The “Feature List” Disconnect from Healthcare Problems

One of the big takeaways coming out of the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference is that most health IT companies are still spouting out the features they offer and very few actually talk about the problems they solve. This is a huge mistake for a health IT company, but it’s also a big reason why most hospital executives don’t want to hear from you.

As a healthcare executive you’re inundated with marketing and sales pitches and after a while they all start to look the same. Plus, many (some might say most) of those pitches require the hospital executive to try and translate a long list of features into the problems that executive is trying to solve. It’s no wonder that most hospital executives barely look at these pitches and often aren’t aware of the opportunities for innovation that exist for the problems they’re trying to solve.

Think about how many healthcare IT companies could list the following set of features in their sales and marketing:

  • Data Analytics
  • FHIR Enabled
  • HIPAA Compliant
  • EHR Integration
  • Machine Learning
  • Mobile Optimized
  • Real Time Processing
  • etc

I could keep going on, but you get the point. I’m reminded of something Shahid Shah said at our session at HIMSS. No one in healthcare has an interoperability problem. His point isn’t that interoperability isn’t important or valuable. His point was that no one is trying to solve interoperability. They have other problems they are trying to solve and data sharing (ie. interoperability) might be the solution. However, when they think about their problems and challenges interoperability is not on that list.

Hospital systems definitely have plenty of problems they’re trying to solve. Here’s just a few examples to give you a flavor of problems hospital executives are working to solve:

  • Improving HCAPHS Scores
  • Reducing Hospital Readmissions
  • Improving Provider Efficiency
  • Ensuring Accurate Patient Identification
  • Lowering Sepsis Numbers
  • etc

This list never ends. These are problems that hospital executives are working to solve and understanding which problems are vexing a hospital executive is key to getting them interested in the solutions. I think this small change would make it so hospital executives dread the wave of marketing and sales pitches a little less. The reality is that most of these executives are looking for great solutions. It’s just often hard for them to know what problems your company can really solve.

Of course, the next challenge is showing proof of your ability to solve the problem. However, at least that gets a hospital executive one step closer to finding solutions to their problems and challenges.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

1 Comment

  • John,

    I’ve done some retail sales of items that can be very expensive, and I was taught to show features – and the benefits that come from those features. Very simple concept, but it works. As in ‘I don’t care about all the …, I just want to know how it will help me’.


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