For a number of years there has been a steady decline in the number of medical school students specializing in Primary Care. According the Association of Medical Colleges, the United States is facing a shortfall of 150,000 Primary Care Physicians in the next 15 years.
The recently enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is inherently dependent on patient access to primary care. Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and Physician Assistants (PAs) will be relied on to fill in the accessibility gaps and play a larger role in initiating and maintaining patient care. In 2010, NPs and PAs wrote over 800 million prescriptions. That number will increase exponentially in the future.
Pharmaceutical marketers will need to build relationships with NPs and PAs. Marketing to this group can no longer be an after-thought or the first segment of HCPs that gets cut out of budgets.
Marketers can’t afford to ignore this group or create a cursory broad reach plan to reach this group of growing importance.
Marketers need to gather the requisite data to maximize budgets and ensure that they are reaching the correct NPs and PAs at the desired frequency.
The first step is defining a target audience of NPs and PAs. This should be done two ways – understanding which NPs and PAs are working in the same practice as targeted physicians and who is a high writer in a specific category.
The second step is understanding where and how to reach NPs and PAs. Each NP and PA accesses information differently so knowing where they can be reached is a major advantage in that it allows marketers to efficiently target them and avoid unwanted duplication.
CMI has recently upgraded the ByDoctor® database to include NPs and PAs. We are now able to define high-value NPs and PAs affiliated with targeted physicians, analyze their promotional DNA and create targeted, multi-channel plans to reach them. For example, we know that over 86% of NPs and PAs can be reached through journal media and that over 84% are accessing content digitally.
The third and final step is creating a targeted, multi-channel plan to NPs and PAs.
As with any specialty group, targeted messaging and media is critical to successful engagement with this audience. We recommend that brand managers discuss with us how to include an NP/PA media strategy as a complement to a plan already in action, or as a new avenue to a challenging campaign. A strong HCP strategy will integrate this audience to uncover the best promotional plan with them.
I. Current NP and PA counts with NPI numbers. The list is currently growing by more than 1% per month.