healthcare awards

4 award pitfalls to watch out for

By Chad Van Alstin

Watch out for these 4 healthcare award application pitfalls 

Winning an award is a big deal, especially in the health tech and life sciences space. The exposure not only earns a company, thought leader, or product media attention, but the prestige of an award also carries bragging rights that open doors for new partnerships and customers across the healthcare ecosystem. As with anything coveted in this world, winning an award is hard work and not everyone gets to leave with a trophy. However, a great application will maximize the chances of winning. 


Nearly every healthcare award requires a written application – a chance to inform the judges on who you are, what you do, and why you deserve to win. If you want an award application to stand out from all of the others in the stack, it’s best to identify these all-too-common errors and remedy them before you hit submit.  

  1. Judges are not customers

While there is no doubt your healthcare company is transforming the world and ushering in a new era of simplicity and peace of mind, now is not the time to say that. Yes, you want to brag a little bit and make sure judges can identify the importance of your work, but that should be done without making a full-on sales presentation. 

Judges are not the same audience as customers. You’ll want to avoid internal messaging and corporate jargon in favor of facts. What gap are you filling in? What is your expertise? What makes you unique? Answer these questions and more, but do so without subjecting your reader to an ad. 

  1. Don’t be long-winded

The maximum word count is not a goalpost. Remember, judges have to actually read all of these award applications before selecting finalists. You want to be sure to respect their time. In other words, don’t just write a bunch of extra sentences because you can. Sometimes, less is more. Answering questions thoroughly and concisely is often the best approach, especially considering most award applications have multiple, often overlapping, questions. There will be ample time to expound upon your answers and explain why you deserve to win. 

  1. Stop repeating yourself

Lowering the word count also ensures you aren’t answering multiple questions with the same information. All too often I’ll read an award application and the answers to question 1 and 3 will be the same, just worded slightly differently. That sense of having read the same thing twice makes an application feel disjointed and compartmentalized, when the goal here is to submit something clean, uniform, and readable.  


Award applications are not high school essays. More text does not equate to a better score. If you don’t have the best answer to one of the award questions, answer it as honestly and concisely as you can. For the questions that are a better fit, use that space to its fullest. These applications will be judged as a whole, and you won’t lose points for having a short answer or two. 

  1. Don’t shy away from support

Last but not least, nearly every healthcare award application is a chance to upload files that support and prove what is being said in the application. While some of these are no-brainers, like a photo of a product or the resume of a thought leader, you’ll want to get creative to include other information as well.

For example, maybe the award application is for an individual nominee, and that person has not won any awards before, but the company or department they work for was recognized for excellence. It’s not only okay to include proof of that recognition in the award application, it’s encouraged. After all, the nominee is part of the reason the larger organization is so excellent.  

If an application allows for five supporting documents, you should try to include five. If you have any case studies, customer testimonials, references from colleagues, relevant bylines, recent news, etc., include them. Judges want to see evidence of expertise and value outside of what is written in the application and being able to show them could be a deciding factor. 

By avoiding these pitfalls, you’ll be submitting a stronger healthcare award application. 


by Chad Van Alstin

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