Healthcare marketing is a fiercely competitive field in which myriad pharmaceutical companies and medical product and service suppliers are constantly vying for the attention of providers. However, despite the important roles they play in the healthcare industry, nursing practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) are often overlooked for these marketing efforts.
While much focus is centered on targeting those primary care physicians and healthcare segments with more prescribing power, NPs and PAs wield substantial impact on patient care and prescribing habits—which could tip the scales in helping your overall marketing strategy succeed.
They Have More Independence & Influence on Prescribing Than Ever
There are an estimated 148,560 certified physician assistants within the United States as of 2020, according to the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), and more than 325,000 licensed nurse practitioners, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).
While traditionally they had more front-facing responsibilities such as examining, diagnosing, and treating patients, the scope of NP and PA roles has expanded significantly due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Two dozen states and Washington, DC have authorized NPs to directly provide primary care services without physician oversight in most cases, according to an article by Simmons University. In a similar move, 20 states have suspended or waived all or partial supervision requirements for PAs either by existing statutes or regulations, or by executive order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the American Academy of Physician Associates.
This newfound freedom gives these demographics far more prescribing power, and makes them a more desirable market, overall.
They Have Proximity to Patients & Physicians
NPs and PAs regularly serve on the frontlines of patient care, and their frequent interactions with patients gives them significant insights about individual conditions and needs. Their proximity to both primary care physicians and patients makes them optimally positioned to influence prescription choices.
All in all, nearly 97 percent of NPs have the ability to prescribe medicine, and they write about 21 prescriptions a day on average, according to the AANP, and 100 percent of PAs reported an increase in writing new prescriptions due to their expanding daily roles and responsibilities, reports according to healthcare market research firm MedData Point.
They Are a Severely Underutilized Demographic
A recent survey by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finds that approximately $60 billion is spent annually on pharmaceutical marketing and promotional campaigns, with a majority of resources aimed at targeting physicians and other prescribers.
According to the analysis, NPs and PAs were targeted for email marketing campaigns significantly less than primary care physicians (PCPs) and specialists (SPs), despite showing screener eligible response rates nearly twice that of their PCP and SP counterparts.
It further concludes that exposure and attention to pharmaceutical promotions and contact with the HCP marketing industry were significantly associated with their influence over prescribing habits. However, the industry has thus far failed to compensate for the increase in prescribing power and influence that NPs and PAs have experienced recently.
While previously HCP marketers have focused their efforts on targeting PCPs, the traditional doctor-patient dynamic has been superseded by a more inclusive, full-care team approach, in which HCPs independently diagnose, treat, refer and write prescriptions for patients. Because of this shift, HCP marketers should expand their focus to include a wide range of healthcare segments, including and especially NPs and PAs.
Work With PDQ Communication to Reach the Best HCPs for Your Campaigns
The best way to ensure you reach your intended audience with the most relevant and impactful content is to enlist the help of an HCP marketing partner such as PDQ Communications.
Our qualified team of experts will work with you to identify the best HCPs for your needs, and will help you reach them reliably with our extensive and well-segmented list of healthcare professionals.