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Why You Should Care About Point of Care Advertising at the Electronic Health Record Level

With the right messaging and strategy, Electronic Health Records marketing could be one of the most important parts of your omnichannel strategy.

Point of care (POC) advertising or point of care marketing at the Electronic Health Record (EHR) level is the practice of delivering relevant messaging directly to healthcare providers (HCPs) when they are working in a patient’s Electronic Health Record before, during and after the appointment.

Because HCPs spend 37% of exam-room time in their EHR platform and an average of two hours on the EHR (and on other desk work) for every one hour of direct care, EHRs provide prime real estate for marketers. What better time to reach HCPs than at the points of intake, diagnosis and prescription?

With the right messaging and strategy, EHR marketing could be one of the most important parts of your omnichannel strategy. Here’s what you need to know to take advantage of it.

EHR Marketing is Relatively New, and That is a Good Thing for Savvy Marketers
The days of paper health records stored in office filing cabinets are long gone. For decades, Electronic Health Record providers have helped HCPs collect patient data and make good care decisions through their electronic filing and information systems. HCPs, administrators, insurance handlers, and patients depend on them. But it is only relatively recently that EHR platforms have opened their doors to marketers. Today, EHR platforms partner with life sciences companies to share information within an HCP’s EHR pages based on their activity.

With this kind of visibility, you would think there would be a mad rush to leverage these platforms. But while the space is coveted, there is a steep learning curve. EHR marketing is not the same as omnichannel. Marketers have to complete medical legal review for the first time, understand measurement parameters, and know what the KPIs for success might be. And with many companies still catching up on their omnichannel, it can seem like a big lift.

Our advice: Get your omnichannel up and running and spend the money to incorporate EHR now. Inventory is limited, so the companies who get there first will be far better positioned than companies who hedge. You may also look to establish a Center of Excellence where dedicated team members understand the EHR space. You’ll reap the benefit of first-pick real estate and get exclusive placement right in front of doctors’ eyes while they work.

EHR Marketing Might Be the Most Valuable Part of Your Overall Omnichannel Strategy
While it might seem like EHRs alone represent the holy grail of digital marketing, it is better to think of them as an important part of a greater omnichannel strategy. The truth is that while EHR pages are not yet cluttered with ads, the click-thru rate is low. HCPs are focused on their patients at the point of care and are not clicking on banner ads in the exam room.

Instead, the value of EHR marketing comes as message reinforcement. What a physician might see in an online medical journal afterhours one day can be reinforced the next when they are doing an intake or prescribing a medication on the EHR. The proximity to the decision-making process makes EHR marketing a tremendous opportunity to initiate behavior change at the point of care, especially if marketers are smart about their messaging.

EHR Messaging Can Support HCPs at All Stages of the EHR Workflow
Like all messaging, saying the right thing at the right time and in the right context is paramount. Because EHR ads can appear in several places at all stages along the point-of-care journey, savvy marketers can use thoughtful, stage-appropriate messages to support HCPs along the way. When done well, EHR advertising can feel less like click-bait and more like assistance, creating stronger bonds between brands and HCPs.

Target pages within an EHR:

E-Prescribing Screen: Use this page to consider what HCPs want to know about as they are prescribing a medication? Try co-pay coupons, patient savings offers and relevant condition-based brand messaging.

Clinical Decision Support (CDS) Alerts: EHRs give doctors drug-interaction alerts and dosage recommendations during the prescribing process. Advertisers can incorporate branded dosage messaging.

Patient Education Materials: Patient education modules where HCPs can access information to share with patients are perfect for printable educational materials, patient savings offers, testimonials, or other relevant content.

Dashboard or Homepage: Some EHRs have customizable dashboards or homepages where HCPs can access key information and tools. Advertising messages may be placed on these screens, providing targeted promotions or offers.

Medication Search Results: EHRs may include medication search features that allow HCPs to search for medications based on various criteria. After a medication decision has been made, messages focused on those criteria may be displayed in the results, promoting specific brand-name medications or offering patient savings incentives.

An EHR’s Targeting Capabilities Deliver Contextually Relevant Information at the Point of Care
EHR services deal in data collection, which makes advanced targeting a built-in benefit of EHR marketing. Marketers subscribing to an EHR network can specify certain goals and HCP characteristics, like the ones listed below, and EHRs place the ads accordingly. Of course, not all EHRs are built the same. Hospital-focused EHRs will differ from small practice EHRs or EHRs built only for prescriptions. Before you begin, make sure you know the scope of your subscriptions’ data segmentation.

  • Specialty – for delivering messaging based on medical specialty
    • Location – for delivering localized messages or coverage
    • Patient Volume – for delivering messages to small, medium or large practices
    • Medication Prescribing Patterns: for delivering messages that align with the HCPs' prescribing habits (i.e., NDC) and clinical interests
    • Patient Demographics: EHRs may allow advertisers to target HCPs based on patient demographics, such as age, gender, or medical conditions. This can help advertisers deliver messages that are relevant to the patient populations that the HCPs serve.

It’s exciting to think about all the possibilities EHR marketing offers. If you’d like to talk more about it, get in touch. Kinetic at Syneos Health offers full omnichannel capabilities, including EHR marketing.


Stephen Hoelper
Vice President, Product Growth
Syneos Health

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