Thursday, September 16, 2010

CRMs: Reaching Physicians in Cyber Space

In our conflict-of-interest focused world, industry critics are doing their best to keep industry members away from one of their prime customers: physicians. But e-marketing, specifically customer relationship management systems, may be one good way to reach physicians.

Hospitals, always in the market for paying customers, are starting to invest in these CRM systems, according to this American Medical Association story.  Hospitals are primarily looking for ongoing relationships with patients. After the CRM software gathers a patient’s information, it can create personalized Web content for patients, targeted mailing campaigns, and phone support services.  Something the industry has done for years and not ever gotten much credit for it!

But unlike industry, hospitals have never really done a good job of fostering or empowering the physician-patient relationship. The article speaks of one hospital in Illinois in which its marketing team speaks with doctors about the types of content and tools the physician wants to include on patients’ personalized Web sites.

But certainly these CRMs are also geared towards physicians.  Some CRMs specifically are used as recruitment tools. Has the industry missed another opportunity to get involved in this “evolving e-physician community?” Hospitals are wary of the future these days, perhaps partnering with them would make excellent sense, from many vantage points. Again, this whole thing is not called Customer Relationship Management for nothing!

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