The Hidden Truth About Healthcare Personas: How to Create a Patient Profile Example You Can Actually Use

by | Jul 20, 2021 | Content Strategy | 0 comments

Healthcare personas can be effective tools that align marketing initiatives with the target audience — or a tremendous waste of time. Here’s how to create a patient profile example that ensures you’re reaching the right consumers and driving results.

Con­sid­er­ing patient per­sonas as you shape your brand per­son­al­i­ty and devel­op ser­vice line growth strate­gies can be a chal­leng­ing task as a health­care mar­keter. At True North Cus­tom, we believe that a thought­ful and high­ly strate­gic approach to devel­op­ing and using a patient pro­file exam­ple to plan, craft and opti­mize your con­tent and cam­paigns is crit­i­cal to mak­ing it a worth­while effort.

There are two pri­ma­ry use cas­es for iden­ti­fy­ing personas:

  1. Devel­op­ing your brand per­son­al­i­ty, style, tone and voice
  2. Cre­at­ing mes­sag­ing strate­gies for ser­vice line growth plans

Both are impor­tant to your suc­cess as a mar­keter, and there’s nuance to ensur­ing the per­sonas you cre­ate at the ser­vice lev­el align with and com­ple­ment your brand-lev­el per­sona. On the flip side, it’s key to make sure ser­vice line strate­gies don’t suf­fer because of an adher­ence to a brand-lev­el per­sona. In this arti­cle, we’ll cov­er con­sid­er­a­tions to keep top of mind as you con­sid­er your brand per­sona strat­e­gy and ser­vice line lev­el patient personas.

Developing a persona to guide your branding

Devel­op­ing a brand per­son­al­i­ty and style is key to build­ing rela­tion­ships with key audi­ences, par­tic­u­lar­ly in high­ly com­pet­i­tive mar­kets. For many health­care providers, the female head of the house­hold is a crit­i­cal indi­vid­ual to reach.

She is often mak­ing deci­sions for both her own fam­i­ly and aging par­ents. Fur­ther, she is like­ly talk­ing about her health­care expe­ri­ences in social cir­cles and online, influ­enc­ing the per­cep­tion oth­ers have of your brand. Often, this may be a 30–50-year-old female who’s mar­ried with two to four chil­dren and par­ents for whom she’s begin­ning to make health­care decisions.

Here’s a brief frame­work on how you might con­sid­er iden­ti­fy­ing your key brand per­sona and how she impacts your brand strategy:

  • Define your per­sona based on the demo­graph­ics of your area. How old is the typ­i­cal moth­er? How many chil­dren does the aver­age fam­i­ly have? What unique fac­tors about your com­mu­ni­ty impact how she makes health­care deci­sions? Is she edu­cat­ed, and is she like­ly to work?
  • Con­sid­er the social lives of your patient pro­file exam­ple. What does your persona’s social life look like? How does she speak with her friends—both in-per­son and online? What col­lo­qui­alisms will res­onate with her?
  • Deter­mine what dri­ves your persona’s deci­sions. Is it mon­ey? Qual­i­ty of care? Con­ve­nience? Some­thing different?
  • Trans­late the mes­sages your per­sona is receiv­ing. How are your pri­ma­ry com­peti­tors talk­ing to your per­sona today? What can you do to make your brand stand out and be more relat­able to this key individual?

Once you’ve con­sid­ered this and defined your per­sona, give her a name. Many health­care orga­ni­za­tions even assign an image to a patient pro­file exam­ple. In doing so, you bring her to life and dri­ve align­ment across your team to con­sid­er her in your work mov­ing forward.

Developing patient persona examples for service lines

A crit­i­cal fail­ure in ser­vice line cam­paigns can often be a mis­align­ment between your mes­sag­ing strate­gies and the tar­get audi­ence they’re intend­ed to reach. By tak­ing your brand per­sona and mak­ing adjust­ments to your tone, style and voice to fit a unique ser­vice line lev­el patient per­sona, you’ll be con­nect­ing with con­sumers with mes­sag­ing designed specif­i­cal­ly to res­onate with them. Mind­ful­ness about how you exe­cute on this work can lead to dra­mat­ic improve­ments in ad engage­ment, con­ver­sion rates, lead vol­ume, cost per lead and over­all ROI.

Here are a num­ber of patient pro­file exam­ples and tips for defin­ing them that you might con­sid­er as you opti­mize exist­ing and launch new ser­vice line campaigns:

Joint Replacement

Ortho­pe­dics, and joint replace­ment in par­tic­u­lar, is a key ser­vice line pri­or­i­ty for many health sys­tems. The com­pe­ti­tion for these vol­umes, high degree of con­sumer choice and lengthy deci­sion-mak­ing jour­ney should all fac­tor into how you decide who you’re targeting.

Here are a few notable fac­tors about joint replace­ment to con­sid­er when defin­ing your ser­vice line’s patient pro­file example:

  • The typ­i­cal joint replace­ment can­di­date is 60–80 years old. Most are women, but the pro­ce­dure is very com­mon in men as well.
  • Patients are dri­ven by a desire to alle­vi­ate pain and get back to the activ­i­ties they love. This may be golf­ing, play­ing with grand­chil­dren, walk­ing and oth­er forms of exercise.
  • We find that con­sumers care about advanced tech­nol­o­gy in joint replace­ment. How­ev­er, they care more about choos­ing a great provider and feel­ing con­fi­dent about pre- and post- oper­a­tive care.
  • Many con­sumers con­sid­er the pro­ce­dure for as much as 10 years before mov­ing for­ward. Pro­vid­ing help­ful infor­ma­tion about readi­ness for joint replace­ment, recov­ery times and the pro­ce­dure itself will sup­port patients as they work through their options.


