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  • Writer's pictureDon Young

Real Patient Authenticity: A Game Changer in Healthcare Marketing

More and more pharma companies are realizing that patients’ experience with their products needs to be at the core of their business and messaging. Yet, patient communication often doesn’t include any actual patients nor their actual experiences. It’s perfect people, perfectly scripted, and perfectly produced. Over-produced to the point where—even if they are real patients—they aren't believable, and their experience falls flat. Just a lot of smiling faces while being physically active, or lots of children playfully interacting with adults. Cue the puppies.

This is the complete opposite of the new world of marketing, because it’s not putting real patients at the center of your business. While highly produced video can still be effective if it's authentic, it’s now competing with the deep authenticity of YouTube, Tik Tok, Instagram, and dozens more.

Imagine a newly diagnosed patient who wants to learn more about someone else’s experience with a particular pharmaceutical product or condition. Where do people go first now for medical information? Paging Dr. Google.

They have a choice of two videos to watch to learn more about their new health concern (see below). One option is with a real patient (or caregiver) describing their experience and the other is a broadcast TV ad with professional actors. Which do you think they’d choose? You know the answer.

As healthcare marketers we live in a highly regulated industry, which is why we’ve often avoided user generated content (UGC). But our patients, like all consumers now, are connecting with UGC because of its authenticity. Storyvine solves this problem of authenticity while still allowing control of your brand and messaging in a highly regulated environment, like healthcare.

As a healthcare marketer with significant tenure in this industry, I’m often asked, “Why did you join Storyvine?” My response is, "Because as healthcare marketers I want us to put real patients and their stories first in everything that we do. I want us to catch up with consumer marketing, and I finally recognize that health should be about telling authentic stories from the real patients that we serve."

We don’t need actors to tell real patients’ stories. The journeys are more powerful when told by the patients themselves. These are incredible stories that we need to share with the world, and in the process, we’ll make the world healthier as well.

Interested in bringing real patient authenticity to healthcare marketing? Let’s talk, or 720-449-7077 ext 101.


Don Young is General Manager of Healthcare at Storyvine.

His expertise in healthcare marketing and communication ranges from promotional HCP education, to Medical Affairs, Continuing Medical Education (CME), Speaker Bureau, and Advocacy. He has worked in a variety of agencies from privately held companies to publicly traded entities including Omnicom and Publicis Groupe, where he served a variety of leadership roles including Managing Director at DIME (Discovery Institute for Medical Education), Group Managing Director, Discovery USA and COO, Razorfish Health.

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