The power of the patient testimonial

Patients need to hear from other patients in their medical journey.

As our healthcare landscape evolves, there has been a lot of emphasis on consumer choice in medical care. Everyone working in the industry has come to recognize that patients are more empowered through information, and we need to help them navigate very complex medical topics. As marketers, we keep telling ourselves how important this is, and yet I continue to see patient educational posters and pamphlets dominate the available materials, both in print and merely transferred to a digital form.

A pamphlet, in any form, is not enough. It does not tell the full story.
I didn’t realize how challenging it was to find patient testimonials until I found myself preparing for my own surgery, and looking for answers.

My journey started with a rapidly destructive form of hip osteoarthritis, which quickly led to a need for a total hip replacement. I was less familiar with the orthopedic surgery discipline but with the 20-year career I had working with cardiovascular surgeons and physicians, I figured I could easily find what I needed. The procedure itself was not my primary concern, but rather how did patients experience the surgery, recovery and rehabilitation? I wanted to better understand what to expect.

I did find pieces of information – from my surgeon’s practice, from my hospital, from nonprofit foundations, from YouTube – but nothing was knitted together into a cohesive resource. I didn’t find as much as I expected, particularly when you consider that more than 300,000 total hip replacements are done annually in the U.S., making it one of the most performed procedures.

I knew the power of the patient testimonial from my own marketing experience, where I had helped physicians and hospitals create these videos to use with their patients. Surely, a leading medical center and prominent surgeon practice would have these?

Nope. And this is all too common of a scenario.

Video testimonials may seem daunting or expensive to produce, but they don’t have to be. As consumers, we view video content frequently, and much of that content is created with everyday tools.

Stay tuned for Part 2 on this topic, “Creating Compelling Patient Testimonials”… where I’ll share some ideas on how to craft patient videos that really educate.

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