Step-by-step: Planning for International Patient Department Training Videos

International patient department training is part of continuous quality improvement strategy, not just a single intensive training session at the very beginning.

Begin by developing a “Creative Treatment”

A Treatment is NOT a script or a strategy. It is the step just before a script or strategy, a kind of blueprint for writing a script, developing a brand, or planning a training video project. Each project type benefits from this process to “zoom in” on exactly what the client wants that will fit his or her budget and timeline and project objectives. The video training project requires considerable investment of time, staff resources, and money. It will be a useful training tool for years to come, so it has to be done properly to bring the intended value. There are no “one soze fits all training videos, because each skill being trained has unique essential elements that must be featured, and every client and culture and work process is different.

Once you have the worklfows sorted out and decide to memorialize the process in a training video, the work begins.

Developing a Creative Treatment lays out a description of all that you are supposed to see and hear in a marketing, advertising, social media or branding project, but doesn’t actually define any specific spoken dialogue.  Rather, in a step-by-step way, it describes who does what, where, and what they are talking about, and what the audience sees, reads and hears.

The Treatment is a way to show, in text form, what the campaign or creative project will look like, the creative approach that will be taken, before any time or money is spent in production. It is a tool for making decisions and for saving you time and money.

The Treatment is the most important tool our staff needs when determining the budget numbers and timelines for producing a client project.

By looking over the Treatment, we see the number of people involved, what kind of data, artwork, video, or other creative media assets might be needed, what kind of props, effects and special technical features are needed, if special informational points need to be made, and how much time it will take to produce, shoot, draw, design, and/or edit the finished work.

Without a Treatment to base our estimates on, we all are playing a guessing game as to how much your project will eventually cost. With a Treatment in hand, we eliminate many unknowns, changes, and duplication of effort, and our estimates become much more accurate and dependable. The extra information from the Treatment may also allow us to think of other ways to lower your costs.

Finally, the Treatment is a common reference document, so that all the people working on the project and overseeing approvals have the same exact idea in mind of what we’re doing, and how it is supposed to look. This is especially important for large projects run for a group practice of shareholder/partner physicians. What one member of the committee pictures in their head when thinking about the project may be very different from the ideas of the others stakeholders. The Treatment formalizes this process and removes unwanted surprises, so what you see is what you will get – AND what you really wanted all along. You will never have to hear the phrase: “That’s not how I thought our practice business model and ethos was going to be designed”, if you use a Treatment first.

At Mercury Advisory Group, the Treatment is usually our first deliverable, and is included at no additional charge as a part of the fixed project fee we quote for every initial consultation for which we are hired. With this Treatment in hand, they can decide wither to move forward with the project, change it slightly, change it completely, pend the project, or abandon it. They can also change consultants if we are not a good match. Nevertheless, they will have something of value in hand as a part of the initial consultation. Sometimes this Treatment is characterized as the Summary of Findings for a Situation Analysis that is performed prior to the final decision to move forward with the project.

How we Create a Treatment

We don’t use any special software. Instead we develop an outline for the Treatment. Then we bring in our creative team including a scriptwriter to make that outline come to life in collaboration with our subject matter experts. It is a little like dictating a letter or telling a story out loud.

But the easiest way to explain it may be to just show you one. Below is a short example of a made-up video project’s Treatment, so you can get an idea of the style.

The parenthetical comments are from us, and not part of the actual Treatment.

“Creative Treatment for proposed international patient department (IPD) specialist training video, 15 minute running time, made for DVD viewing and internet streaming and viewed by new hires, ages 25-up, of at least High School Graduate education level.”

(This already tells us some key things about the program length, who it is for, and how it will be shown)

“The video teaches newly-hired IPD Specialists some common tips for handling calls faster yet with better efficiency and success.

The creative approach to show this is to have an expert co-worker and supervisor sit-in with the new hire on some calls, and then go over what was good and bad about each call.

