For most health systems, alumni relations are a key component of physician outreach. Maintaining strong relationships with former residents and fellows pays off in countless ways. For example, building a strong alumni community benefits hospitals indirectly by generating goodwill. At the same time, keeping alumni up-to-date on your medical strengths translates into increased referrals, both locally and from across the nation.
To reach this valuable, but far-flung audience, healthcare marketers are increasingly turning to email marketing—and specifically, the “gold standard” of physician data, the AMA Physician Masterfile. Working with an AMA database licensee provides access to the most accurate physician data available.
Data Collection Begins In Med School
The AMA Physician Masterfile is unique in that it contains every U.S. physician’s postal and email address, as well as where she went to medical school.
The AMA assigns a medical education number (ME#) to each student who enters medical school. This proprietary, unique identifier then follows that physician throughout his career:
Only a select group of database licensees are authorized to provide access to the AMA Physician Masterfile.
- Each medical student’s graduation is verified with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), while those who drop out of medical school are cut from the Masterfile.
- Students in graduate medical education (GME) programs are identified as residents/fellows, along with their specialty or subspecialty.
- After completing the appropriate requirements, physicians must obtain a license from the U.S. state in which they plan to practice.
- Finally, a DEA number is assigned. Physicians who maintain multiple practices must have DEA registrations for each address where they store, dispense, or administer drugs.
The AMA updates this data regularly using GME Census data and files from state licensing authorities. In addition, residents and physicians themselves provide address changes to ensure that they continue to receive their medical journals.
Database Licensees Provide Access
AMA database licensees are authorized to verify physician data against the AMA’s records for more than 1.4 million doctors, medical students, and residents practicing in the United States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and some Pacific Islands.
Guidelines Define Allowable Outreach
When you decide to license the AMA database through DMD, you can purchase access to the data for a one-time mailing or for repeated use over the course of a year. We find that clients who choose to license the data for frequent, ongoing use often have questions about what kinds of outreach are allowable under the AMA agreement.
If you plan to download and manipulate the AMA data set in order to target alumni of your residency programs, you can feel confident using it for the following purposes:
- Keeping alumni current on developments at their alma mater, for example, through email newsletters
- Inviting them to engage with current trainees by providing mentoring, career development guidance, and help finding positions
- Surveying alumni to gather information that will help your AMC better understand the impact of its training programs and, ideally, strengthen them in ways that will be most beneficial to current and future doctors
- Inviting alumni to conferences
- Maintaining a strong alumni network to facilitate potential future fundraising
While this list is not exhaustive, it provides insight into the types of postal and email communication that are acceptable under the AMA agreement. If your alumni communication goals don’t appear here, we’re happy to investigate other possibilities.