Case studies are a powerful marketing tool because they allow you to use the words of satisfied clients or patients to tell a moving, compelling story about your healthcare service or medical device.

There’s no one formula for writing case studies, but here is one that I have used with great success during my 17-year medical copywriting career. This structure would be written in a conversational tone, which is a great way to tell a story and connect with prospects.

Open with the challenge. Begin by introducing the problem. What condition was your customer trying to improve or change?

Example: FDA warning letters and fines. These are terms that send chills down the back of any medical device company’s communications department. FDA letters can destroy the momentum of any marketing campaign, and stop a medical device company dead in its tracks.

The customer. Introduce the customer to be featured in your case study. Who are they? What do they do or make? If possible, use the customer’s own words in the form of a quote.

Example: Dave Smith, Communications Manager for Acme Med Devices, will never forget the day his company received an FDA warning letter, “Our whole business came to a sudden halt. We lost market share, credibility and customers. We eventually corrected our marketing program, but the havoc that comes with receiving an FDA warning letter lasted for months.”

The journey. What steps did the customer take to solve the problem? What other products or services were investigated? Why didn’t they work out?

Example: Smith was determined never to receive an FDA warning letter again. So he began a mission to find the best medical device copywriter available. One who had extensive experience writing marketing claims for medical products that could withstand scrutiny from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The discovery. This section should cover how your customer found out about your product or service. In an ad? Through a trade show? Through a referral?

The solution. This is where you have a lot of freedom to tout your device or healthcare program as the solution to a customer challenge without fear of sounding too promotional. The earlier sections of your case study have given you the credibility to do so if they were written properly.

The implementation. Here you discuss how your product or service was implemented. Were there any complications involved? How long was it before it was 100% up and running? Be honest about any problems that arose and how they were resolved. Highlight instances where you went the extra mile to satisfy customers or patients.

The results. Discuss how well your product or service solved a client or patient problem. You want to be as specific as you can here. If possible, use hard numbers such as savings, revenue gains, sales growth and ROI.

If you have a patient-oriented product or service, discuss recovery times, clinical results and emotional satisfaction. This is another great spot to include a customer testimonial so you can close your story on an upbeat note.