Medical eLearning is a very specific voiceover genre unto itself. In order to perform it well, you need more than a Grey’s Anatomy-level vocabulary. Having voiced medical eLearning weekly for over twenty years, here is my take on it. To speak to medical professionals you need to sound like a medical professional, so, like a doc, a nurse, a pharmaceutical sales rep, a geneticist, a surgeon, or other specialists in any number of fields. To also speak to hospital administrators, means understanding the pain points of the healthcare field. Tighter budgets, more complicated workflows, and other factors can affect the quality of care, and quality is at the heart of the medical industry. And finally, putting oneself in the perspective of the patient is also a way to gain insight and achieve better care. Ergo, the proliferation of voiceover for medical videos exploring the patient journey.
Kinds of Patient Journey Videos
There are a number of opportunities to employ a patient journey video. Client/patient facing videos intended for patients and their families and/or caregivers can include what to expect during hospital visits, surgical procedures, or outpatient procedures like dialysis or chemo infusions.
There are also pharmaceutical videos outlining patient hub services which are meant to be a single point of contact for patients. The services can range from benefits investigation, prior authorization processing, drug delivery and administration support, financial and co-pay assistance, patient education, compliance with risk evaluation and mitigation strategies (REMS), data reporting, and bridge supplies or prescription triaging. One of the principal purposes of the hub is to ensure patient compliance and prevent therapy abandonment. They accomplish this by setting up programs to start a patient on therapy, maintain patient engagement with therapy, and, in turn, keep them on therapy, known as driving patient compliance.
Patient journey videos speak to the heart of what occupies medical professionals most. Better care. For example, videos geared toward pharma sales reps to better understand what the doctors and hospitals are most concerned with. Other videos might be geared toward hospital staff to answer issues of quality of care that may need refreshing or updating. Medical professionals are often uber busy people who want to receive information from a peer, so facility with complex medical terms and the ins and outs of healthcare is a must.
Understanding the various touch points within these videos along a healthcare journey, as well as understanding who these videos are targeted to can be the vital ingredient to take them from good to great.
TouchPoints for Voiceover for Medical Videos
Depending on the disease or injury, there are many different journeys patients may take when receiving care. One type of person receiving healthcare may need to manage an acute or chronic condition. For this patient, there are certain touch points identified during the different stages of care, beginning with the onset of symptoms, through diagnosis and therapy, and ending with either complete recovery or adjustment to a new way of life.
Another opportunity for communicating with patients is when they are undergoing treatment. This consists of several stages (pre-, during, and post-visit), where each stage consists of one or more touchpoints. At each stage, videos may show tasks patients complete – some clinical and some personal – and address the needs patients feel, whether medical, emotional, financial, or relational.
When videos are used at any touch point to communicate during the patient journey, the narration must convey competence, confidence and calm. An experienced narrator who has facility with this often complex subject matter and the performance capacity to embody a great “bedside manner” helps patients and medical professionals trust the information they’re receiving.
Voiceover Considerations – for the Voice Seeker
There are a number of voice over considerations that the voice seeker should make when looking for a talented narrator, including covering the characters that may be outlined in patient journey voiceovers. Videos can be live action, where the time points are scripted and actors are hired to portray the various players in the journey. Or, they can be animated, and voiceover artists hired to each play a different character. I recently did this for a Johns Hopkins program. Tapping into my resources of multiple voiceover professionals, I cast myself and numerous artists into various roles including one of a 10 year old boy. I then liaised with the actors and the project manager to deliver narrations for the whole program.
Narration can also be done in an audiobook or podcast style where one narrator covers all the various characters as in a story format. Several pharmaceutical companies I narrate for use this approach. A single narrator may also save time and money for the voice seeker.
Voiceover Considerations – for the Voice Over Artist
For the voice over artist, there are also considerations they should make when voicing characters for patient journey videos, especially when covering all the various characters. You’ll want to prepare as you would for an audiobook or radio play – know who is speaking and why they want to say what they are saying and how to convey it.
There is usually a Narrator role – think of them kind of like a show host – this role is not an announcer, but a coordinator, play director, a mentor, or a coach of a team.. The one in charge, overseeing, but still real and very much engaged. Other roles may include: the patient, patient’s significant other or child or parent, the PCP (Primary Care Physician), the specialist or surgeon, technicians, pharmacy drug specialists, nurses or nurse practitioners, billing administrators, just to name a few. No matter the character, the style is very real – more a testimonial than a perfected delivery. Which means you need to rely even more on your acting skills in order to sound as though you are thinking of the words as you say them, not reading or announcing them.
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