Host of The Breast Talk Ever podcast, Breast Cancer survivor, and committed change driver, La Tonya Davis joins this week’s show to share her truly inspiring story. Take a listen below.

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If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Healthcare page.

Telling stories of how information and tech can transform healthcare is essential for the entire ecosystem. Karen Groppe, Senior Director of Strategic Communications at HIMSS joins the show to discuss this, the importance of the whole message, and her love of Earth, Wind & Fire. Take a listen below.

Don’t miss an episode of What2Know, subscribe to our podcast on iTunesStitcher or Spotify!

If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Healthcare page.

Balance is the key to success

As a firm, our heritage is in using data to help tell the stories of healthcare businesses across the world. No matter if their target audience is a healthcare professional (HCP), journalist or patient, we follow the data to turn insight into strategy and strategy into action and storytelling.

A pure data story often doesn’t connect with the majority of our audiences. Facts alone can be cold. To tell an effective story, you need to connect on an emotional level and combine that with the rational.

And sometimes it’s easy to fall into the trap of overloading on the rational to communicate your key points.

This isn’t as challenging as it first seems though. Health is a very personal topic for patients. It’s already an emotional topic for them. When a doctor is speaking to a patient and mentions the word cancer, for example, the rest of the conversation often falls away as the patient runs through the impact cancer would have on their lives even before they know if they do have it.

So, even though you need to focus on delivering messages about the way a drug works or how effective it is, you shouldn’t forget to consider the patient impact and consider how bringing in some emotion can better relate these facts.

This is even more necessary when it comes to speaking directly to HCPs. A flawed argument is that they are interested in a more rational discussion. However, doctors are people too. Many of them, like you and I, are looking for more engaging content. And the doctors who have difficulty grasping the emotional impact disease has on patients could also benefit from a more personalized approach.

How not to drown people in statistics, without skimming data or dumbing down on data

Arguing for a more emotional story doesn’t mean needing to skip, skim or dumb down data. To most effectively deliver our key messages, our job is to take the story elements and find the best way to communicate them to an audience based on their preferences, channel and strategy.

And that means, when we’re talking to audiences without scientific backgrounds, that we need to translate the data into an accessible language. For me, that’s not watering down the insights but helping contextualize and aid understanding.

You may think it’s your data getting in the way of doing this. Statistics can be overwhelming, but only when used poorly. The best data storytellers can convey complex ideas with an elegant simplicity. It’s all about identifying true insight and using it to build data into a relevant and accessible story and visualizing it in an engaging way.

The impact of lockdown and remote working on data in storytelling

As we near the end of 2020 and reflect on the communications challenges over this past year, we can also consider some opportunities the lockdown has given us.

One advantage of the new normal is the increase in use of digital platforms, with their ability to target and measure to personalize our storytelling. We can’t always tell if someone reads a pamphlet or sees a billboard, but we do know if they log on to a webinar, read an email, or click a link. Being able to better track performance allows us to review our results quickly and adapt our storytelling when needed.

While 2020 has been incredibly difficult for so many, the important work of healthcare hasn’t stopped. Now more than ever, it’s important to share research, results and information in an accessible way to your audience, by weaving the emotional and rational together.

Learn more about W2O via our About or Healthcare pages.


It was almost a year ago. I was walking through Philly’s holiday market, sipping mulled cider and finishing my Christmas shopping, between business flights and train rides up and down the East Coast. I was later stopped going through TSA thanks to a bacon bourbon hot sauce I bought for my dad. Ah, the days of business travel.

Amid my yuletide merriment, I got a call from a colleague. She said her client was seeking a “big idea” for 2020 and she was hoping that our analytics team could brainstorm ways to use data to help. The ask: What would happen if we peeled back the curtain on chronic kidney disease (CKD) and looked at the holistic patient experience, beyond being defined by traditional quality of life measures or creatinine levels? How could we develop a better understanding of the whole person, not just the patient, living with CKD every day?

