Forrest Gump and His 5 Communication Lessons

Forrest Gump and patient communication go together like “peas and carrots”. Don’t believe it? Check out these five famous quotes from the movie and what they have to teach us about effective communication with patients.

“Shrimp is the fruit of the sea.”

That’s according to Bubba, who then gives Forrest roughly one million ways to use shrimp in cuisine. Shrimp kabobs, shrimp creole…and so on. It reminds us of all the applications there are for a patient notification tool in your practice. Appointment reminders, recalls, past due balances, wellness messages – leading vendors offer communication tools that cover a wide variety of routine messages via voice calls, emails and text. That makes it easy and convenient for you to keep in touch. No matter how you cook it, communication is essential to patient loyalty.

“I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.”

Forrest is teaching us about consistency. He may not have the appeal of the other guys Jenny meets on her journey, but he’s always there for her along the way. Consistency is key to your patient communication as well. Messages you deliver to patients don’t need to be overly creative, and they don’t have to feature many bells and whistles. Simply staying in touch regularly is the best way to stay top-of-mind with patients. They’ll know you’re there for them when they need you most.

“Stupid is as stupid does.”

Awesome line that really needs no explanation, and of course we’re not calling you stupid. But if you’re experiencing greater expenses in your communication strategy, you have to take a chance and look into solutions that can deliver that outreach for less cost. If you’re mailing patients, those postage rates are going to continue to rise. As practices struggle to add staff, there are more important roles for those team members to cover in the practice. Outsourcing routine communications is a great way to offset those rising costs. I’m pretty sure Mama said that somewhere in the movie.

“Lieutenant Dan. Ice cream.”

So there they are in a hospital ward after receiving injuries in the war. No doubt it’s a moody situation, so why is Forrest bringing his lieutenant some ice cream? He’s making the best of the situation. And there’s a lesson here for healthcare practices. Communicating with patients shouldn’t be all doom and gloom – “make sure you pay this bill” or “you need to schedule another visit”. You’ll certainly want to communicate those things, but try mixing in some more lighthearted communications. Deliver a quick birthday greeting, say “Happy Holidays” or let them know about some fun contests going on in the practice. No matter what your messages, communication should be a positive experience for your patients.

“That’s all I’ve got to say about that.”

This is Forrest addressing a crowd of protesters in D.C. And the lesson here is to keep your communication short and to the point. When you’re reaching out with a message, get the most important stuff up front. Who you are, who you’re contacting and what action you want the patient to take. That’s all we’ve got to say about that.

Image Credit: Some rights reserved by Loadmaster

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