Your Checklist for Finding the Right Electronic Health Records Marketing Partner

March 27, 2024
Keith Matt

Nothing says the right message, place, and time like marketing to healthcare providers while they’re working in a patient’s Electronic Health Record.

An EHR platform can offer a powerful channel for a pharmaceutical digital marketing strategy because it allows brands to influence target HCPs further down the treatment funnel, during exams and diagnoses, and up to the point of prescribing appropriate therapy. HCPs spend more time in these platforms before, during, and after seeing a patient. HCPs spend over a third of their time using these systems during patient appointments and an average of two hours for every hour of direct patient care. 

Fortunately for healthcare marketers, there are several ways to buy EHR media inventory to reach target HCPs via point-of-care marketing. However, there are many nuances to evaluating the electronic health records market and how different approaches can best meet your brand strategy, especially when weaving this channel into a broader omnichannel digital marketing strategy. That’s why it's critical to understand the various offerings and ask the right questions to evaluate what potential partners present to you regarding electronic health records marketing strategies.

The available industry options for purchasing EHR media inventory 

There are multiple ways to purchase EHR media inventory, each with benefits depending on your goals for electronic health records marketing strategies. The main ones are:

  • Direct buys: Purchasing the media directly through an EHR platform that accepts ads in their workflow
  • Media aggregators: Accessing media inventory across multiple platforms through one system
  • Programmatic EHR aggregators: Leveraging programmatic technology to deliver ads in the EHR workflow across an aggregated network of platforms, allowing brands to make EHR part of omnichannel digital marketing strategy 

Regarding direct buys, some platforms allow pharma companies to integrate advertising into their workflow so that HCPs can increase their awareness about appropriate treatment options for their patients. A pharma brand or agency can often buy this solution by partnering directly with the individual EHR platform. However, if you’re trying to reach as many target HCPs as possible at the point of care, you must go to every EHR and set up contracts if they accept advertising—a time-consuming process. Of the approximately 400 EHR platforms on the market, only about 20 to 25% actually accept advertising, and the bulk of this is from two or three platforms with a larger market share. 

Aggregators make things easier by eliminating the pain point of going to each EHR individually and standardizing commercial offerings across the network. So, they function as a one-stop shop to access a dozen or more EHRs. However, most of these vendors primarily focus on financial messaging, and given that they offer a limited amount of actual media inventory, there can be many impressions of a single HCP—not an ideal end-user experience.

Programmatic EHR is the newest and most advanced form of purchasing EHR inventory. It provides significant reach and facilitates omnichannel, point-of-care marketing campaigns through technology. These platforms also offer a better end-user experience because they control ad frequency and ensure no budget waste. In addition, marketers get real-time insights and activation in one system, including backend reporting that provides immediate clinical insights about target HCPs who were exposed to ads and then prescribed the drug marketed. Programmatic solutions such as demand-side platforms offer a view across the complete omnichannel picture, so you know how other channels work seamlessly with EHR and contribute to conversions. 

The right questions to ask while evaluating EHR partners

The electronic health records market is highly fragmented, with only a small percentage accepting advertising in their workflow. Yet, many vendors tend to overstate their reach, claiming they have as much as 50-60% of the market when this is virtually impossible given the availability across the EHR landscape. These numbers can inflate because some EHR vendors have loose definitions of “advertising” compared to other EHR commercial offerings such as coupons or adherence-based text solutions. While these various EHR-based commercial offerings have significant value depending on the brand strategy, it’s important to note that when evaluating advertising only, a vendor’s reach should never exceed 20-25%.

It’s clear why asking vendors in the electronic health records market the right questions is critical during the vetting process. 

To start, ask about their data’s specifics and what makes up their reach and/or list match during the planning phase:

  • Is it comprised of matches to media/advertising opportunities?
  • Is it inclusive of other offerings, such as financial savings programs?
  • Can you give me your match for just advertising?
  • If/when you show matches greater than 20-25%, how is that possible, given that only a small portion of platforms accept advertising?

Next, understand their reporting type:

  • Do you report on ALL NPIs exposed?
  • Do you provide clinical prescribing insights?
  • Is it in real-time, or is there a lag?
  • Is your data based on closed claims or prescriptions sent?

Finally, because HCPs use EHRs in a clinical environment, it’s crucial to understand: 

  • Which EHR platforms do you run media on?
  • If you can't tell us what platforms are in your network, why is that?  
  • Where will your ads appear?
  • Do your EHR partners comply with all HIPPA guidelines?
  • Are the platforms ONC-certified?
  • What other compliance standards do you uphold?

Programmatic EHR with PulsePoint

PulsePoint was among the first to market with a programmatic EHR solution for point-of-care marketing. We ensure we respect all data, reporting, and transparency guidelines in electronic health records marketing strategies. 

Our technology evaluates up to 100 billion daily opportunities and profiles digital behaviors and intent addressable across devices, households, and locations visited by consumers and target HCP audiences. Our data and identity graph enable brands to identify all HCPs exposed during an EHR campaign, so there are no gaps in your back-end reporting. PulsePoint, 100% without fail, will always tell you which platforms we utilize and where your ads appear while leveraging brand safety filters to ensure complete compliance with our offering. 

We have experts with healthcare backgrounds who can guide you on best practices and compliance with electronic health records marketing strategies. They can also help you detect inflation-specific metrics like reach so you don’t get caught out by literal false advertising. 

Download our guide or contact us today to learn more about EHR advertising campaigns with PulsePoint.

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