As a patient leader, you have answered the call to help other patients and caregivers in your community. Day after day, you are anchored in the conversation of your community. By sharing your own story and interacting with others, you have become a trusted source. So others come to you for help, information and advice.
Because you’re so grounded in your community, you have a constant pulse on what’s going on, including:
- The daily battles
- What people face
- What new patients ask for
- What veteran patients ask for
You know your story about a T. But you also know SO a lot about the history of the collective community.
Sharing your community’s story sets you apart. It extends your value to that of a Key Opinion Leader (KOL).
Being a KOL within the online patient and caregiver community can be a powerful way to positively impact the lives of others. In this article, we will explore:
- What it means to be a KOL
- Why you are already set up to be a KOL
- The benefits of the role
- Good practices to follow
What is a Key Opinion Leader (KOL)?
A KOL is someone who:
- Is recognized as an expert in his field
- Has opinions that are respected and valued by others
- Is seen as a trusted source of information, support and advocacy
You may have noticed that we refer to our members as patient leaders within the Health Social Network (RSS). A patient leader uses their story or that of a loved one to share information and support. They advocate for themselves and for others. Essentially, we are looking at KOLs from the patient and caregiver community as patient leaders.
Why are you set up to be a key opinion leader for patients?
Becoming an online KOL in the patient and caregiver community takes time, effort and dedication. But the good news is that your hard work is already setting you up for success!
As a patient leader, you have a unique ability to shape conversations and influence people’s decisions. You are seen as a thought leader and an authoritative voice within your community. And your opinions and ideas are highly sought after.
- You are already connected and talking to countless patients and caregivers
- You are considered a trusted source in the community
- You have a constant pulse on the community
- You live and breathe this everyday
People in healthcare are turning to patient leaders like you to tell their own stories And what they see in their communities. And when I think of the patient community, who better to call on than the members of the NHS?
What are the benefits of being a KOL?
Being considered a KOL for your condition can bring many benefits to your job! Here are a few :
- Influence: As a KOL, you can influence the decisions and actions of others. You can use your platform to raise awareness of important issues, advocate for change, and lead meaningful conversations.
- Acknowledgement: Being recognized as a KOL within your community can bring increased visibility, prestige and credibility.
- Opportunities: As a KOL, you may have opportunities to collaborate with other experts, speak at events, and participate in other professional development activities. (Pro Tip: Check out our opportunities on the SHN platform!)
- Personal achievement: For many people, being a KOL within their community is a deeply fulfilling and rewarding experience. This allows them to have a meaningful impact on the lives of others and contribute to positive change in the world. Let your “why” be a driving force for good.
What are the best practices for KOLs?
So how can you use this knowledge and expertise you acquire daily to impact the lives of people all over the world? Let’s talk about some best practices to build on.
- Share unbiased news and information with your community: Companies want to partner with leaders who can share all sides of the story and stay neutral. Share reliable sources of information and factual information.
- Tell your story, but also include other points of view: When talking about your condition, talk about it in terms of “we” instead of just “I”. Be a voice for those who have no voice. Speak on behalf of the community you represent.
- Advise on the needs of your community by communicating not only the “what”, but also the “why” and the “how”: When you share what your community needs, help support your request by explaining why it matters and how it could have an impact. If you can demonstrate that you are good at it, countless opportunities will open up for you.
- Diversify the companies and organizations you work with: Above all, stay true to your goals and values. But working with multiple organizations can help you grow your network and expertise and provide you with various opportunities to get involved.
- Never stop inquiring about your condition: Stay up to date with new treatments, trends and best practices. The learning is still ongoing, especially in the world of healthcare.
Finally, always appreciate the value you bring as a patient leader. No one else has the insights, experience and knowledge that you have. So mine this precious currency and never let anyone take advantage of you because of it.
Looking to find out more?
Take the “Valuing your expertise as a patient leader” course on the SHN platform today to learn how to tap into your true potential as a patient leader.