There are a number of physician database sources that allow marketers to purchase a “one and done” download of U.S. physicians. This large data set is often segmented by specialty and then used to blast out high volume email and/or snail mail to physicians.
But what about those individuals, such as medical device sales reps and physician recruiters, who want to use physician data to connect individually and build one-to-one relationships with physicians?
To use physician data to develop real relationships, ideally three things need to happen:
- There’s a searchable master physician database
- Individual or small groups of records can be downloaded into a local database — preferably a CRM system (I’ll explain why)
- Both CRM users and the master data sources “enrich” physician records over time
I’ll cover what it means to enrich records — and how enrichment can factor into developing better relationships with physicians and creating more relationships.
A Physician Database Integrated With CRM
It’s difficult to manage a physician relationship from a row in a spreadsheet.
Downloading a physician record into a CRM system allows for storing and accessing a more complete range of information about a physician. CRM allows for continual enrichment of the record, both by the CRM system’s users — and via automatic downloads of new data from the original source.
A record that is first downloaded from a master database into a CRM system can be viewed as the starting point.
The starting point has two main levels of information.
Physician Database Core Fields
A comprehensive physician database source provides a number of core fields. These include:
- First & Last Name
- Phone Number
- Medical school
- Graduation year
Physician Related Information
Beyond the core physician fields, the structure of a CRM system allows for downloading and viewing information that is related to the physician, such as claims data and hospital affiliations.
In a CRM system, a list of claims can be viewed within a physician record. For each claim, the list can display the HCPCS code, the code’s full description, the number of associated services and more.
Clicking on a claim record provides greater detail, such as specific Medicare payment data for the claim.
Ongoing Record Enrichment From The Original Source
Claims are not static data. New claims, of course, continue over time. Therefore, it’s important that new claims are automatically added to an existing physician record in CRM.
A physician may develop new affiliations and may discontinue existing ones. This information can also be automatically updated from the master data source.
Physician Record Enrichment By CRM Users
For each physician that a CRM user interacts with, the user can record the details of sent and received emails, meetings and phone conversations.
Attaching emails that were sent to and received from physicians can be automatic if the CRM user’s email client (usually Outlook or Gmail) is integrated with the CRM system.
Additional data that’s relevant to establishing and maintaining a relationship with a physician can live within a CRM database. Custom fields can be created in a CRM system to store information that is specific to how people in a particular organization interact with physicians.
For example, a physician with multiple affiliations may also have multiple email addresses. A physician may want to give a CRM user that they have a strong relationship with their personal email address for easier access to them. Secondary and tertiary email addresses can be added to a CRM system as custom fields.
Since files can be attached to CRM records, a physician’s CV, for example, can be a part of their record within CRM.
Searching For a Physician in CRM
After a record has been enriched, there are more ways to search for a specific physician compared to the original starting point record.
Standard Search Fields
Most standard fields can be used to find a specific physician within CRM. Examples are:
- First name
- Last name
Custom Search Fields
If custom fields are added to a CRM database, those become searchable as well. It’s even possible to find a physician based on keywords within emails, notes and attachments.
For people whose jobs require building and maintaining relationships with physicians, a CRM system that’s connected to a master physician database provides a number of advantages over a static, one-time download of physician records into a spreadsheet.
Access to more information about a physician and to details about past communications makes for more productive ongoing interactions with that physician.