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From the Trenches

From Complexity to Clarity: Crafting Compelling Healthtech Messages

Ali Amoroso | May 1, 2024

If I could crystalize years of accumulated observations about healthcare messaging down to its essence, and then give some advice, I would say something like this: Don’t pretend at complexity because you think it will be seen as a marker of quality. True quality is intuitive and clear — its benefits readily apparent.

That said, getting from the state of thinking, “What this product does is super complex,” to an intuitive, easy-to-understand message you can take into your marketing is pretty hard. It takes years of experience wading through the complexities of healthcare to find the core story, as well as a talent for messaging itself.

You know that old writer’s apology? — I would have written you a shorter letter, but I didn’t have the time. The quip (originally attributed to Blaise Pascal) has endured because it’s true: Distilling complex ideas down to their essence is very hard work that takes time and experience.

That said, I can offer some hope. By the end of this post, you’ll understand more about how to create great healthtech content than you did before.

Healthcare Is Not That Complex

Let’s start with the fact that much of healthcare boils down to two goals: taking care of patients or taking care of the people taking care of patients. Healthtech usually helps do both, enabling clinicians to better take care of patients or supporting those clinicians to do something faster, more efficiently, or simply better

The communication surrounding the tech should be as simple as those two details: caring for patients or supporting those who do.

The further you stray from those messages, the increasing likelihood you’re going to get into trouble with your marketing.

Let’s revisit another relevant adage: Every value proposition in business is either about saving you time or saving you money. Of course, in healthcare, many business propositions also help you make money, whether that’s billing for services, a better process for collections, or opening up new markets in telehealth. But why do these products, services, and software platforms exist in the first place? To take care of patients or support those who do.

So why does marketing in healthcare technology often seem so complex? Well, you’re partially to blame because it’s made that way by everyone who works in healthcare.

Factors Making Healthtech Marketing Seem So Complex

A big reason why healthtech marketing can often seem so complex is simply that the healthcare industry is itself akin to an intertwined thicket of competing departmental silos, overlapping regulations, and often outright crazy incentives. And the deeper you go, the more you realize how dizzyingly complex it can all get.

Healthcare is a little more than one-sixth of the U.S. economy, accounting for 17 percent of our country’s GDP. That’s in part because healthcare is so expensive, but it’s also because healthcare is a series of industries layered on top of other industries, usually one trying to help another through a particular regulatory hurdle.

I once saw a healthtech product whose marketing team had described it like this:

A dynamic web-based technology that provides hospitals with a powerful solution to effectively manage the time-sensitive and complex workflow and documentation requirements needed to satisfy RAC record requests, process determination letters and navigate the multi-tiered rebuttal and appeal process.

Did you even finish reading that?

This is what the product description was trying communicate: This is a software product that manages a workflow around avoiding a particular type of government audit, which itself exists to unearth fraud in Medicare billing — fraud that exists because of other regulatory complexities that make it easier than it should be to over bill the government for healthcare. 

Or, to simplify: This product helps your healthcare organization get better at managing RAC audits, which saves you time and money, so you can focus more on patient care.

Always Come Back to Patient Care in Your Messaging

Think of your marketing communications like a game of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, except Kevin Bacon is patient care. No matter where you are in the healthcare world, trace your path back to patient care in as few steps as possible.

After all, what is healthcare about if not taking care of patients or helping people live longer and healthier lives? And what is healthtech about if not leveraging the power of technology for the same purposes?

Like I said at the beginning: This isn’t easy. Simplifying the message for complex healthcare products takes experience, skill, and commitment.

Plus there are forces everywhere conspiring to muck it up, make it complicated, or divorce your product from your purpose. Don’t succumb to those forces. 

Just remember, the problem your healthtech addresses may feel incredibly complex because the problems in healthcare really are complicated. Yet the goal of your marketing is to connect the solution back to patient care and to tell the story of how it helps take care of patients or helps those who do.

Interested in creating remarkable content in healthtech? Download our eBook: Creating Remarkable Content: The Definitive Guide for HealthTech Companies.

Editor’s note: This content was originally published on February 23, 2020, and has been updated to maintain its relevance.

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About Ali Amoroso:

Ali Amoroso is Right Source’s director of content marketing. She crafts impactful content strategies that drive brand awareness, lead generation, and business growth. Ali received a bachelor’s degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in journalism and international studies . For the past decade, she has turned her reporting edge into a marketing one, much to her clients' gratitude.