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7 Deadly Words of Healthcare Marketing

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, May 29, 2013

"It's gone from a survey to an engagement strategy," he says.

Before each employee survey, posters are put up around Dignity's hospitals pointing out results from last year's survey and how the hospital responded. There are also multiple ways employees can return the survey to increase participation.

"We set laptops all over [the hospitals] in kiosks," says Szablowski. "We also [provide it] on paper, in Spanish—whatever we have to do."

Dignity's focus on communicating effectively and precisely to its employees reflects its commitment to talk the same way to its patients.

Szablowski says he tries to avoid using the seven deadly words at all cost because while "comprehensive," as an example, means something to healthcare marketing professionals, it doesn't necessarily mean the same thing to patients, or consumers. A better description of "comprehensive," according to Szablowski is, "[having] the ability to successfully track all the points of care so we can make sure you're getting the right care, at the right time, and at the right place."

"The real key is that they're our words," he says of the list.

Now it's up to other healthcare marketing professionals to stop using them.


Jacqueline Fellows is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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3 comments on "7 Deadly Words of Healthcare Marketing"


Nirav Desai (5/30/2013 at 3:15 PM)
This is a great list. I agree that these are generally meaningless to patients, but they might have been useful for providers at a time when they were underused. Now they are so overused that they are undifferentiating. They also try to be so "comprehensive" that they don't convey real benefits. I think the challenge that many healthcare marketers have is that they want to say so much that they have to try to come up with all-encompassing words. Instead, if they could spend more time understanding their target audience's hot buttons, they could focus their message around just those and be much more specific and benefit-oriented.

eric brody (5/30/2013 at 9:54 AM)
Everyone involved in healthcare marketing – whether they're on client or agency side of the desk – should certainly appreciate and be able to relate to your ideas. Rather than comment on each of the "7 deadly words" and whether they should NEVER be used internally or externally [INVALID] I think the more important idea is that healthcare marketing can much more effectively connect with and engage audiences in more meaningful ways. Eric Brody President, Trajectory

Patrick T. Buckley (5/29/2013 at 5:30 PM)
Seven more deadly words of healthcare marketing: Seamless System Personalized Experienced State of the art World Class Compassionate