Featuring patient stories in your healthcare marketing strengthens your bond with your audience and helps create pivoting moments at a time when people are making important decisions about their medical care.
Why do they work? Because storytelling is powerful.
Emotions run high when you don’t feel like yourself—whether that’s because you hurt your knee when running or just found out you’re pregnant.
No matter your reason for needing to go see a doctor, knowing it’s reassuring to hear it will “be okay” because someone you trust has survived something similar. In fact, recommendations from friends and family who have been there and done that is a key way that many people find physicians and specialists.
Using engaging stories inspires patients to take action. Detailed, long-form testimonials have a way of breaking down the knowledge barrier that straight-forward, clinical web copy can’t. They are a great format for providing more personal information about services, treatments, and care options.
Keep reading to discover the best practices in creating patient stories that allow you to reach your audience and build stronger connections.
The benefits of adding patient voices to your healthcare website
Content written from a doctor’s perspective informs and showcases expertise, but this approach can also alienate prospective patients. The solution? Replace healthcare marketing assets jam-packed with intimidating medical jargon with relatable patient testimonials.
Here is a look at four different ways patient stories can help you reach more potential patients.
Encourage patients to seek the care they need
Patient storytelling motivates and reassures those who are still on the fence about receiving care. Reading about a patient who found a solution to a similar health problem can provide a clear path forward that eases anxieties.
Build patient trust
Good patient stories elicit strong feelings. It empowers, inspires, and influences how people feel about getting medical help. Establish trust by sharing stories with a positive outcome and including quotes from healthcare providers.
Provide social proof
People often rely on reviews and recommendations when choosing goods or services. This habit influences a patient’s decision to obtain care. Potential patients will be more likely to choose your facility if they find positive social proof.
Support a holistic approach to healthcare
Storytelling is the perfect format for displaying the range of services you offer. Telling patient stories from the initial diagnosis to the resolution exhibits your comprehensive approach to healthcare. It reassures patients that your practice offers the full scope of services they might need.
Best practices for sharing patient testimonials
There are two main concerns when selecting and sharing stories:
- HIPAA compliance
- choosing testimonials that promote your goals
Obtaining permission to collect and share patient content (reviews, testimonials, stories, etc.) is always a priority. Seek in-house counsel to make sure this content is HIPAA compliant.
Figure out what you want to achieve with patient stories. Some common goals might include:
- Providing patient education resources
- Inspiring prospective patients to get care
- Emphasizing your dedication to your patients
- Recruiting top talent who share your values
When telling patient stories, some best practices include:
- Keeping stories short and to the point
- Showcasing a wide range of treatments or services
- Adding quotes from the patients themselves (and their caregivers)
- Using the storytelling format that works best to tell each story, be it a quote, blog post, or video interview
- Including a call to action
Pro-tip: Don’t publish patient stories without preparing the content for production. Having good SEO, following a consistent style, and incorporating captivating visuals will help you attract more readers.
How to collect stories from patients
Not sure where to start? Here are a couple of ways you can find patient stories for your healthcare website:
- Ask doctors, physical therapists, and other providers to let you know about any success stories
- Look for mentions of your clinic or office on social media to discover patients who are telling stories worth resharing
- Check online reviews on sites like Google or HealthGrades to identify patients who are satisfied with their care
Once you identify good leads for patient stories for your healthcare marketing, make sure you:
- Obtain signed authorization to share each story for HIPAA compliance purposes
- Determine the best format for telling the patient’s story and gather any relevant supporting materials (quotes, photographs, etc.)
- Follow up with patients once their stories are ready to go live, incorporate any edits they request, and get their final okay
- Don’t forget to thank patients for sharing their stories
Examples of great patient stories
Logansport Memorial Hospital
Logansport Memorial Hospital uses photographs, quotes, videos, and moving written stories to describe how their regional hospital providers help different patients solve problems.
Each patient story begins by giving background information about the profiled person before explaining the event that led them to seek care at Logansport Memorial Hospital. Every story is authentic, providing relevant details about the diagnosis and treatment process.
Logansport Memorial Hospital uses a clear structure to share these stories, leverages different formats like images and videos to put a human face on the stories, and connects storytelling to specific services, like those provided by its cancer care center.
Learn more about LMH’s award-winning healthcare marketing
OrthoIndy uses its blog to share persuasive patient stories. These blog articles feature a mix of quotes to tell the story of how different conditions are diagnosed and treated.
The stories emphasize emotions by describing what the patients—or in some cases, parents of young patients—felt before seeking care. The tone is very comforting and reassures readers while informing them. Patients are always presented in relatable ways. OrthoIndy also uses storytelling to show how receiving medical care changes lives.
Find out more about OrthoIndy’s critically-acclaimed healthcare website
Incorporating moving patient testimonials into your website marketing strategy creates trust between you and your patients.
Our team at TBH Creative understands the nuances of what healthcare clients need, and we have the knowledge and experience to help you make the best use of patient stories to better connect with users. If you need help finding new ways to incorporate patient voices into your website, we can help.
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