The Coffey Blog

Great moments in print: 8 standout patient stories from 2018

Posted on: Monday, January 28, 2019

Melissa Welling, Editor

Compelling patient stories are healthcare marketing gold. They can instantly engage readers—bringing drama, inspiration and information. Plus, these real-life testimonials allow you to genuinely communicate the quality of your healthcare without being overly self-promotional. That may go along way with your audience.

At Coffey, we love a good story. Over the past year, we were moved by the many patient stories that appeared in our clients' publications. Here are eight standouts. We hope they help you think of new ways to take readers on inspiring journeys.

Speaking to population health and prevention

As more and more hospitals shift their focus from disease treatment to population health, healthcare marketers need to tell stories that reflect that new paradigm. In "Silver Streak," Kettering Health Network showcased a patient who set out, not to treat an illness, but to reinvent her approach to wellness. Running her first half-marathon at age 62, with her cardiologist cheering her on, this patient's great example shows others what a healthier path is all about.

When mission goes global

Hospitals' missions don't just play out close to home. They sometimes ripple out far beyond local borders. That's the message Adventist Health Bakersfield brought home with "Jody's Long Road Home," a moving story about a woman who traveled nearly 6,000 miles for a second chance at life. It's also a great example of what can be accomplished when access to a source is limited. Because the distance made a patient interview for this story impractical, Coffey's writers and editors worked closely with Adventist Health Bakersfield's executive editor and writer Megan Simpson to produce this story based on videos, photos and provider interviews.

A fresh take on a familiar topic

We appreciated how Mercy LIFE–West Philadelphia approached the topic of depression from a very personal perspective. In "Life Is Good Once More," a local woman spoke frankly and movingly about some pretty dark days—and how she found her way back. Stories like this could go a long way toward removing the stigma of mental illness and encouraging people to access services that can help.

Talking technology with a human touch

It's no wonder that clinicians get excited about advances in technology. But it's not always easy to explain to people without a medical background what makes a new piece of equipment so revolutionary. In "Nothing Will Stop Him," Bartlett Regional Hospital managed to give detailed information about a new piece of physical therapy equipment without losing sight of its real-world benefit on one boy's life.

In "Setting Things Straight," Dignity Health–St. Rose Dominican told the story of how an innovative approach helped a young man who had lived for years with a painful injury. We loved learning how his committed surgeon moved mountains to secure the 3-D printing technology that would help his patient finally heal.

Using quotes to connect

We were delighted to hear from a group of patients whose words don't often make it into print: kids. Medical City Healthcare's "Peace of Mind for Parents" was one of several stories that highlighted quotes from young patients, like this happy boy: "The hospital was great. Now that my cast is off, the doctor says I can swing, I can play, I can do anything I want."

Communicating humanity

We read and write patient stories because they communicate something vital about what it means to be human. In "Gaining a New Perspective," Kettering Health Network didn't just reveal the humanity of a man who lived with chronic pain and a severe neck deformity for years. They also shined a light on the humanity of his doctor, Kamal Woods, MD, who was determined to find a way to help: "I found inspiration just thinking of what a difference successful surgery would make in this patient's life."

Of course, powerful words aren't the only way to communicate humanity. Adventist Health Bakersfield's story "In a Weight-Loss State of Mind" is worth noting for the photography alone. This cover model's joy is irresistible—making her story that too.

Tell your powerful healthcare stories

We can help. To learn how Coffey's content creation team can bring your patient profiles to life, give us a call at 888.805.9101 or email us.

Related reading

Writing great healthcare stories: What is the best way to interview patients?
Your healthcare content: Tap into the power of empathy
Health behaviors: Tips to promote and inspire change