In 2012, more than two million people visited the Society’s patient education website, www.hormone.org, to learn more about hormone health, disease, and treatment—an increase of 20 percent in the number of visitors compared with the previous year. Most website visitors are patients; the rest are Society members, other healthcare providers, family members of patients, and the media. Nearly half of all visitors reside outside the United States.
The Hormone Health Network is the Society’s recently rebranded and reorganized patient education resource and its direct point of contact with patient consumers. As the new name implies, this new resource seeks to unite patients, family members, the media, healthcare providers, and Society members—nationally and internationally—by providing an information network that is focused exclusively on endocrine patient education. Ultimately, the Network seeks to move patients from educated to engaged and from informed to active partners in their health care.
Since its official launch at ENDO 2012, the Network has laid the foundation for its new approach to patient education in an effort to raise awareness of the new brand inside and outside the Society.
The Network’s signature educational product is its bilingual fact sheet series, which now includes more than 80 titles in English and Spanish covering 12 endocrine disorders and therapeutic areas. Feedback from Society members, patients, and primary care providers led to a redesign of the entire series to visually showcase the Network’s patient-centered focus. The content has also been enhanced with key questions patients should ask, interesting endocrine facts, and an expanded list of resources.
Building on the fact sheets, the Hormone Health Network is expanding its education resources for patients with low literacy skills. One example of newly developed patient literature is the “What Is?” fact sheet series, which is written at a fifth-grade reading level and offers simple explanations of various endocrine glands and the functions of the hormones they produce. A major Network goal is fostering more informed and effective patient-provider communication on hormone health, disease, and treatment. To facilitate this improved dialogue, the Network is building interactive, online tools that help educate patients and better prepare them for their next visit with their provider.
The Network’s model for this type of communication tool is the Menopause Map (www.hormone.org/ MenopauseMap). Developed with Society menopause experts, the online, interactive Map helps women understand their hormonal and non-hormonal options for menopausal symptom relief. Nearly 10,000 women have completed the Map since its launch on May 1, 2012. The Network is developing a similar tool for men interested in testosterone therapy, and there are plans to create a third interactive tool on osteoporosis.
The Society’s Strategic Plan 3 calls for us to “lead endocrine science and medicine toward the goal of improved health worldwide.” To that end, the Network is pursuing deeper relationships with endocrine societies internationally. One such effort supports the Ambassador Exchange program, in which U.S. physician and trainee teams and teams in India and South Africa will visit and observe each other’s endocrine practices. The Indian and South African teams have selected a number of Network fact sheets, which are being adapted for local populations and are being translated into Hindi and Zulu, respectively, to support patient education efforts in their programs.
Additionally, in response to growing global interest in its resources, the Network is working to expand the languages—such as Turkish, French, and Arabic—in which its materials are available and to build an online platform where these materials can be more easily accessed worldwide.
Throughout 2013, the Network will evaluate the success of its brand and the tactics it uses to engage an ever-larger public seeking information about endocrinology. This evaluation will enable the Network to make real-time course corrections to its outreach efforts and to provide detailed measures of the brand’s strength and effectiveness. A key part of this evaluation is your feedback on the Network and its efforts. I encourage all of you to “join” the Network and become active partners in your patient education resource.
If you have any comments or questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
William F. Young, Jr., M.D.
President, The Endocrine Society