Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Medical Transcript Advertising: A Unique Form of "Non-Personal" Marketing

A few weeks ago, I got a call from Manuel Prado, the CEO of datumRx, a California-based company that specializes in aggregating clinical data and medical records.

DatumRx offers a unique service to pharmaceutical companies that allows them to reach physicians with targeted brand messages via medical transcripts.

I will be interviewing Mr. Prado in an upcoming LIVE Pharma Marketing Talk podcast on Monday, October 22, at 2 PM Eastern time (see details here). In preparation for that podcast, I'd like to get some input from readers regarding datumRx's service.

Here's how it works as far as I understand it right now: datumRX partners with medical transcription companies across the United States to place drug product logos on patient medical transcripts containing key words relevant to the product. Every time the physician views, faxes, or prints the transcript, he or she sees the logo and is reminded about the product.

"This is the last promotion a doctor will see before writing a prescription," says Prado.

Transcript advertising appears to be a better idea and more cost-effective than logoed chatckes like pens, refrigerator magnets and Rx pads because it is targeted to a patient's specific medical condition. Also, the physician gets a little discount on transcription fees for opting in to have the ads on transcript pages.

Mr. Prado will discuss the details in the upcoming podcast. Meanwhile, I have two questions for which I invite reader input:
  1. Is this legal and/or HIPAA compliant?
  2. Would physicians worry that datumRx has access the Personal Health Information of patients that are included in transcripts?
When I discussed this with a couple of pharma compliance officers, they did not dismiss it out of hand, but reserved their opinions on the HIPAA issues. Of course, HIPAA compliance is in the physician's court.

Non-Personal Physician Marketing
With roughly 100,000 pharmaceutical sales representatives knocking on doctors’ office doors every day and states imposing restrictions on their activity, it is harder and harder to reach prescribers. There is also the expense of using "live" sales reps (see discussion thread "What Is Average Cost of Sales Call?" over at the Pharma Marketing Network Forums).

There is an ever-increasing need to reach physicians with brand messages and reminders through "non-personal" marketing techniques that do not directly involve sales reps. Transcript advertising is just one physician/patient marketing technique at the patient-physician interface.

I plan to host a discussion of this topic in an upcoming Pharma Marketing Roundtable Forum. For more information about participating in this "members-only" Forum, read the announcement here.

DISCLAIMER: datumRx is a Pharma Marketing Network Preferred Vendor and is a Pharma Marketing News sponsor and advertiser. Pharma Marketing Blog is part of the Pharma Marketing Network.

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