Is healthcare marketing too positive?

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Healthcare marketing has become more and more common over the past few decades. Hospitals and clinics are spending thousands more each year to try and attract patients. Most of the time, this healthcare marketing is extremely positive in nature, featuring happy, healed patients telling stories of miraculous recoveries. But what about those who know that they will not have the same happy ending? Is healthcare marketing too positive?

The competitive side of healthcare

Positive healthcare marketing is everywhere. You see it on television ads, radio commercials and huge billboards. With increasing healthcare costs and patients being offered a range of choices, people are starting to shop around for different care.

Positive messages attract patients to hospitals and makes them feel as though their quality of care will be extremely high. This makes the healthcare field very competitive and as a result hospitals attempt to outdo each other.  

They are now having to compete with one another, and often this is through sugar-coated stories of happy, cured patients, that for some terminally ill people are quite unrealistic.

Giving false hope

Healthcare advertisements promote messages of optimism and of people beating the odds. They portray stories of people coming into a hospital and leaving completely cured or of those who are diagnosed with terminal illnesses announcing that they are going to fight.

While these messages are of course inspiring to those who have a chance it is completely different for those who don’t. For them, these advertisements can be filled with false hope.

For people with incurable and terminal diseases, messages about ‘beating cancer’ and ‘fighting’ are often impossible goals. In these positive advertisements, the underlying message could imply that those who are unable to beat such illnesses may just not be trying hard enough.

This is because the basis of marketing, in order to sell products and services, is to sell hope. In order to survive in such a competitive field, it is no surprise that hospitals and clinics have taken this approach. But for some, it has taken away any human element that patients often need.

For those suffering, sometimes all you really want is brutal honesty.