If you would like to share your expertise in Healthcare Cost Containment, we would be happy to talk with you. Healthcare Cost Containment is always on the look out for feature articles, case studies, charts/graphs, and tools related to strategic cost containment in healthcare organizations.

Queries

Authors should send a one- or two-paragraph summary of their proposed article idea to editor Karen Thomas (kthomas@hfma.org). Previously unpublished article manuscripts can also be sent for our attention. 

Healthcare Cost Containment Writing Tips

Below are some points to keep in mind as you write the article that you are contributing to HFMA's Healthcare Cost Containment newsletter.

If you have any questions about these suggestions, please contact the newsletter's editor, Karen Thomas (kthomas@hfma.org). 

 

 Keep the audience in mind. CFOs, COOs, and healthcare finance professionals at hospitals and health systems are the main audience. Other readers will include hospital IT managers, clinical managers, supply chain leaders, and materials management professionals. A hospital CFO who subscribes to the newsletter may pass your article along to clinicians, supply chain leaders, or IT managers, when relevant.

 Think magazine style. Write like Health Leaders or Modern Healthcare rather than the Harvard Business Review. We want the newsletter to have a magazine feel-both in the design and writing style. A conversational, newsy tone is best. You want to sound authoritative, but not too academic. Another tip: Try to keep your sentences and paragraphs fairly short-like you'd see in a feature magazine article.

 Refrain from promoting your company or your company's products or solutions. HFMA cannot directly promote any one company or product. So, please do not mention the name of any company, consultant, or organization within the title or body of the article. Also, please do not include the name of any product that your company sells or promotes. When a product or company needs to be referred to, describe it in general terms so that the reader gets a sense of what you mean. For instance, you might say "a consulting company that specializes in supply chain management" or an "inventory management software."

 Please do include your name, company/organization, and email address at the end of your article in a short biography. For instance: "Charles Smith is Senior Executive Director of XYZ Consulting in Omaha, Nebraska. You can contact Mr. Smith at csmith@yahoo.com."

 Write an article that can be quickly scanned by busy executives. Hospital executives and managers are busy people and have little time to read. As you write your article, imagine a hospital CFO reading your article while she's riding the elevator or waiting for a meeting to start. You have two minutes to get your points across to her. Here are some ways to do this:

  • Suggest an article title that would grab a hospital CFO's interest and give her a quick understanding of what the article is about.
  • Get to the point quickly-preferably within the first paragraph. What is the main point or points of your article? What are you going to prove, describe, explain, or demonstrate in your article?
  • Take it as a given that your reader knows all about the financial woes facing health care. Most also know why hospitals need to pay attention to reducing costs in the supply chain. So, you can skip right over these points-and get to the specifics of your article.
  • Try to include at least two subheads. The subheads should quickly sum up what will follow in the next section.
  • Make use of bulleted lists or check lists, whenever possible.
  • Skim your own article before submitting it. Or ask someone else to skim it. Read only the headline, subheads, and first sentence of each paragraph. Do you come away with a good sense of what the article is saying?

 Show rather than tell. In other words, give examples that help get your points across, especially complicated points. Real-life examples are best. But even hypothetical "for instances" can help readers understand complex points. Examples are especially important in any type of how-to article or description.

 Please avoid buzzwords as much as possible. If you must use a buzzword, please explain exactly what you mean when you use it.

 Include relevant data when possible. Whenever possible, please provide data that shows actual dollars saved, percentage of A/R improved, percentage of improvement in clinical indicators, etc. Remember, your main audience is hospital financial officers. So, they are interested in whether a particular solution provides real results.

 Provide charts or graphs, if applicable. A picture speaks a thousand words, as they say. If you don't have a chart or graph readily available, could one be produced? We are aiming to provide at least one chart per article, whenever possible.

 Avoid "consultantese." Try not to use language or terminology that is only known in your own organization or by your clients. If you must use such terms, please explain them so that the reader understands what you mean.

 Fret not over grammar and style issues. The newsletter editor can fix any grammar mistakes. But please do go back over your article before you turn it in to make sure all your sentences make sense.

Publication Date: Thursday, May 29, 2008