How to Find Value in Personas for Health Care Marketing

August 4, 2016

From Research to Personas in 3 Steps

// By Matt Hummel //

Matt HummelA recent Accenture report found a significant correlation between superior patient experiences and higher margins for hospitals of every type and size. In an increasingly choice-driven health care industry, it’s no wonder that “patient-centricity” is a buzzing topic for a variety of stakeholders—from regulators and payers to provider organizations.

While there is no universally accepted definition, at its core and as the name suggests, patient-centricity is about putting the patient at the center of every product or service design. But to truly design a patient or customer-centric experience—one that is empathetic and authentic—it’s critical to get a complete, 360-degree understanding of customers (whether patients, providers, or caregivers) as people with real needs, concerns, and feelings along their health care journey. Personas can help us achieve this goal.

What Purpose Does a Persona Serve in Health Care?

It’s been almost 20 years since software designer Alan Cooper introduced the concept of the user persona in his book The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity. Since then, personas have become an essential tool for software development and web design projects.

A user persona is a qualitative tool that creates a fictional character to serve as an archetype to guide design and development. Often based on quantitative and ethnographic research inputs, a user persona brings the abstract concept of a targeted audience to life.

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