Have you ever tried to get a group of people to agree on pizza? It gets stressful. One hates mushrooms. One’s a vegetarian. One’s gluten-free. Now, imagine getting a group of people to agree on medical education content. One’s a scientist. One’s an art director. One’s watching the budget. One’s nervous about regulatory.

It’s a challenge, and it’s precisely why Medical Storytelling must be carefully structured in a manner that promotes collaboration, consistency, and efficiency. Medical Storytelling starts with a meeting of the minds and should involve medical, creative, and client teams working alongside KOLs and key stakeholders.

This vital step brings in different perspectives to help refine ideas and tactics. For example, someone might flag regulatory hurdles on the horizon, provide insights into current beliefs, or point out data that are most likely to resonate with particular audiences.

Together, this collaboration forges a “content blueprint,” which summarizes:

  • The audience
  • What they believe now
  • What we want them to believe
  • What we want them to do as a result of having changed or created those beliefs

The content blueprint ensures that messaging is on target, while also serving as the roadmap for building peer-to-peer programs, training materials, and other content. Capturing all the input in one document helps keep ideas aligned with strategy. It also reassures the many stakeholders that their voices are heard and their input is valued.

Once that roadmap is established, you can begin developing outlines and ideas. You can present your concepts on an idea board that provides an overview of the concept: theme, headlines, main visual elements, typography, logos, color palette, and rationales, which explain how the concept aligns with the client team’s overall goals and strategy. The idea board provides a strong sense of how the deliverables will look and sound.

This is also a key period for KOL input. The KOL provides valuable feedback without necessarily overriding the ideas captured earlier. Rather, the KOL helps shape a more effective deliverable by giving feedback during the process—not afterward, when revisions would be more costly and time consuming.

Once everyone (medical, marketing, regulatory, etc) is aligned on a concept, you can begin carrying it through to specific deliverables.

This process helps ensure effective Medical Storytelling supported by relevant data. It’s a teamwork-oriented process that thrives by tapping everyone’s expertise to help reshape beliefs and behaviors. Medical Storytelling doesn’t tell people what to think—but it gets them thinking.


About the author

Brett Halbleib

Brett has worked as a professional journalist, editor, and a creative leader for over 15 years. The intersection of art and science fascinates. He has experience in managing the creative process, translating marketing objectives into clear and effective strategies and tactics, and working in collaboration with cross-functional teams.

Related posts


January 30, 2019

Think about creating a “good story” for disease state education or sharing your brand’s value proposition. How do you approach it?

Read More


October 24, 2018

Peer-to-peer communication remains a staple of the medical education environment. There is inherent value in healthcare practitioners (HCPs) speaking to other HCPs in order to share, debate, and ultimately compel action that delivers improvements...

Read More


September 12, 2018

We learn from an early age that stories are a great way to learn. As children, we ask our parents to tell us stories. As we go through school, we typically remember some of our best teachers who taught us through stories. Many of the important...

Read More