When marketing to doctors, the patient comes first

When marketing to doctors, the patient comes first

2018-07-19T17:28:07+00:00 July 19th, 2018|Healthcare Marketing, Physician Demographics|

The future of healthcare lies in greater attention to the needs and experiences of patients, and efforts like prioritizing value-based care will require stakeholders to work together. MM&M reported on a panel from the Transforming Healthcare 2018 conference where leaders in the field discussed how technology could be a lever for improving collaboration between providers, payers and life sciences organizations.

“If you want to fix the broader problem, you need to be thinking more broadly about the patient,” Dan Gandor, the director of digital innovation and corporate program management at Takeda commented. “Not just their time in the clinic or their disease state, or their interaction with our brand. That’s such a small proportion of their overall experience.”

Life sciences marketers and payers who are striving to build positive relationships with physicians need a strong understanding of their priorities. The emphasis on providing positive experiences in healthcare is only growing, and organizations should consider whether their communications strategy puts the patient first even when messages are directed at doctors. Accurately targeting email campaigns and focusing on the patient experience can be the beginning of productive connections with medical professionals.

Understanding the patient experience

“A huge range of factors go into determining the nature of a patient’s experience.”

A huge range of factors go into determining the nature of a patient’s experience at a healthcare facility or practice. The overall culture in a facility, the amount of communication from staff, the technology being used and the services offered by providers – including preventive care and follow-ups – all have an impact. Healthcare professionals are increasingly focused on the results of all these different aspects of a doctor visit or hospital stay, thanks to the widening adoption of value-based care initiatives.

Efforts at simultaneously improving patient trust and efficiency follow the structure of the Triple Aim laid out by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement: enhancing the quality of care and satisfaction for individual patients, enabling better outcomes for whole populations and also cutting costs through efficient processes. As more insurers follow the lead of Medicare and Medicaid in embracing value-based care as a framework for setting reimbursement payments, doctors will only become more focused on delivering the best patient experience through the most streamlined possible means.

Life sciences organizations that want to communicate effectively with healthcare providers should also consider the needs and preferences of patients. Life sciences firms and insurance companies are in a position to assist doctors with fulfilling the demands of value-based care, through fresh options for managing conditions, more immediate access to information.and educational materials that help people to understand their own illnesses or upcoming procedures. Collaborating on solutions to the problems that patients face starts with reaching out to physicians.

Effectively segmenting medical email marketing

Email is providers’ preferred means of receiving industry news and product updates from payers, pharmaceutical companies and medical device firms, according to the 2018 Annual Healthcare Professional Communication Report from HealthLink Dimensions. However, persuading recipients to open those emails and begin reading requires organizations to closely align messaging with the interests of particular doctors. The most effective strategy for gaining providers’ attention is to show them how a product or educational opportunity will make patients healthier and their experiences more pleasant.

Successful physician email marketing depends on taking into account how the needs of patients differ and targeting messages accordingly. With an extensive database, organizations can take a well-informed approach to segmenting campaigns. Drawing on details like doctors’ current email addresses, areas of specialization, institutional affiliations and geographical locations is an essential start for getting in touch with the correct audience.

Digging deeper enables organizations to take into account the specific patient experiences that are relevant to physicians. Marketers, salespeople and payers communicate most effectively when they are equipped with robust information about medical professionals and the people they serve. The demographics of the patients that doctors work with, the conditions they most commonly treat and their preferred methods can all be highly valuable insights.

Doctor consulting with patient.Life sciences organizations can help to improve the patient experience.

Optimizing patient-centered messaging

In the HealthLink Dimensions State of Value-Based Care survey, 61 percent of healthcare providers expressed either negative or neutral feelings about value-based reimbursement systems. Engaging doctors in these shifts calls for life sciences businesses and payers to present a clear path toward consistently positive patient experiences and meaningful treatment improvements. Email can guide recipients toward a conversion by making a convincing case for using a product or changing procedures to achieve the results that healthcare providers are interested in.

Offering plentiful data supported by clinical studies is the best way to hold the attention of doctors, especially when marketers are attempting to get them started on a long purchase path. An initial email might spotlight some key findings that demonstrate benefits for the patient experience before inviting medical professionals to find out more with a call to action. Life sciences firms must always be ready to provide further details to address the experiences of patients, the concerns of doctors and the requirements of hospital administration.

In many cases, just offering high-quality materials, such as pamphlets and websites, to educate patients may be the best way to bring them an improved experience and lay the foundations for relationships with physicians. In the State of Value-Based care survey, 76 percent of respondents said they were interested in receiving more outreach and educational materials. Whatever approaches a business explores, the patient experience should be the foremost concern, and the communications strategy should always be driven by reliable data.