Despite the current government shutdown which has caused grumbling across the nation, US citizens have been able to experience history in the making; the opening of the health insurance exchanges of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). This groundbreaking portion of this legislation means that many who have been going without health care services will now be able to get treated. The exact number is still being fiercely debated, however, it is estimated that by 2014, we will be adding at least 14M people to the insurance rolls and 24M over the next decade.
Regardless of the exact number a historic number of patients will be added to our current system. Not to mention, a portion of them will likely have chronic conditions which have gone untreated for years. This will vastly increase the need for primary care providers. While the ACA has provisions for increasing the number of primary care physicians the ACA alone will not close the gap. Therefore, funding is also provided for education and development of 600 nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives by 2015. Even beyond this, much of the patient load will eventually fall on these mid-level practitioners. Evidence of the value of mid-level practitioners by industry is already being seen. Especially in certain disease states such as chronic diseases and even oncology (where nurse practitioners often lead the chemotherapy and supportive therapy), there has been considerable effort to create effective and appropriate outreach to these clinicians. Furthermore, the movement of the industry toward “patient-centered care” puts nurse practitioners and midwives front and center.
This takes us to the issue of targeting and segmenting. There are approximately 200,000 practicing nurse practitioners and physician assistants in the US. That does not count the midwives or clinical nurse specialists who also have clear leadership for disease management in certain medical areas. As with physicians, it is way more effective to determine who are the high-value mid-level practitioners and specifically reach them with targeted messaging and engagement opportunities. Forward thinking life science companies are developing strategies to reach out to this important audience. Looking at one of the customary methods for targeting clinicians, we spoke to a leading provider of prescription data for mid-level practitioners. For the entire group nurse practitioners and physician assistants, we were confidently told that only 1,000,000 prescriptions per year have been captured. Consider this fact: in a recent survey Snowfish, LLC conducted from 425 mid-level practitioners the average mid-level practitioner was writing 50 prescriptions per week. Therefore, this sample alone (representing less than 0.2% of the NP/PA universe) is writing more than 1,000,000 prescriptions a year – more than the data providers are capturing for the entire universe. It is clear that a significant prescription volume of mid-level practitioners is not being captured by data providers.
The reason is quite clear; often prescriptions written by mid-level practitioners are not written under the provider’s name but the physician with whom they work. It is almost comical to think that some of these physicians have prescription volumes attributed to them. Literally they would have to spend their entire day and night only writing prescriptions. This is also applicable to other forms of targeting data such as claims and longitudinal data. There is no reason to give up hope. There are proven methods for targeting, segmenting, and profiling mid-level practitioners which incorporate a multi-faceted data strategy. Snowfish, LLC has developed and approach that takes into account the various considerations which make a certain clinician of high importance and is based on years of knowledge and experience working with this group. Snowfish, LLC has developed a unique way to target the mid-level practitioner that is only growing in importance.
As we embark on this momentous change in our health care system, we are aware that our industry is seeing the role of the mid-level practitioner increase in magnitude. With the right approaches, companies can target them with the same pin-point accuracy that is achieved with physicians. To learn more or request our white paper on the NP/PA world please click here.
Melissa Hammond, MSN is Managing Director at Snowfish, LLC and leads their mid-level practitioner strategy services. Please go to www.snowfish.net for more information.