The cast is a new IPD Specialist, an experienced IPD Specialist, and their Supervisor.

The setting is an IPD Specialist in the hospital business office with individual office cubes.

A few scenes will also happen in a nearby break room and Supervisor office.

After viewing, the operators should be able to 1: handle three common types of calls and inquiries in a better way than before, 2: know the workflow tools, as they are called, and 3: they will be able to take more successful calls in the same amount of time.”

(Now we begin to know how many locations to plan for in the budget, and what kind of locations they are, for our cameramen and lighting and sound technicians.

And we have defined a measureable product or “metric” for the result of watching these programs. In this case, it will be shorter calls, better conversions, and more of them in the same amount of time. Also, the limited number of goals for the program is not unrealistic for the length of time of the show.)

First Scene: Introduction: about a minute long. A narration on the screen welcomes us to the program, and explains video purpose.

Second Scene: The new hire Location: cubicle at the hospital business office, the cube is brand new and vacant of anything personal, a blank canvas for the new hire to inhabit.

Action: A new IPD Specialist is introduced to their workstation by the Supervisor, who sits in and listens on a headset as the specialist begins taking a call from an agitated patient on the VIP floor. The call does not go well: the customer has very little patience and is hard to keep the customer focused on the data the specialist needs before they can work the problem. The conversation becomes argumentative and defensive; by the end, both parties are a little jangled by it. The supervisor watches, but lets the specialist struggle on alone. At one point, the Supervisor scribbles a little note or sign and shows it to the specialist character; we can see that this hinting note has a key phrase the operator should use on the customer. The operator successfully concludes the call, and comes up for air. The Supervisor now discusses what was good and bad about that call, and suggests the new hire sit-in with our “expert” character to pick up some more tips.

Third Scene: Location: Break Room

Action: The new IPD Specialist and the experienced IPD Specialist meet and plan how the sit-in will go. Experienced specialist describes one way that they use to get callers back on track if they are very upset. Experienced specialist will also review the Three Main Tools of Transaction for call handling.

On-screen graphics, superimposed on the scene, will reinforce each point as it is made. Now, they exit the scene and we arrive at…”

Fourth Scene: the afternoon call session Location: Expert Specialist’s cubicle, it looks different from the first cube because it has had time to get personalized with various personal effects and memos tacked up on the walls over time.

Action: New IPD Specialist is sharing the same workstation as Experienced IPD Specialist; they are taking turns at the same console. Experienced IPD Specialist smoothly guides a caller thru the Three Tools dialogue and closes out the ticket successfully. New IPD Specialist takes a turn, and, with one little hiccup in the conversation, does the same. Experienced IPD Specialist makes a minor observation on the small error and the New IPD Specialist shows that they are starting to catch on to the method.

New IPD Specialist can be seen to gain confidence in the Standard Method being taught. With the next call comes a real bear of a case; the caller is nearly hysterical with frustration. Somewhat taken aback, but determined, our New IPD Specialist doggedly follows the three-point procedure and resolves the call on their own.

As the New IPD Specialist apply the three Tools, graphics that point out each tool appear superimposed along the bottom of the screen to reinforce which tool is being applied at that time. Now the call is done. The two operators discuss what just happened and what kinds of variations one can use in applying the three points or transaction tools we’ve been discussing. They run thru one more call and it goes smooth as glass: not only is the customer happy by the end of the call, the IPD Specialist is as well. New IPD Specialist says they now feel confident and ready to get back to their own cube to apply what they’ve learned.

Fifth Scene: wrap-up. Location: Supervisor’s office

Action: Supervisor is showing New IPD specialist a breakdown of the operator’s productivity on a print-out. The chart clearly shows a steadily improving trend in the new hire’s call volume and customer satisfaction by month’s end. They decide that the first piece of decoration the New IPD specialist’s bare cube should get is a framed copy of this good news report.

Fade to black; list the three main points one more time on the screen for reinforcement, and we are done.”


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