A hypothetical ‘#Weetoo’ moment
A good Foundation for advocacy
Incontinence is a widespread medical issue which affects millions worldwide, but often not discussed because of embarrassment or social stigma. There is one place, however, where it is openly and rigorously discussed – the Continence Foundation of Australia, Australia’s national peak body for continence awareness, management and advocacy, offers a forum for professionals in the area to grapple with how to best manage the potentially debilitating effects of incontinence on quality of life.
The joke’s on us
If that’s your cue for poo or wee jokes, the Foundation is way ahead of you. In fact, a recent campaign called ‘Laugh Without Leaking’ highlights the Foundations’ attitude; humour, honesty and a straightforward approach to dealing with the reality facing more and more people. The annual National Conference on Incontinence brings together clinicians, manufacturers, health care workers and just about anyone associated with the sector. At this year’s 28th conference in Hobart, BehaviourWorks Australia was invited to run a hypothetical to explore what happens when products are brought to market that malfunction or cause negative outcomes.
It’s a very real issue, with examples such as the recent vaginal mesh inquiry showing the high level of impact devices or procedures with unexpected outcomes can have.
BWA’s Geoff Paine and Peter Bragge worked with the Foundation to assemble a panel of experts representing the different sectors of the continence community who would be affected by this; clinicians, continence advisors, device manufacturers, regulators, marketing managers, journalists and consumers.
The twist in this hypothetical was that, instead of women being affected, this was a men-only device. Describing the target market as ‘Mamasculines’ (Middle Aged Men Accepting Silicon and Carbon Usually in Lycra, Incontinent and Not Especially Smart), the panel looked at how a well organised group of affected people can trigger major outcomes across social media and the wider clinical practice. And while the discussion provoked cheeky and lively responses from the panel and the audience, truths were revealed: irrational behaviours can overrun sound decisions when emotions are high, and sound practice can become a casualty of bad publicity.
The panel shared their wisdom, the audience shared their laughter and along the way, we shared some behavioural insights on how to better manage adverse outcomes when it comes to healthcare.