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Creating Compelling Patient Testimonials

Most medical device marketers know the power of patient video testimonials. But creating this content can feel incredibly daunting for many reasons – finding the right patients, asking the right questions, and delivering a professional video on a limited budget. When you view patient testimonials from multibillion dollar medical device companies, you start seeing costs that are out of your reach, and then you bail.

But do you really need an expensive, studio video to tell a meaningful story?

With the rise of social media and smartphones, “real world” video content is highly consumed and valued. The number one YouTube personality, with more than 57 million subscribers, is a young man whose videos center around him playing video games. The top YouTube personalities are everyday people, telling their stories to their own cameras. In addition to YouTube, we also have video content being delivered via Facebook Live, Instagram, SnapChat –all of which are being created with current-model camera phones and video editing apps and computer software.

Real, unfiltered videos, by real people … this is what consumers are watching. And patients are no exception; if patients feel a connection to the material, they will view it.

So how do you start? First, the story is paramount. To get the right story, start with some core techniques used for any patient video:

  • Secure all appropriate HIPAA-compliant permissions and releases needed for developing content and using the patient’s story. This paperwork may include provider and/or hospital specific releases, as well as those for any medical device company involvement.
  • Write an interview script with questions that flow in a logical sequence. The goal is to create a dialog with a patient that will resonate for other patients facing the same medical condition.
  • Allow 1 hour for the interview as well as any repeat questions, and any technology troubleshooting.
  • The script should be written to take about 30 to 45 minutes of discussion.
  • Consider that a nurse or P.A. may be better suited to conducting the interview than a physician.
  • Also interview family member/s or a caregiver as sometimes the people closest to the patient provide powerful insights and aid in conveying the patient’s health journey.
  • Keep the final, finished video to less than 2 minutes.

If your patient is local and you can be in the same venue, you can easily create a video using current smartphone video technology and a tripod. Ideally you want a well-lit room and a quiet location with minimal external noise.

For remote patients, it is easier than ever to record video calls using Skype, Google Voice/Hangouts, WhatsApp, FaceTime, etc. As you discuss the testimonial process with the patient, identify what technologies will work best for them or perhaps with their family member or caregiver if applicable.

If your organization has subscription-based video conferencing (e.g. WebEx, GoToMeeting) that allows for video recordings, your patients may prefer this approach as they usually just need to click on a link to launch the video conference. Most patients or their caregivers will likely be familiar with one of a few core video applications that are market leaders. Regardless of the application you choose, send all necessary instructions in advance to ensure the patient has downloaded the applications and is prepared.

Follow these tips to optimize your remote interview:

  • Conduct the video interview in a quiet location. Ask your patient to be in area away from potential interruptions such as children, pets, telephones, or other electronic device alerts.
  • The interview leader should also be in a quiet location, preferably a closed office or conference room away from potential coworker interruptions, etc.
  • Do a brief test of the video recording function before the official start of the interview.
  • As a contingency plan, use a backup digital voice recorder to capture the audio of the call. That way if you have technical issues on the video, you can still use the audio content for other materials.

Finally, you will need to edit out portions of the video to streamline your patient’s story into less than 2 minutes. There are many types of video editing software available for Apple Mac and Windows PC platforms, at affordable price points and designed for the everyday user. Check out online reviews and tutorials when evaluating which program will work best for you. Many programs enable you to add music and text overlays to further enhance the story, if desired. For Mac users, iMovie and Final Cut Pro X are good options.

Remember, the patient’s relatability to others is most important. Letting their story shine is the main goal; the rest is icing on the cake.



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