Overcoming Pain: The Use of Stories on Health Websites

February 14, 2010

by Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, Adjunct Clinical Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
Stories from people in similar circumstances can be encouraging and supportive, providing a roadmap to positive outcomes. They can also be misleading and manipulative, so, like the use of all information on health websites, a medical professional is the best source of accurate information..
I often analyze stories on health websites, looking primarily at how they might resonate with someone using the site. One example I recently came across was RediscoverYourGo, which was developed for a medical device company, Smith & Nephew, that manufactures parts for hip and knee implants. The stories are about a person’s experiences with pain and how debilitating it was. They go on to describe what transpired from the time a person decided to undergo replacement surgery up to their current pain-free activities. While not as polished as the stories on other health websites, they are a device that may resonate with someone in pain, offering encouragement that this, too, can happen to them.
More on the use of stories is at Stories that Enhance Health Website Design: If It Helped Them It Might Help Me Too.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1.    Pamela Ressler  |  February 14th, 2010 at 3:30 PM

    It is interesting that medical device manufacturers are now marketing directly to consumers, like pharmaceutical companies have been doing for many years now. How do you think this will change physician/patient communication regarding surgical options?

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