The Digital Future of Physician Relations
The digital future of physician relations is upon us. It hasn’t washed over our industry like a tsunami; rather, it has been a gradual evolution that has followed the slow but steady adoption of health information technology and digital communication tools by physicians. The emergence of the social or digital physician has been documented by numerous studies from organizations such as Manhattan Research, QuantiaMD, and ZocDoc, and written about in peer review publications.
It is now evident that physicians find value in interacting with other physicians via social platforms. Physician-only online communities like Doximity, QuantiaMD, Sermo and Medscape Physician Connect have become the leading digital gathering places for doctors seeking professional camaraderie, support and guidance. Within these online communities physicians can securely collaborate on diagnoses and patient treatment.
Marketing is at its best when it is not an interruption, but seamlessly integrated into the individual’s workflow. For many physicians who have now embraced new media, digital communication makes sense. With the rise of the “social physician,” a successful physician relations program should integrate a number of elements including digital communications and social networking platforms.
At Jennings, we have been working with hospitals and health systems around the country to integrate digital tools into their physician relations programs. Primarily through our work with Cooper University Health Care, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Tufts Medical Center and Signature Healthcare, we have pioneered a new approach to physician marketing where the curation and dissemination of digital content becomes a central element of the marketing program, along with online physician engagement through social networks.
Dan Dunlop, one of our principals, has presented this new model of physician relations at several industry conferences including the 2014 Physician Strategies Summit, 2014 Professional Development Conference of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and the 2014 Conference of the American Association of Physician Liaisons (AAPL), among others.
It is important to note that integrating social media and other contemporary tools, such as online video, into the physician marketing mix does not mean abandoning old tried and true communication tactics. For the time being, traditional tools, like the physician newsletter, are still relevant. What has changed is the number of opportunities that exist to leverage that same content across a number of communication platforms. To learn more about our leading edge approach to physician relations, please feel free to download the following articles from our resource library. These were written by our team and published in industry publications: