both markets have strengthened our product, service and vision. I want to share our learnings and what we see as a major change in the way information is being shared.

If you think about it, within both these relationships – patient/doctor and buyer/salesperson, data is gathered, diagnoses and plans are made, and progress and support are provided. Trust, integrity and collaboration are critical factors in the success of both relationships. Mutual commitment is required to achieve the best possible outcome.

Evolution of the Patient/Doctor and Buyer/Salesperson Relationship

Looking back, both types of relationships are evolving from one-sided to collaborative – earned trust, less blind trust.

Historically, patients deferred to a doctor’s judgement, asking few questions. Doctors were the experts and patients followed their advice. Access to information flowed from the doctor to the patient, as it was difficult for the patient to do their own research.

The same was true of business buyers. Information flowed from the sales person to the buyer. It was difficult for a buyer to find information on his or her own. Buyers were put in a position of trusting the salesperson and company they were going to do business with. Going a bit back in the time machine a familiar saying was “No one ever got fired for buying IBM”.

Today’s World

Today, we live in a world where information is abundant and easy to find.  At times it can actually be overwhelming. Both patient and buyer rely upon doctor and salesperson, respectively, to deliver relevant information, share sound advice and collaborate to make decisions and plans. For one it is advice for making decisions and plans on health; for the other it is advice for making decisions and plans for a healthy business.

In order for each of these relationships to work, it is crucial that both patient and buyer can engage with their trusted advisor in an efficient and effective way. This relies on the sharing of sensitive information and professional consultation to develop and maintain a relationship that has the goal of producing the best outcome possible for the patient and the buyer. Let me share some data:

We looked at engagement by patients on Postwires shared with them by their doctor. An amazing 75% of the patients visited their dedicated personal Postwire. Another 75% of those patients visited multiple times. This compares with patient portals that are struggling to get even 5% of their patients to visit their personal portal pages. We believe the reason is that the Postwire is made personally for the patient by the medical professional and it  forms part of their relationship. Most importantly, patients and providers tell us that it is making a real difference in outcomes.

Why is a collaborative relationship important in health care?

Medical professionals believe that they cannot heal you on their own. They need active participation by patients in their own care to achieve good outcomes. We believe that same level of collaboration and caring is required in the buyer/salesperson relationship.

The way your buyer wants to interact with your sales team has fundamentally changed. Your buyer will respond better to you in a place where they can see and feel assured that your communications with them are focused on them and designed to facilitate their making the right kind of progress to achieve the goals they have set for themselves.

Our learning is that the patient/doctor and buyer/salesperson relationships are more similar than different. They rest on a foundation of mutual trust, exchange of ideas and sharing of relevant information.

How do you see the similarities and differences?

If you haven’t had the opportunity, yet, you can read the New York Times article here “What the Therapist Thinks About You”.

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