Breaking Down the Tower of Babel


As the Chief Marketing Officer for GE Healthcare IT, I spend a lot of time thinking about language and identity.  I think about who we want to be as a vendor and partner, about what we want to stand for, and how we want to communicate all of that to the marketplace.

One of the biggest challenges we face in as a marketing team at GE Healthcare IT is that our business sits in a nexus of complexity – healthcare and software.  Healthcare in many regards has a language all of its own – clinical integration, care pathways, revenue cycle management, population health.  On the flip side, software engineers can talk about the intricacies of database schema, workflow engines, and security frameworks.

If you were to ask my wife – who does not work in healthcare or software – to define any of these terms, she would be challenged.   Yet, we have to communicate our value in a very complex space in very simple way.

I’m not asking you to feel sorry for me or my colleagues – far from it.  There is no other industry that I would rather be in today.  But in order to clearly communicate how our solutions help you improve clinical and financial outcomes, in order to get your attention as a prospective customer, or in order to continue to demonstrate value to you as an existing customer, my team and I have to “de-geek the speak.”

That’s one of the reasons that we created this blog.  We wanted to create a forum to have an open, transparent dialogue with you.  But this simple, direct approach needs to extend beyond this blog.  It needs to extend to all of our marketing materials, to our sales team, and to our executives.

Every day, I challenge my team to think about the positive outcomes that our solutions are generating for customers, and then figure out how to communicate them in clear, cogent manner.  When I look at presentations, I look for the concise storyline that conveys our value to you.  Even when I look at our website, I am checking to make sure that the layout is easy for you to find what you’re looking for, that the videos are engaging, and the message is sharp.

It’s all too easy to fall in love with the complexity of our story.  Few markets are more dynamic than healthcare IT. That’s why we’ve re-focused the GE HCIT strategy around one key concept — integrated care.  We launched this back at Centricity LIVE in April, and over the past six months, we’ve strived every day to simplify our offerings into a suite of solutions – enterprise imaging, care delivery management, population health, and financial management — that make it easy for anyone to understand the value that we deliver.

We believe that no one needs a solution unless they have a problem to solve.  As a healthcare IT vendor, we know we’re not going to improve the quality of care or improve financial margins on our own.  Rather, we’re going to give you the actionable insight you need to do that.  And it’s our job to make it as easy as possible for you to understand exactly how we’re going to deliver that insight.  It’s not an easy job – but it’s a cool one.

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