Create fictional characters or "personalities" that bring user data to life for a target audience. Anticipate and understand what patients, providers, and caregivers may think, do, and feel when engaging in a particular product, service, or experience with your healthcare organization.

Personas make it easier to understand and embody others' point of view, and to identify issues and opportunities for improving healthcare interactions. Personas also humanize the process and help to generate compelling narratives that reflect the people you serve.

It is important not to base personas off of known individuals as this can inhibit perception. Use personas as an engaging exercise with your marketing team to reflect on the individuals that you aim to serve, and assess whether the means for engagement is relevant or if additional opportunities may exist. 

We recommend conducting the appropriate user research prior to engaging in this exercise. Be cognizant of your organization’s policies and procedures when conducting research.


  1. Identify a healthcare interaction between users and your organization. Who are all of the users involved in this experience—beyond the end user? Identify primary, secondary, and tertiary users. Remember, both patient and provider belong to a broader system of support and interactions.
  2. Brainstorm a list of characteristics and demographics relevant to your healthcare product, service, or experience—aspects that define and influence users and their decisions (for example, "experience with technology").
  3. Envision your user, listing their name, age, residence, background, income, beliefs, values, motivations, job, marital status, children, faith, hobbies, strengths, weaknesses, perception of health, and well-being.
  4. Get creative by creating a visual representation of this user and their interests. Such visualization is a valuable tool to use in collaboration with your team.
  5. Repeat this process to generate 3 or more personas—think both inside and outside of the hospital.
  6. Discuss the product, service, or experience from the point of view of your persona(s). Use these personas to help focus and prioritize your topic of exploration.

These personas are helpful tools in fueling ideation and performing preliminary assessment of marketing and strategy efforts—providing humanized insight into how messages and initiatives may be perceived. It is important to base these personas on user profiles and research to validate any assumptions.