AFTER MONTHS OF FAXES AND PHONE CALLS confirming information with nearly 1,000 companies serving healthcare with IT products and services, we were still reluctant to put this issue of Healthcare Informatics to bed. The 1999 Resource Guide is our largest ever, a full-court press that began in the heat of summer and lasted until well after all the leaves were down. We wanted this annual Resource Guide to be worthy of its name, yet the result is the most complete and accurate…snapshot…of an industry any publication has taken a season to make.
As the information poured in and space in the issue diminished, the editors argued over a hierarchy of inclusion: If we have to cut, what should go first? Support areas like Web sites? Or vendor and product listings? (We ended up tossing some art but we weren’t happy about it.)
How do we decide what to publish and not to publish each month?
We at Healthcare Informatics are acutely aware that our constituencies abide in uneasy (and sometimes unfriendly) alliance. Our 45,000-some readers occupy the same editorial consciousness as the thousand or so companies that supply to them, yet they come to our pages with sometimes wildly contradictory expectations. While CIOs want to know the bad news about a colleague’s experience with a product or vendor, that vendor has a million success stories to tell--why won’t the magazine print them? The vendor and hundreds of others have paid through their advertising to introduce themselves to our readers. In our hierarchy of editorial inclusion, shouldn’t they sit on top? Frankly, no.
Editors are raised to be advocates of readers, who in our case are CIOs, CFOs, CEOs and IS managers at healthcare organizations. Every story idea comes to our editorial meetings to be measured against readers’ needs and interests, against the list of topics and technologies that we update over the course of a year, and against our own gut-hunches about what’s important to cover. The stories that meet these criteria are already too numerous to publish. The bloodletting that follows sometimes feels like our own.
Like all magazines, the more advertising we get, the more editorial pages we have to work with and the better the job we do covering the industry in depth and breadth. If we spend editorial pages on topics with limited interest to our readers, or that our research says they won’t read--first the readers go away, then the advertisers. Then the magazine. Our existence depends on calling it right.
So at each story suggestion we mumble our mantra: Why is this important to our readers? Why is it more important than something else? If it measures up, you’ll see it here.
That’s how we serve both our constituencies best. If our readers trust us, our advertisers are assured that their message not only gets to the decision-makers they seek but that it’s trusted too. Everybody wins.
We thank our readers and advertisers for a fabulous year. From all of us at Healthcare Informatics, have a happy and prosperous New Year!