Friday, December 3, 2010

Are Tougher Rules the Real Reason Behind Fewer Gifts?

We have a slightly different read on that Archives of Internal Medicine study showing that fewer physicians are accepting gifts or money from industry. 

The study’s author seems to attribute the drop to the tougher rules that hospitals and medical schools have adopted over the past few years regarding such gifts. “The data clearly show that relationships have dropped dramatically,” Eric G. Campbell, director of research at the Mongan Institute for Health Policy, in Boston, told Bloomberg. No doubt, to a certain extent, he’s probably right. There were 1,891 doctors who took part in the survey.

But there could be more to it than just tougher rules.

Another article caught our eye. It seems that more doctors are getting out of traditional private practice. They’re entering the highly lucrative concierge business, or becoming hospitalists.  The reasons for entering either specialty are plentiful – and we believe a contributing factor is that physicians are not happy with the excessive scrutiny their profession and medical practices has come under.

Unintended consequences: We think there is a fundamental shift in medical practice back towards the hospital-based model.  Doctors now will be willing to live "under the protection afforded by hospitals." It is no longer prudent or profitable to practice medicine in the ambulatory setting. Care in these settings will be delivered by allied health professionals, who we think are very competent. 

But what does this mean for industry marketers?  Focus your development efforts, if your product, device or service, is a niche/specialty product, on the physicians.  If your product, device or service is ambulatory based, focus on the PAs and NPs.    

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