Why Your NPI Advertising List is Incomplete

Influencing healthcare providers via digital NPI targeting is an important part of any pharmaceutical manufacturer’s marketing strategy, even more than usual with the rise of social distancing. However, relying on NPI targeting lists built off self-reported specialties only leaves you with some of your target base. Swoop’s commercial analytics subsidiary IPM.ai recently published a white paper on using prescribing data and AI to infer healthcare provider specialties.

 

The value of uncovering inferred specialties is tremendous: while self-reported specialties can provide an excellent starting point for engagement, the lack of specialist coverage in parts of the country -indeed, the projected physician deficit of over 120,000 physicians over the next decades- underscores the fact that physicians can often act as a specialist out of necessity, because patient care requirements don’t change based on the local or regional availability of a specialist.

 

In order to identify HCPs who operate as de facto specialists, a team at IPM.ai, led by Dan Fisher, created a robust model of HCP specialist behavior based on ten years of clinical history. Using granular-level de-identified patient data, procedures performed and prescriptions written, Fisher and the team developed baselines for a variety of medical specialties – from urologists to surgical oncologists – and then built a lookalike model of primary care physicians (PCPs) and “unspecified specialists,” combined into a population called “GenMed,” who were tested for their similarity to modeled behaviors of the specialties.

The result: 100,000 GenMed physicians who fit a specialty model at a 50th percentile, 30,000 who fit one at the 75th percentile.  “These GenMed HCPs conducted procedures that would ostensibly resemble a specialist,” writes Fisher. “In the case of one hematology-oncology lookalike GenMed HCP, he collected biopsies, infused IV chemotherapies and tested blood protein levels – clearly reinforcing the findings.”

Any health-industry marketing professional engaging healthcare providers needs to understand that there are HCPs beyond the self-identified specialists with whom you need to communicate. Whether a physician self-reports to the AMA as a cardiologist or not, if providing services akin to a cardiologist, a physician and it's patients, would benefit from a manufacturer with a breakthrough treatment for congestive heart failure reaching out and educating them about their therapy.

Healthcare providers are defined less by what they call themselves and more by what they do. As such, when building an NPI outreach program, it is important to go beyond self-reported specialists. IPM.ai can build you a list of HCPs who might not be on your radar, but definitively should be, and Swoop can help you execute on a multi-channel engagement plan.

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