We Have a Communication Problem
Are you speaking the right language? Translation, Storytelling & Sales
Thanks for the overwhelming love these past few weeks - it’s been amazing connecting with you all and learning about your incredible, diverse experiences and perspectives.
And passions for healthtech ✨
Just so you know what type of excellent company you’re in…
You’ve joined an amazing crew of Investors, Entrepreneurs, Doctors, Industry Experts, Students, Researchers, Allied health professionals and enthusiasts from across the US, UK, Israel, Sweden, Doha, and of course, Australia who consume this lil publication…
Gosh, I love the magic of the internet ❤️
Bringing like-minded souls together.
Speaking of, if you haven’t yet joined but want to just hit that button👇
Which leads nicely into today’s topic, and something which is constantly top of mind for me in healthcare…
The Problem of Connection & Communication
💡It’s Not What You Know, or What You’re Doing, It's How and Why This Matters to Someone Else
Something I am talking with people about on the daily is the investor, clinician and entrepreneur misalignment in healthtech
Healthtech is complicated & confusing with endless components.
And simplifying and communicating these concepts into a concise story of value, is a real hurdle for healthtech companies to getting external buy-in, and capital. When investors aren’t experts on the industry, and you are competing with straight forward concepts packaged into neat little boxes, it’s a serious challenge.
As it’s said in startup land - If you can’t explain it to a child or your grandmother, you’re not doing it right
Ok, maybe not always - but you should be able to
Communication is the foundation of human interaction, industries, progress, and success.
Yet the failure to communicate, connect and collaborate effectively is one of the biggest downfalls in healthcare (do fax machines exist anywhere other than museums and hospitals?).
Good communication helps you get your message to those who need to hear it - effectively and efficiently, in a way they understand.
And creates the foundation for building trust (the most valuable asset) and buy-in to your mission.
In healthcare, it has the potential to result in fast, effective treatment, increased compliance and optimal outcomes for both professionals and patients. Reducing cost, suffering, errors and needless labour.
But fractured systems, siloing, segregation, processes exclusivity, communication methods and endless languages have created a serious barrier.
For now, I’m focusing on the human part of the problem
It’s clearly not just in the clinical setting, but between all stakeholders - doctors and patients, hospitals and providers, developers and clinicians, investors and entrepreneurs, insurers and startups, national health bodies and the public… the list goes on.
Obviously, each has its own intricate layers and unique barriers.
But there is one universal theme...
We’re failing to meet people where they are, or translate information a way which the other party can both access and understand. Throw this together with misalignment and misinformation and we have a proper party.
Now, there is no shortage of communication. We are bombarded with so much noise, it’s deafening. And can’t easily filter these volumes to find what’s true, or relevant.
The more you talk, the less people hear.
Yet on the quest of creating alignment, we often get caught in lengthy explanations pleading our case.
⚡Healthtech - Are We All Just Lost in Translation?
Bringing together the most complex industries and all walks of life - medicine, investing, tech, policy, regulation, privacy, insurance, and, the most complicated component of all, people.
Each operates in its own unique language - with specific jargon, terminology and worlds people become immersed in. No wonder we’re struggling.
What is normal and second nature for you, makes no sense to an outsider. And the longer you’re in it, the harder it is to step back and see it the way an outsider would.
We forget that what is familiar to us is often foreign to others.
I experience this when I talk to my doctor friends, and I am sure you have too at some point in a doctors office… they real off a quick collection of words so casually as for them it is as familiar as breathing. But.. for the rest of us, in a split second, we’ve become completely lost.
It’s a right challenge - But more than ever we all need to navigate this minefield together and stop stumbling blind.
By operating in the comfort of our own arena, and not bridging the divide to bring in the other players into the game, we are cutting our individual and collective chances of success.
Wasting time, money, resources and talent.
A Few Key Pain Points
Entrepreneurs ↔️ Investor
Entrepreneurs ➡️ Relevant people in Industry & Organisations
Developers/Tech Team ↔️ Docs/Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs ↔️ Health Professionals
Investor understanding, education and risk tolerance
❓The Source of These Struggles…
Keyword - Effective.
Yes, it’s taught in med school. But we all know what we learn in school doesn’t always translate to the real world… (sorry docs, I know many of you are great at it)
Effective communication leads to understanding Understanding leads to alignment, collaboration, action and outcomes
It’s A Marketing Problem
Dirty word, I know.
But, marketing, when done well, just helps you build the best product and experience, reaching those who your solution is actually for. Without marketing, you cannot fulfil your purpose - Or help anyone.
