A journalist’s pet peeves

Wondering why no blog posts of late? I’m still shaking off my annual post-HIMSS hangover. A conference that big means I come home with story ideas out the wazoo (with accompanying tight deadlines), a full notepad or two, dozens of unread e-mails and generally a big pile of stuff to take care of. Then the second wave of inundation from PR types comes, wondering if I am going to write nice things about their clients. (The first wave—more like a tsunami—of course, is the pre-HIMSS stampede of “meet with us because we have the one magic bullet that’s going to fix all the problems in healthcare” e-mails.)

For some reason, I am on the general HIMSS attendee list, so vendors send me all these postcards for their products as if I were a potential customer. The cards usually go right into the trash. I did save a few, however—the ones that were in my mailbox after I returned from HIMSS. To the folks at LifeScan, BearingPoint, OnBase Healthcare Solutions, QuadraMed, Hewlett-Packard and GE Healthcare, you might want to think about mailing your solicitations a bit earlier next year. Just not to me.

If I do agree to meet with you at a future conference, do us both a favor and avoid the marketing buzzwords. I just ain’t interested. I was just about ready to strangle the next person who told me about the “value proposition” their “solutions” provide while being “transformational,” and how their “passion” makes them the “market leader” in the healthcare “vertical” or “space.”

Speaking of which, the following paragraph is taken verbatim from a press release I got last week:

“Our innovative software solutions use leading-edge imaging software technologies that accelerate market delivery for our OEM customers, while our end-user solutions improve our customers’ productivity and enhance the quality of patient care they provide.”


Bad PR writing: It’s spreading like a hospital-acquired infection.