How to Tell Irresistible Stories About Healthcare Technology

February 8, 2019

In the healthcare world, every day brings new technological marvels. Some of the latest innovations include an artificial pancreas, Apple’s top-secret research on noninvasive diabetes monitoring, and a wearable device that stimulates a specific part of the brain to help people lose weight.

It feels like a sci-fi novel has become our reality. These technologies bring with them the potential to revolutionize the health of millions.

But with those incredible opportunities comes a challenge. It’s up to marketers not to just understand these complex technologies, but to translate them into terms others can easily appreciate. If patients or healthcare professionals can’t grasp the tangible benefits, it’s tough to convince them to embrace the technology.

This goes whether you’re trying to connect with healthcare professionals using the technology in their day-to-day work, or the public who will use the technology (like wearables) themselves.

Let’s talk about how to do it now!

Translate Cool New Tech Features into Real-World Benefits

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This is one of our most important roles as healthcare marketers. Technology has gotten so advanced that, unless you have formal education in the field, it’s hard to even understand it. All the jargon starts to sound like a foreign language.

We can better connect with our audiences by seeing ourselves as not just communicators but translators. It’s up to us to reframe all the latest features on that cool new device in terms of real-world benefits. Healthcare professionals need more motivation to embrace new technology beyond claims that it’s “the latest and the greatest.” The same goes for patients looking for the best health outcomes.

Consider the FreeStyle Libre system from Abbott. This device, a glucose monitoring system, measures glucose levels using a sensor on the user’s upper arm. Instead of talking about all the software and engineering prowess that went into the device, Abbott’s newsroom focuses on benefits. There’s no need to draw blood. The sensor works through clothes, making tests discreet and convenient. And the data shows glucose-level trends in addition to real-time readings, which can help improve diabetes management.

Your audience doesn’t need to necessarily understand how everything works, but they do need clarity on how the technology will improve their lives. Also, notice how Abbott expands beyond purely health benefits and touches on others like convenience and avoiding embarrassment. These can work to motivate change as well.

Use Technology to Explain Technology

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One of the most significant shifts in the healthcare landscape has been patient empowerment. Thanks to resources online, it’s easier than ever for people to take research into their own hands. Education and exploring treatment options are only a click away.

This is awesome because it helps people make the best decisions for their health while giving us opportunities to develop meaningful relationships through content marketing. But when it comes to the latest technology, how we present this content is crucial.

New technology is marvelous…but it can be dense. We can’t just post pamphlets or scientific studies online and call it good. Not when we’re competing against busy schedules, endless distractions, and dwindling attention spans.

Good news: we can make this new healthcare technology more compelling by using a little marketing technology of our own!

Marketing of today has given us many options at our fingertips beyond dense text. You could demo the device in a YouTube video, summarize those latest study findings in an infographic, and educate people in bite-sized personalized emails. You could also explore new platforms, like Northwell Health did when they shared patient stories for their new pediatric kidney transplant program on the popular website Medium.

Marketing technology helps you:

  • Break up a lot of information across multiple interactions
  • Build virtual communities of like-minded people
  • Personalize communications to create a one-on-one feel
  • Represent complex topics in a visual format

All it takes is a willingness to embrace these new technologies, track your metrics, and focus on what works.

Emphasize How Technology Improves but Doesn’t Replace, the Human Aspects of Healthcare

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A lot of people experience a knee-jerk reaction as soon as technology gets involved. They hear terms like “algorithms” and “software,” and they start to worry that they’ll be treated like just another figure on a spreadsheet.

This concern is understandable when it comes to health. Our genetic makeup, symptom history, and unique lifestyles demand a personalized approach. We aren’t just looking for better health outcomes; we’re looking for patient-provider relationships that make us feel understood and valued.

Marketers are in the perfect position to address this concern. We can assure our audience that these new technologies aren’t meant to replace the human aspects of healthcare. They can actually make them even more meaningful.

Take a glucose-monitoring app, for example. The old approach might have providers spending half the patient’s appointment testing and assessing results. But now, with levels uploaded between visits via the cloud, providers have a chance to analyze everything beforehand. This frees up more time during appointments to field questions or lend a sympathetic ear.

We also have to be mindful of generational differences. Connecting with an audience of seniors or baby boomers, many of whom are more reluctant to embrace technology than tech-savvy millennials, requires us to tailor our approach by focusing on ease of use and convenience.

Your Turn

The potential of new healthcare technology is staggering. It’s up to us marketers to explain just how much it can change people’s lives. Even if professionals instead of the patients themselves will use the technology, it’s still important to get their buy-in because they’re researching and consuming information like never before.

This is a challenge, but it’s also an incredible opportunity.

Overcoming it starts with embracing the latest marketing technology. By choosing strategies that fit your audience’s busy lifestyle, you’ll make new technology compelling while still maintaining a human touch.

What has been your biggest challenge when marketing new healthcare tech? What have you tried that has worked well?

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