When it comes to influencing a healthcare audience, nothing is more powerfully influential than a healthcare testimonial. So, your organization has news to announce, and you’re the one who has been tasked with getting the word out. Where do you start?

If you’ve spent any time looking at the range of news vehicles available today, you’ve realized that the facts, figures and claims of your news are only one part of the story. There’s also the human factor to consider. Who is going you share your news with the world (or at least the part of the world with which your business is concerned)? If you are in the health care space like many of our clients, then a healthcare testimonial is something you should strongly consider. Healthcare testimonials can provide the quote or news interview that will bring your story to life for your target audience.

Sometimes the nature of the news itself will help dictate whether it should be a doctor, a researcher, the head of an advocacy organization, a company spokesperson, or sometimes even a celebrity. But if you have any leeway as to who you choose to provide those all-important quotes or interviews, and you can only choose one, the person I’d pick hands down and the person who can move almost any audience you need to reach is…(drum roll, please)…the well-served patient!

When people are pondering a decision about a healthcare service, medical device, or a therapy, they want to hear right from the source—from the consumer of your product or service. In other words, someone like them who has tried it and endorses it.

Consider the following:

  • The results of an annual global study released earlier this year showed that, when asked to consider the credibility of different kinds of people when forming an opinion of a company, nearly two thirds (63%) of respondents said a person like themself was extremely or very credible. That’s more than said they would be interested in hearing about it from an industry analyst (53%), an employee of the company (52%), the CEO of the company (49%), a member a non-profit organization (48%), or a government official (35%).1
  • Before purchasing, 92% of consumers now read online reviews. In fact, Yelp, the world’s largest outlet for online reviews, has become so popular over the last decade that more than 89 million users a month have been recorded reviewing local businesses just on their mobile device alone, let alone their laptops or other devices.2
  • And if you want to get specific to healthcare, 70 percent of millennials (those aged 18-24) choose a primary care physician based on recommendations from family and friends. And while that number may slip some with age and a lesser proclivity toward social media, even still, a strong 41 percent of patients over the age of 65 would also rely on the opinions of family and friends to help them with their doctor selection.3

So, clearly, having a strong healthcare testimonial from a patient is an ace in the hand.

Now, being a PR guy who’s always pushing for more, I’ll often try—whenever appropriate—to go for two quotes, fitting in sound bites from both the patient and some kind of expert, such as a well-respected physician. But that’s a story for another day.

While you may need a corroborating expert in certain situations, a patient with a strong, moving story can add anecdotal evidence as well as emotional appeal for almost any audience, whether you need to persuade other patients, physicians, business executives, employees, third-party organizations, or even investors. And that’s because every one of those folks can relate—they all need health care, as do their parents, kids, extended family members, friends, and neighbors.

So, when given the ultimatum to go with only one healthcare testimonial, choose a patient testimonial. If done right, you won’t regret it.

Want to learn how to select the right patient for a testimonial? Look for my next article on Patient Testimonials, which peels the onion on how to go about selecting the best candidate.

What’s been your experience working with patients for testimonials, quotes, or media interviews? I’d love to hear about that, so please leave a comment!

12016 Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report.

2Vendasta.com, 1/21/16 blog post, “Yelp Reviews and the Growing Importance of Review Monitoring.”

3Nuance.com, 8/31/15 press release, “The Millennial Patient: New Data Highlights Key Differences Between Millennial and Baby Boomer Healthcare Consumers.”


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