It’s the missing link between the stakeholders, businesses & communities in health.
Typically it makes many healthcare providers, doctors and entrepreneurs squirm. It’s the devil. Perhaps because the old traditional type appears to oppose the data-driven and evidence-based approach on which people solving these purpose-based problems tend to operate. And of course the bad rep from the many tricksters who sell false visions and products through deception and pretty packaging.
I fell into this camp for the longest time. But the reality is, build it and they will come no longer applies. And I have come to realise it’s the special sauce
No matter how good your product, if no one sees, understands, or wants it - it may as well not exist
Healthcare is not exempt.
Do you actually know your Market? Patients? Customers? Stakeholders?
Who is your audience? Who do you REALLY need to reach? Do you connect with them in a language they understand? Address their needs and wants? Where they already are?
This is what marketing solves.
Taking Multiple Languages, Perspectives & Complex Concepts, and Simplify Them Into Digestible and Enjoyable Stories Is the Ultimate Superpower 🦸♀️
Over the past year, I’ve spoken to hundreds of organisations, each grappling with different versions of the same struggle...
How do we effectively reach our desired audience?
Entrepreneurs trying to engage investors. Doctors failing to communicate with patients. Programs and health movements failing to reach the public or potential customers. Products and clinics failing to engage their target market. Healthtech founders failing to communicate. Industry bodies failing to find the right products. Healthtech companies reaching the right person to make things happen…
You get the picture
It’s a classic case in healthcare, due to the foreign nature, more often than not we are not presenting the problem in a way that makes the other party understand why they should value it, or the true opportunity for them. Or, even targeting the right person.
A big part of this is the embryonic state of our ecosystem, still very much undergoing development.
But the question remains… How do we bridge these gaps and start to speak the same language?
🧠 Building API’s To Other People’s Brains
In an Episode of the “Invest Like the Best”, Sam Hinke, Founder of Eighty-Seven Capital, credits his success to trying to figure out “how to build the API to the other person’s brain”.
Never has a concept hit the nail on the head and been so needed by healthcare (apart from possibly actual APIs).
How do we do this?
Meet people where they are - physically, mentally & emotionally
Decode what matters to them and why - goals, problems, values, desires & needs
Shape your language in a way they can hear it - or get a good translator/s
Define your edge clearly in a way that aligns with what matters to them
📚 It’s All About Storytelling
Once we know what matters and why for our audience, we need to wrap it up in a neat little engaging, pretty package - also known as a story.
Your ability to story tell is make or break. Especially early on.
You are selling yourself and your vision of the future.
We’ve all experienced draining, dull or false sales pitches. Is there anything worse?!
How quickly do you disengage?
Why are they going to pay attention and buy into what you’re saying?
What value are you providing?
”It doesn't matter what you say. It matters what they hear, and it matters how they feel” - Sam Hinkie
We need to crack the right combo of audience, medium, and value - and convey our message in clear, simple terms, ideally with a sprinkle of entertainment, evidence, and emotion to make it engaging.
It is damn hard, but it’s the hardest things in life that result in the greatest rewards
📈 A Note On Risk & ROI
Effective communication also provides clarity and visibility - creating reassurance, comfort, and reducing perceived risk (which is always big and scary, but often seems far worse when you don’t understand it).
With the high risk, regulation and complexity in health, the ability to derisk through evidence for patients, institutions and investments is essential. And perhaps, this is what has kept this little black box of an industry in the state it currently is.
✨ The Communication, Community and Education Opportunity
So why am I writing this?
The future lies in the intersection of effective communication, collaboration and community
It’s my mission to help make healthtech more fun and accessible by creating connection, communication and understanding between all the different stakeholders in this field which is so siloed, and disconnected.
Currently, there’s accelerators and intimidators playing in this space doing a great job, and excellent examples abroad (Andreessen Horowitz, Startup Health & Rockhealth … to name a few ) but in Aus we still largely lack visibility, completeness, clarity, and the universal resources of a cohesive industry.
And we can do better 💪
With more people, programs, content & people to bridge these gaps, providing connection, translation, and integration.
Now, we have an opportunity to work together to create a more connected, cohesive and collaborative healthtech ecosystem. Built upon shared understanding, access, and good communication. Enabling everyone to be involved, access what they need, and thrive.
What communication and understanding difficulties are you experiencing, or have you overcome? Are there any tools, people, orgs or methods which have helped?
Hit reply or drop a comment below and let me know
Until next time
Shoutout to ANDHealth, Talking Healthtech, The Medtech Actuator, The George Institute & UNSW Founders who are doing great things in this space!