In gen­er­al, your women’s health strate­gies will align with your brand per­sona. As you build out your cam­paign plans, you’ll find that spe­cif­ic ser­vices you pro­mote need to be tuned for engage­ment from a very focused audi­ence. Here are a few examples:

  • Aging women. As women near menopause (aver­age age is 51, accord­ing to Mayo Clin­ic), their health­care con­cerns begin to change. They are wor­ried about hor­mone-relat­ed changes due to menopause itself, bone den­si­ty and osteo­poro­sis, and main­tain­ing a vibrant life for their chil­dren and grandchildren.
  • Preg­nant women, or those hop­ing to become preg­nant. Women who are ready to begin their fam­i­lies are a key demo­graph­ic for a health sys­tem, as cap­tur­ing their loy­al­ty ear­ly in their jour­ney dri­ves not only birth vol­umes, but pedi­atric loy­al­ty and spe­cial­ty care rev­enue from the entire fam­i­ly for years to come. Help­ing women through the jour­ney from fer­til­i­ty through post­na­tal care, even if not every touch point is a finan­cial pri­or­i­ty for you, will go a long way in build­ing patient loy­al­ty. The aver­age age for a first-time moth­er in the U.S. today is 26-years-old. They typ­i­cal­ly care about hav­ing their voice heard by their provider, con­ve­nient access to ser­vices and being guid­ed through their health care jour­ney with com­pas­sion, clear guid­ance and direct com­mu­ni­ca­tion. With the aver­age age of a first time birth trend­ing upwards, address­ing con­cerns of high risk preg­nan­cies is key, too.
  • Gen­er­al women’s health. There are a num­ber of rea­sons to focus on women who are not yet ready to start a fam­i­ly, rais­ing a fam­i­ly but not quite at menopause, and those who have gone through menopause but are oth­er­wise healthy. These women care about hav­ing easy access to rou­tine screen­ings, hav­ing their day-to-day health­care ques­tions and con­cerns addressed quick­ly, and trust­ing that their provider will deliv­er high-qual­i­ty care with every interaction.

Seg­ment­ing your women’s health mar­ket­ing strate­gies by audi­ence is impor­tant and doesn’t need to mean a devi­a­tion from your brand lev­el tone, voice and style. Each piece of con­tent or seg­ment of your paid cam­paign will be reach­ing a spe­cif­ic con­sumer, and the mes­sag­ing and CTA should be aligned with that individual’s needs in a way that com­ple­ments and sup­ports who you are as a brand.


Mam­mo­grams are often a sub­set of women’s health and imag­ing pri­or­i­ties for a health sys­tem are not major rev­enue dri­vers. Cap­tur­ing screen­ing vol­umes both builds a rela­tion­ship with a key health­care deci­sion-mak­er and poten­tial­ly cap­tures can­cer vol­umes at the ear­li­est pos­si­ble stage.

Many health sys­tems keep mam­mo­gram cam­paigns run­ning through­out the year, with a ramp-up for Breast Can­cer Aware­ness Month in Octo­ber. This ser­vice has a very spe­cif­ic patient pro­file example:

  • Age. Women ages 40–44 should have the choice to start annu­al mam­mo­grams, and women ages 45–54 should have an annu­al mam­mo­gram, accord­ing to the Amer­i­can Can­cer Soci­ety.
  • Demand. Mam­mo­grams are more often than not a very trans­ac­tion­al ser­vice to con­sume, and like with pri­ma­ry care, urgent care and oth­ers that fit that descrip­tion, con­sumers demand convenience.
  • Expe­ri­ence. Patients care about hav­ing a com­fort­able and com­pas­sion­ate expe­ri­ence, and receiv­ing clear and detailed fol­low up com­mu­ni­ca­tion about their results.

The way you approach the devel­op­ment of patient per­sonas for mam­mo­grams can be mir­rored for oth­er con­sumer choice-dri­ven can­cer screen­ings like colonoscopy, lung CT and more.

Putting healthcare personas into practice

Chances are, you’re already using health­care per­sonas in your mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy, even if you haven’t for­mal­ly named your brand per­sona or con­sid­ered it per­sona devel­op­ment in your ser­vice line mar­ket­ing efforts. As you opti­mize cam­paigns and launch new ser­vice line growth efforts, make it a point to think strate­gi­cal­ly about who specif­i­cal­ly you’re hop­ing to reach with a tac­tic to make sure you’re devel­op­ing mes­sag­ing that will res­onate based on the individual’s health­care goals and demographics.

It’s a worth­while effort, par­tic­u­lar­ly in today’s envi­ron­ment of intense com­pe­ti­tion for com­mer­cial vol­umes across the country.

Want Ideas Tailored to Your Strategy and Budget?

If you’d like to talk more about patient per­sonas exam­ples, or how we might help with health­care per­sona devel­op­ment, con­tact us. 

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