What drives loyalty? If you Google that exact statement, results number over a million. From brand superiority to emotional investment, every “expert” on the topic will give you plenty of advice. While some believe brand devotion ultimately lies with the consumer, Forbes.com contributor Micah Solmon explains in this recent article that loyalty must be two-sided. When companies fail to recognize and embrace the “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” mentality, allegiance falters.
The underlying concept is one health system marketers are continually trying to improve upon but don’t always possess the tools to do so effectively: develop positive mutual engagement between the hospital brand and the physician base.
The Two “Rs”: Retention and Referrals
The 2018 Healthcare Trends Survey, compiled by B.E. Smith, reports a “heightened propensity for healthcare professionals to leave their organizations.” In fact, more than 35 percent of respondents said they were contemplating a job change in 2018. The survey also reveals that 87 percent of healthcare professionals would consider leaving their current health system for the right opportunity.
Those are scary statistics, considering the physician shortage shows no signs of slowing. According to an analysis conducted by IHS Markit on behalf of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), by 2030, demand for physicians will exceed supply by up to 104,900.
Personalized, high-value conversations with individual physicians can make a noticeable difference to your bottom line.
Physicians who refer out-of-network do so for a number of reasons. They may be new to the health system and lack awareness of service line scope. Others have established relationships outside the system over time and have no motivation to change. Regardless of reason, stopping referral leakage is necessary for hospitals to thrive.
Email Conversations, Not Campaigns
In both cases, improving physician engagement should be the number one goal. However, for engagement efforts to truly be effective, email communications must be on a one-to-one level. Lost revenue and physician turnover cannot be solved by deploying a system-wide newsletter or even implementing a well-intentioned marketing “campaign” to address ROI handicaps. On the other hand, personalized, high-value conversations with individual physicians can make a noticeable difference to your bottom line.
In order to get personal enough to make that difference, you need to be working with complete physician profiles.
What’s in Your Email List?
We’re long past the days when a physician email list only contained two simple variables: name and email address. Today’s data capabilities allow for much more detailed information to be attached to physicians, including claims data and referral patterns. Both data sets provide evidence that can then be acted upon, such as identifying in-network specialists a physician never refers to or the busiest physicians within a particular specialty (and who sends them their patients).
Insights like these help you better target the exact physicians needing attention, as well as provide messaging that will be most meaningful to them—and thus actionable on their part.
Of course, none of this can be accomplished if the data you’re using is subpar (or worse, downright dirty). Typically, in-house physician email lists have a lot of holes. Using a database that’s 100 percent double opted-in, authenticated, refreshed daily, and audited for accuracy by a third party ensures you’re working from a data foundation that can favorably affect change.