This question reflects a challenge that many of our clients are grappling with as we hurdle toward “modernized healthcare,” where personalization and consumerization are becoming tablestakes and patients have more access to their own health data and more choice over how they manage their disease. As such, our clients are asking: how do we capture and support the human, lived experience – with a focus on how the burden of disease can impact every facet of a patient’s life? And how can data help us be more precise and thoughtful with our actions?

As an applied sociologist and analyst at W2O, my question is never “can we find answers to these questions?” Rather, my question is “what types of data can we leverage from our robust data engine?” In partnership with a team of smart colleagues – a scientific strategist, a communications specialist, and a seasoned marketer researcher – we developed a three-phase multi-modal approach that aggregated data from a geographically diverse cohort of patients living with CKD. Leveraging social media data, qualitative phone interviews, and an online quantitative patient survey, we created a global CKD-Personal Impact Index (PII) that derived the daily personal impact of the disease on individuals diagnosed with CKD (and their families). The CKD-PII uncovered the direct and indirect impact of living with CKD on patients’ activities of daily living and overall quality of life (QoL), providing unique insights into the patient experience that other studies have not traditionally assessed.

Our research showed the burden of a CKD diagnosis is profound: 56% of patients living with CKD said the disease has an extreme impact on their overall QoL, and 13% said they felt an impact almost immediately post-diagnosis. Mental well-being and sleep schedule were most severely impacted by CKD, followed by planning of life events/holidays/trips, diet/meal management, exercise schedule, and time for medical appointments. These findings were recently presented in a poster session at the American Society of Nephrology’s Kidney Week and are being submitted for presentation at the upcoming World Congress of Nephrology.

But beyond garnering recognition in academia, this research reflects an emerging imperative in the healthcare industry. How do we use data to humanize the patient experience? How do we uncover the real, lived day-to-day burden of disease and its outcomes? If living with CKD results in poorer mental health and running on little sleep, how can we better reach and serve the patient community? In a year where COVID-19 has had mental health implications for many of us, we have gotten a taste of how it feels to have a disease interfere with our day-to-day life. Perhaps we can carry this perspective into the future – leaning a little more into the data and appreciating the whole person behind the patient.

A very special thanks to Jillian Guiglotto and the AstraZeneca CRVM team, who were instrumental in pushing this important work forward.

Learn more about W2O via our About or Healthcare pages.

Today, we’re proud to announce that W2O is launching a new video series – Privacy Perspectives.

The privacy landscape is changing rapidly. New legislation around the world is combining with rapidly evolving consumer attitudes to create a lot of questions both for the healthcare industry and for marcomm generally.

W2O takes privacy seriously, and as our Global Data Privacy Officer, I field a lot of privacy-related questions that our clients ask. Those questions range from the very tactical (do I need a cookie controller on my website?) to the deeply strategic (how do I build privacy into my brand as a key differentiator?).

The primary goal of Privacy Perspectives is to answer your questions. I’ll be sitting down with other industry and privacy experts in a series of short videos to discuss the most frequent questions we hear. These videos will each tackle a specific privacy question, and are designed to provide you with answers you need in just a few minutes.

In addition to answering common questions, we’ll be discussing significant privacy news and legislative changes that impact the majority of our clients and partners, as well as the healthcare industry at large. Future videos will cover questions raised by complex regional laws, including  GDPR and LGDP, as well as state and sectoral regulations such as CCPA/CPRA and HIPAA. Our guest experts will also discuss data ethics, risk assessment and cybersecurity topics.

Privacy Perspectives provides a repository of information and expert opinion in a format that directly addresses the specifics you need to know – all in a format that makes it easy to find exactly what is most relevant to you and your organization in that moment. In the future, you can return to the series any time as your business faces new privacy challenges and the privacy landscape evolves.

We hope you’ll find these videos useful. If you have a question, comment or suggestion for a topic you’d like us to cover, please email us at

Learn more about W2O via our About or Healthcare pages.


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