More forbidden words of health IT marketing

You’re probably wondering why this blog was dark during last week’s HIMSS conference. Because this blog is not, I repeat, is not, my primary responsibility, nor is it a source of income for me. A lot of people have the idea that I’m nothing more than a blogger. I’m a professional journalist, have been for nearly 18 years.

If you want to read my coverage from HIMSS, go to FierceHealthIT and related publications. In fact, there’s a dedicated page for coverage of HIMSS10. Most, but not all, of the stories are mine.

To clear up some further misconceptions, I’d also like to refer you to the commentary I wrote in FierceHealthIT this week. It didn’t make it in to the newsletter because there was a publisher’s note in that slot, but it’s up on the Web. In this commentary, I vent. A lot. About once a year, I find it necessary to rant about PR nightmares I’ve had to endure. Consider yourself warned.

Of the nine HIMSS conferences I’ve covered, this year’s was by far the most grueling. Much of the angst is due to the crushing volume of e-mail I received requesting meetings, informing me of new products and—gasp—touting the fact that a company participated in the IHE Interoperability Showcase. Seriously, do you think I’m going to write a story about each individual company that was involved in the showcase?

The column also lists four trite words and phrases I’d like to see permanently stricken from all further health IT marketing:

  • Solution
  • Robust
  • “Fully HIPAA-compliant.” Products can’t be HIPAA-compliant. They can only provide the protections that HIPAA requires so the user can comply with HIPAA.
  • “Guarantee of meaningful use.” Along the same lines, a vendor can’t guarantee meaningful use of an EMR. As the phrase implies, it’s up to the user to use the EMR in a meaningful way.

This, I hope, is more than venting. I’d like it to be constructive criticism. At least one marketing professional, Lisa Rom of Symantec, seemed to enjoy my column, and sent me her additions to the list of Forbidden Words:

  • Seamless interoperability (her personal favorite)
  • New paradigm
  • Vendor neutral archive
  • Real time anything
  • Completely automated anything
  • Unlimited scalability

I really think I may be on to something here.