Healthcare’s hidden heroes

Richard Long
Richard Long
7 Sept 2021
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Forgetting the ‘hidden heroes’ in any healthcare communications plan can have a detrimental effect on what you're trying to achieve. The healthcare hidden hero is critical to engagement with content, success of the patient's treatment plan and ongoing adherence.

What is a hidden hero?

Healthcare is complex with many different roles, specialisms and needs determining who a patient will see. When talking about these incredibly important people, it’s easier to speak about what they are not.

They are not prescribers.

They are not onward referrers.

They are not the Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) who detect ongoing health issues and ultimately chooses one course of treatment over another.

They are not usually the decision maker in this process of treatment selection.

They are ‘hidden’ as they tend to be forgotten. They are the HCPs who help the patient with day-to-day living, with treatment administration, with management or recording of bloods or even the administration of an IV line during treatment…hidden because quite often we don’t see them or their value in the patient treatment process and yet our patients could not have treatment, rehabilitation or out of hospital care without them.

And they are ‘heroes’ because they spend real (face) time with the patient. They understand the patient and often look beyond their condition or treatment to see the real person. These heroes tend to spend the longest time with your patient. They know the individual, they know their likes and dislikes. They know what makes them laugh, what makes them cry, what gives them hope and generally what makes them tick. They know when a treatment works, when it doesn’t and what is detrimental. In short they understand your end user more than most.

Your hidden hero can be a dosing nurse, community help, a physio, a chiropodist, a district nurse or orthopaedic specialist. They can be one of a multitude of roles at any one time and are too numerous to mention; but they personally are incredibly important to all patients.


Often, once a condition has been identified and treatment prescribed, there are one of only a handful of healthcare touchpoints. These healthcare heroes have the largest deposit of trust from the patient, their family and their care giving network. The patient often knows them and cares about their opinions both as a ‘friend’ and a healthcare professional… and this is the secret sauce for today’s healthcare communication experts.

Know your hero. Then provide content which helps them clarify questions and queries from the patient. Your hidden hero has incredible trust equity and what they say will be understood and followed. Their opinion matters to the patient above all others.

Once you provide your hidden heroes with content which is genuinely valuable, you will be able to inform and support the patient. Understanding in the hero’s daily tasks will provide context and background as to what tools they need and how they can support ongoing care.

So in short, know your hidden hero; understand their role and their needs and then build your content around them. Make the content easy, straightforward and shareable and your ‘hero’ will help transform the patient in the future.

Need a hand crafting compelling content? Get in touch.

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