As the healthcare industry changes to adapt to patient and population needs, more physicians are becoming part of a hospital or corporation. With fewer doctors practicing independently, there are significant changes in their incentives and how pharmaceutical and medical device companies should be targeting them.
PM360 Marketing explained that the healthcare industry has traditionally been dominated by solo practitioners and two- or three-physician practices. However, changes in healthcare regulations and costs have driven doctors to join larger corporations.
A study from IMS Health, a healthcare information and technology service provider, showed that by the end of 2013, more than 65 percent of all practices would include three or more physicians. Many industry professionals noted that they plan to explore new business models in the coming years, which may include joining a hospital or accountable care organization. As physicians join these corporations, their incentives, influences and prescribing habits shift. For example, many large medical providers are shifting toward value-based care, which prioritizes clinical outcomes and reduces unnecessary testing and procedures. The needs of patients play a larger roll in the decisions of corporations, as do the opinions review boards and medical directors.
With these various professionals influencing purchasing decisions, marketers must adapt. Pharmaceutical and medical device companies need to target the new decision makers, as well as the solo practitioners and small practices that still exist. PM360 explained that the key to reaching these different buyers is to create consumer profiles that note institutional affiliations and payer incentives. This information can be used to create an integrated customer relationship management system that allows marketers to note the incentives of their targets and the best way to reach them and then customize advertisements and promotional materials.
Big data is the best way to create these CRM systems. Ground Report explained that there are a number of different platforms that marketers can use to aggregate, organize and analyze healthcare information. These programs can compile information from social media, online forums and relevant websites. When marketers have this data, they can deliver tailored campaigns that are more likely to appeal to the individuals who make purchasing decisions within hospitals.
PM360 noted that integrated marketing campaigns are an essential strategy to optimize reach. Promotion through a number of different channels, such as digital outreach, sales reps and print ads, can help companies reach executives in physician corporations as well as solo practitioners. Multi-channel advertising increases brand awareness and can help marketers appeal to various target markets.