Personas in Medical Tourism: Why it pays to know them

Personas in Medical Tourism: Why it pays to know them

Do you really know your target customers? Can you clearly define their characteristics in terms of who are they, where they live, their motivations, the information they need before they buy, their economic conditions, or eve why they would want your services?

One of the most important things you can do to help make your service more relevant is to get to know your customers. Conducting analysis, soliciting patient feedback, interviewing and surveying are some of them but there are actually many more. You can further increase the usefulness of this information, as well as add to it, by creating personas for your customers.

Personas are an extremely valuable factor in defining customer profiles in any field. Here’s a brief definition on them:

Personas are representations of your target audience that you’re trying to attract to your clinic or hospital based on demographics and socio-economic conditions. It is a customer profile that you can use to help make consumption decisions. These profiles are created from knowledge usually gained from current patient bases and research. Think of a persona model as having a “virtual” customer to bounce ideas off of and help you keep the goals of the customer in mind on a day-to-day basis.

From individual doctors to clinics to hospitals, anyone can benefit from developing personas of their prospective patients and their own brand to gain competitive advantages.

What Are Personas and Why Do We Need Them?

A persona typically involves giving a fictitious name and characteristics to a ‘client’ that is consistent with one of the main consumer groups you have identified for the services you are offering.

Personas put a face on the customer. Some persona programs give people names so you can refer to them and see them in a “physical” manifestation or representation. A persona removes the tendency to think of yourself as the customer, and instead forces you to step back and visualize your customers. This method offers the structure to do so. Some of the key elements of persona development include:

  • Who are your customers?

  • Why are they looking for services?

  • What is important to them?

  • What do they need to know?

  • Where will they look?

  • How do they decide?

Finding your Persona and Understanding your Customer

What Are Some Characteristics of Personas That Need to Be Defined?

  • Persona name

  • Demographics: age group, gender, education, ethnicity, family status, location

  • Type of Profession: job title and major responsibilities in professional life

  • Decision Maker or Head of Household?

  • Economics – yearly income, type of home, home value

  • Goals and tasks in relation to your services

  • Environment – physical, social, technological

What Are the Key Questions a Persona Should Address?

  • Why would this person be interested in your products and services?

  • What questions or concerns does this person have about your products and services?

  • What key information do we want to communicate to this person?

  • What challenges do we face in achieving our communication goals?

  • What are this person’s media habits?

  • What challenges does this person face at work/home?

  • Describe this person’s decision-making process?

  • Where does this person shop?

  • A quote that sums up what matters most to the persona with relevance for your services.

How Do You Develop Personas?

The first and most important thing you’ll need to do before developing a persona is to gather information about your patients. How you do this depends on your resources and budget. We’ll offer a few simple tips to help you create your personas.

The best personas will also go the extra step by describing key behaviors such as the decision-making process, information-browsing approaches, or shopping modes and habits—the drivers that affect how people approach a given solution.

Ask These Questions:

  • Finding patients - Who are the prospective patients? How many are there? What do they do with the services/brand that you are offering?

  • Building a hypothesis - What are the differences (cultural, beliefs, attitudes) between patients from different backgrounds?

  • Verifications: Compile data for personas (likes/dislikes, inner needs, values), data for situations (area of work, work conditions), data for scenarios (work and information strategies and goals).

  • Finding patterns: Does the initial labeling hold? Are there more groups to consider? Are all equally important?

  • Constructing personas: Body (name, age picture). Psyche (extrovert/introvert). Background (occupation). Emotions and attitude toward seeking alternative healthcare options, the company (sender) or the information that they need. Don’t forget personal traits.

  • Defining situations - What is the need of this persona?

  • Validation and buy-in - Do you know someone like this?

  • Dissemination of knowledge: How can we share the personas with the organization?

  • Creating scenarios - In a given situation, with a given goal, what happens when the persona engages with the brand?

  • On-going development - Does new information alter the personas?


Knowing our customers should be our first critical step to understand how exactly we can provide the services and support their needs. Once we are able to define their characteristics and how one think to be able to obtain the right information for their medical treatment can we truly become effective with our patient engagement and make it the most beneficial for us and the patients.

If you want to know more, you can always contact us and ask for more information