The futuristic television show “Black Mirror” includes an episode where an individual’s “worth” is determined by how many stars are assigned by others, based on a 1 to 5 scale. You can guess how much inauthenticity goes into characters’ daily interactions in order to receive a coveted five-star rating. Genuine encounters are severely lacking, to say the least.
You might also envision how one’s ranking could go terribly wrong—simply via a series of misunderstandings—which is exactly what happens to the main character, Lacie Pound.
While not entirely similar, the U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospital” rankings present a relatable challenge: overcoming a low (and possibly unfair) score.
Email: A Staunch Ally
The U.S. News list is highly respected among health system communities but doesn’t necessarily represent an infallible scoring system. Regardless, the score sheets are currently in circulation, striking fear into hospital administrators and health system marketers alike.
Just know this: The numbers don’t always tell the full story.
One department excels in certain therapies, but a missing technology or inability to serve knocks it down in the rankings. It’s common for generalists and specialists from other service lines and departments to make decisions based on score alone, so it’s crucial to convey your health system’s capabilities and qualifications—not just upon release of the U.S. News list, but all year round. Email is the most desirable and effective way to inform physicians of your true worth.
The key in all this is to make sure you’re communicating your strengths to the right physicians. In order to do that, you need to be working with an authenticated physician email list.
Valid vs. Authenticated
If you reference “valid” in a thesaurus, you’ll see “authentic” is listed as a synonym (and vice versa). For the purposes of email marketing, there’s a very distinct differentiation between the two. A harvested email list, which may have been scraped or constructed via other unethical means, might contain valid email addresses. That is, addresses which exist and are attached to a human.
It’s crucial to convey your health system’s qualifications—not just upon release of the U.S. News list, but all year round.
However, those addresses are not necessarily authenticated as the email address of the physician you want to reach. For instance, a valid email address could be a physician’s office email address but that physician prefers to receive communications to his personal email account.
Logistically, validation and authentication work in symbiosis to ensure the highest deliverability rates. Conceptually, authenticated email addresses confirm you’re speaking to the right physicians with the right message. You’re guaranteed those docs have 100% opted in to receive communications and are interested in the high-value, relevant messaging being disseminated.
An authenticated, third-party verified list also contains physician-level details—location, specialty, referral patterns, caseload—that allow you to segment and target your audience appropriately. In the example referenced above, you could address any department deficiencies with messaging specific to applicable groups (e.g. internal staff, generalists, out-of-network specialists, etc.).
Health systems will continue to face stiff competition in 2018. Targeted email using a high-quality list should be implemented now so you can be better prepared to address a potentially low U.S. News ranking should it arise.