Affect, Public Relations

Tech Trends, Jargon and Patient Stories – How to Pitch Healthcare Media

By Jonelle Taylor | On October 17, 2017

From telehealth services to patient-driven EHR interoperability, tech innovation is becoming a main driver of the healthcare industry. With the industry becoming increasingly competitive, PR professionals need to understand what journalists are really looking for when covering the space – in particular, which trends are most important, and how to ditch the jargon and tell a meaningful, compelling story.

Affect recently moderated a panel with the PRSA-NY titled, “Meet the Media: Healthcare & Technology” where journalists from Modern Healthcare, Crain’s New York Business, Healthcare Informatics and CBS News shared their insights on how tech is impacting the healthcare industry, what’s hot, and the most effective ways PR pros can get on their radar. See below for some of the insider tips they shared:

Tech Trends to Keep an Eye On-

  • We focus on the business of healthcare delivery, and all the systems are evaluating ways to improve access to quality care and value of delivery through telehealth, EMRs and platforms that provide health services via mobile. – Robin Schatz, Assistant Managing Editor/Healthcare Editor, Crain’s New York Business
  • Everyone knows that doctors have had challenges adopting EHRs – tell me a story about a piece of innovative tech that’s changing the sentiment around technology that is highly useful, vs. about it being user friendly. We’re also interested in education around MACRA & MIPS, cybersecurity strategies and best practices, and next level data analytics. Blockchain is also relatively new, and I haven’t seen this kind of technology implemented in the healthcare space.Rajiv Leventhal, Managing Editor, Healthcare Informatics
  • EHR interoperability is a huge issue, so we’re following trends here. Telemedicine is also a big tech trend, as it could affect virtually every area of healthcare. I’m also interested to hear more about personalized medicine and innovations like CRISPR, and how tech can fit into the equation. – Erica Teichert, News Editor, Modern Healthcare
  • Gene sequencing and Big Data topics have my attention right now. People want to find ways to simplify the process of diagnosing diseases and develop solutions that give people better healthcare decisions, faster. – Brian Mastroianni, Freelancer (Everyday Health) and former Sci-Tech Editor at Large for CBS News

Reporters across the board are also following regulatory updates, including the move to value-based pay and new reporting requirements, and how healthcare organizations or independent physicians are struggling with or adapting to these requirements. They’re often looking for sources who can offer a perspective on these topics.

Storytelling Best Practices

  • Adding a personal, “human element” to a pitch can be highly effective – it makes it more interesting and compelling than a simple press release or pitch talking about a piece of healthcare tech. Having a patient spokesperson can also make the story more relatable and effective, especially for some of the consumer health publications. – Brian Mastroianni, Freelancer (Everyday Health) and former Sci-Tech Editor at Large for CBS News
  • Make the story relatable, and clearly show how something is unusual, impactful or an industry first. If the story is complex, consider, how would you explain this to your grandmother or best friend? But remember at Modern Healthcare, we want to understand how the technology or story affects the business of healthcare. – Erica Teichert, News Editor, Modern Healthcare
  • Don’t worry about being too complex if you’re pitching a trade that covers those kinds of topics. I don’t mind technical pitches with heavy medical jargon – it’s our job to know those terms. Just make sure our readers will care about the story you’re trying to tell. Rajiv Leventhal, Managing Editor, Healthcare Informatics
  • A great story has a really good human interest element, combined with the science and business / financial dimensions. We’re always looking for stories with broader reach that can rise above our general daily newsletter story. – Robin Schatz, Assistant Managing Editor/Healthcare Editor, Crain’s New York Business

Things to Keep in Mind when Reaching Out

  • Think about your elevator pitch – limit jargon and keep your email concise. Reporters appreciate a pitch that gets to the point quickly and is void of a lot of filler or unnecessary points.
  • Every publication has a unique coverage area, from patients to CEOs to CISOs, so do your research! Understand the outlet and its audience before you reach out. And remember that local publications, such as Crain’s, absolutely need a local or regional hook.
  • Exclusives are important across the board and can play a role in coverage.
  • Make your subject line interesting – healthcare reporters get hundreds of emails and a catchy subject line can play a big role in whether they read your pitch.

Thanks again to our panel of journalists for sharing their industry perspectives and tips with our audience!

Jonelle Taylor

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