The Marketing of Healthcare

December 8th, 2011 By: Betty Long

I love words and language as much as the next gal.  Really.  I studied journalism in college and have always enjoyed writing.  Part of the reason I enjoy producing this blog.  So lately I've been thinking about all of the words and terms that we use every day in healthcare—even some of the new ones.  And I have to laugh.  Or at least chuckle.  Consider these two "new" approaches to surgery.

"Minimally invasive surgery"—-Somewhere in a surgeon's office, there is a conversation going on between doctor and patient where the discussion of surgery is on the table. (No pun intended).  The phrase "minimally invasive surgery" is offered as one of the options….can you imagine the patient saying, "Oh, no thanks, Dr. Smith, I'd prefer to have the maximally invasive surgery!" 

"Nerve sparing surgery" —-Same conversation in another surgeon's office only this time it's another body part. The surgeon says to his patient, "One of the procedures we now use is a nerve sparing surgery which minimizes the amount of trauma done to your nerves."  Again, do we think patients are stupid?  Who in their right mind is going to say, "What? Nerve sparing surgery?  Forget it, doc.  I want as much damage done to my nerves as possible!  Bring on the nerve damaging surgery!"

It reminds of whoever writes the Hallmark cards that I buy.  Some healthcare marketing executives are sitting in their offices and coming up with these terms.   Their charge?  To try to use words to influence the behavior of the customers.  Guess it's working.

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