AI Healthcare Startups: Thinking Outside the Black Box

AI healthcare startups must earn trust—from providers, patients, and potential talent—to stand the test of time. Here’s how these companies can use language to channel longevity.

AI healthcare startups need strong messages.

In an industry where scammers have eroded public trust and health fads—ranging from silly to downright dangerous—tend to come and go in the blink of an eye, the last thing an AI healthcare startup wants is to be seen as nothing more than a trend.

But those looking to play the long game encounter a unique set of challenges: earning customer trust, educating consumers on their complex products, dealing with slow-moving regulations, and fighting for talent, to name a few.

AI healthcare startups can use language to their advantage in many ways—from helping audiences understand their products, to building an airtight team, to joining industry conversations. Here’s how developing a strong brand voice and leveraging the power of words can help spur longevity in a competitive market:

How do you teach an impossible subject?

Sometimes referred to as the “black box,” the decision-making process of machine-learning AI models is often unknown even to the programmers who made the model. It’s a difficult subject to explain to people unfamiliar with the intricacies of the technology. Plus, there are plenty of misconceptions abounding in the popular consciousness. If end users don’t fully understand your product, how can they trust it?

To tackle this challenge and build trust, healthcare startups need to create a robust array of resources that can land with different types of audiences: for instance, an individual healthcare provider who may be interested in using an AI device to assist in diagnosis of patients vs. the patient who may be encountering the device as part of their diagnosis or treatment.

Different end users will have different questions. Patients may wonder: Is this device safe? How does it work? Have there been trials? Healthcare providers may need a deeper dive into the data. They’ll also want to know the benefits your product could bring to their practice from a business perspective.

Arterys, the first company authorized by the FDA to use AI-powered cloud computing technology in a clinical setting, has a section of its website entirely dedicated to resources for healthcare professionals, patients, and curious members of the public. It includes clinical evidence, case studies, a blog, and even a video miniseries explaining how AI can add value in clinical settings. There’s even a page dedicated to “misconceptions about cloud computing” for radiologists who may be on the fence.

Take the time to assemble an array of easy-to-locate educational resources backed by data and real-life scenarios. A little transparency goes a long way when it comes to building trust

For high-converting copy and content, get in touch with MarketSmiths today.

Attracting top talent requires a strong message

Healthcare startups need to source experts from vastly different arenas. To survive, they need a business-savvy C-suite, AI technology experts, and clinicians.

“Every specialty in medicine requires deep knowledge and experience with the workflows and nuances that only a front-line provider typically will learn,” says Alan S. Young, in AI in healthcare startups and special challenges. On the other hand, healthcare startups must also have non-clinical business experts on their teams throughout decision-making processes, as catching the eye of large healthcare operations and raising funds for research and development is no small task.

Healthcare startups may find themselves fighting for talent. Exceptional prospects with data science skills tend to gravitate towards flashy giants like Google and Meta. Then, there are other startups to contend with. As of October 22, 2022, the FDA has authorized 521 medical devices using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Offering a competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits package is a great start, but to stand out in a sea of startups, you’re going to need to go a step further. Use the power of words to your advantage in these ways: 

  • Develop a strong and unique brand voice—one that is confident, but doesn’t overpromise.
  • Clearly articulate your mission on your website to attract potential hires who are on the same page. 
  • Make sure your website—especially your careers page—is up-to-date and on brand.
  • Write enticing job descriptions that get candidates excited about working for your company.

Showcasing your professionalism, enthusiasm, and validity goes a long way when attracting talent. Don’t treat your website, job descriptions, and communications as an afterthought.

Successful companies take part in important conversations

AI technology has the power to significantly change the way we experience the world—especially in diagnosing and treating illness. But has that time come yet? AI technology is advancing faster than regulatory bodies can keep up with, leading to ongoing questions regarding accuracy and ethics even as the technology gains popularity. 

ChatGPT is a great example. As writers and business leaders jumped to churn out new content using the AI writing bot, some questions regarding ethics arose. Companies scrambled to figure out how to protect trade secrets or NDA-barred information and had to take extra care to ensure they were providing accurate information—as the bot is known to slip up in its research. 

In June of 2022, the European Parliament published Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare: Applications, Risks, and Ethical and Societal Impacts, a paper that argues that AI medical devices need to be evaluated within specific domains of healthcare, as different sets of ethics apply. Rather than shy away from industry-wide conversations like this one, startups should honestly weigh in on the accuracy and ethical implications of using AI technology in the healthcare space. When they do this, they become thought leaders.

A health tech company at the forefront of this is In partnership with Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, the company is running a 3-year innovation lab studying the accuracy of AI algorithms in detecting abnormalities in medical imaging. At the end of the lab, researchers hope to be able to provide guidance to clinicians on best practices for adapting these types of technologies in their practices. 

A cancer screening startup got an assist with great copy

A medical technology startup, Ezra used the latest technology to screen patients for prostate cancer. Unfortunately, its website didn’t match these ambitions—it was too serious, and risked alienating the at-risk patients Ezra was trying to attract. But after approaching MarketSmiths, Ezra soon got a website it could be proud of. Interviewing a number of SMEs, we dug deep into the science of cancer diagnosis—while keeping copy upbeat and approachable. Between that and help with social media and SEO, we’ve helped transform Ezra into one of the most impressive healthcare firms around—and kept their audience safe from the scourge of cancer. 

> Read the full case study

Develop a strong brand voice with MarketSmiths

AI technology moves at an exponential pace, and startups that are revolutionary in April might seem old hat by December. But a strong vision and a clear mission will last longer than simple novelty. By investing in educational resources, attracting the right talent, and getting involved in larger conversations, startups can withstand the test of time—and prove that they’re more than just a trend.

Looking to up your marketing game in the healthcare space? MarketSmiths has helped companies—from medical technology startups to pharmaceutical brands to healthcare software platforms—develop their brand’s voice, raise audience awareness, and connect with their customers through branding decks, web copy, SEO-optimized blog posts, and more. Ready to get started? Contact the MarketSmiths team today.

Caitlin McQuade

Caitlin McQuade

Caitlin is a theatre-person-turned-copywriter with a deep love for good storytelling. In her stint as a freelancer, she wrote everything from corporate blog copy to a screenplay adaptation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It. When Caitlin isn’t writing, you can usually find her at a play or concert, checking out a new coffee shop, or exploring the city.

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