By Karrie Hoover, WriterGirl Key Account Manager
I spend the majority of my days reviewing digital healthcare content— social media posts, blogs and web copy. So, when my husband walks in after a long day’s work, I’m greeted with a smirk and a “Hi, Honey. What did you diagnose us with today?”
It’s hard to look at so much content and not get caught up in relating everything I read to my own family’s health. While my husband and I joke about it, here’s the great thing:
It means healthcare systems are succeeding in making their content more relatable.
How do I know?
- I understand it. Science isn’t my field — but much of the healthcare content I review is approachable and easy to read.
And, I’m reassured daily by our clients. They’re making plain language an integral part of their overall marketing strategy. When content is clear and easy to read, I can find what I need faster. It also makes it easier to explain things to my mother or young son, when needed.
“We have to move away from references we’ve grown used to as an academic medical center. We have to stop using terms like multi-disciplinary teams, comprehensive care and collaborative approach. They may make us sound smart, but do us no good if potential patients don’t understand what that means,” says Chris DiMacale – Assistant Digital Marketing Director. DiMacale ensured Emory Healthcare’s recent web overhaul built on the brand’s reputation while making content easier to read.
- I feel they’re talking directly to me. One of the first things I learned as a WriterGirl was to think of digital content as a two-way conversation. Why address the masses when you can make a strong, personal connection with each reader? That’s what happens when you write in first and second person. The cold and institutional “XYZ Hospital” or “The patient should…” become warmer and easier to understand with “you” and “we.” Besides, I don’t really like to think of myself as a patient — even when I am one! I feel more connected on organizations’ social media, websites and even phone calls when I feel like they’re engaging me in a one-on-one conversation.
- I don’t feel like I’m reading an encyclopedia, a medical textbook or a corporate report. I’m smart. I have a great vocabulary. I love to read. That doesn’t mean I want to feel like I’m cramming for a college exam… which is how some of the worst health content makes me feel. That kind of reading is especially hard when I’ve had a long day … my family comes home, the dog barks, the phone rings and I need to get dinner on the table. I just want to find my answer fast! Jerry Griffin, Director of Web & Digital Services at Penn State Health’s Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, has the right idea. Griffin stated in a recent presentation, “It’s our job to help patients connect the dots.” When health systems make it easy for me, I appreciate that! I feel respected and that wins my trust.