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May 01, 2022



The Evolution of Point-of-Care Marketing


Point-of-care marketing is still effective, but it must adapt to how the pharma industry has changed. Digital list-match solutions like WriteMD® can help. 

There are plenty of advertising opportunities in your average doctor’s office. Your next pharmaceutical consumer can see a commercial promoting a new psoriasis medication on the waiting room TV, flip through a magazine and pass ads for Crohn’s disease treatments, or glance at a promotional ad on the hallway wall as they follow the nurse to their appointment. The latest traditional point-of-care (PoC) approaches even include tablets with digital banners or touch-screen kiosks that patients can interact with in the medical office.  

That’s what has made in-office PoC marketing such an invaluable investment in the past. It’s a high-touchpoint strategy that increases your brand’s awareness and the likelihood of engagement, and it’s still a popular approach to this day. In fact, marketing consulting firm ZS predicts that PoC marketing spend in the healthcare industry is set to reach $1 billion by 2025

However, future success in point-of-care marketing will look a little different due to recent shifts in the pharmaceutical industry and changing consumer preferences. Here’s what you need to know.

How Point-of-Care Marketing Has Changed

Traditional point-of-care marketing was most effective when healthcare was predominantly in-person. Placing in-office ads, pamphlets, posters, and brochures nearly guaranteed exposure because prospective patients had to visit a medical office to receive care. Now, with the rise of telehealth, some prospects won’t set foot in an office at all, rendering traditional PoC approaches — even the digital ones — ineffective. 

The effectiveness of traditional point-of-care marketing has also changed due to broader shifts in consumer behavior. Around 90 percent of all consumers worldwide look at online reviews before making a decision, and that includes healthcare. Today’s prospective patients are more hesitant to settle with the first brand they encounter in an office, and they’re willing to shop around until they feel confident choosing a brand. This is especially true when patients must make a decision on a pharmaceutical drug that treats a serious and/or expensive condition.  If you only advertise in physical medical offices, you miss out on opportunities to engage with selective patients. 

The newfound “shoppability” of healthcare isn’t the only industry shift making point-of-care marketing more challenging. In recent years, it has become harder for pharmaceutical companies to generate revenue from brand-name prescriptions. Overall, there’s been a decline in brand-name prescription volumes as generics continue to dominate pharmacy shelves and many brand-name medications come off patent. Today’s patients prefer to have their doctor write a prescription for a cheaper but still effective generic than the name-brand option. 

Further, as the number of brand-name prescriptions decreases, so does the number of physicians doing the prescribing. Practitioner Insights data from Symphony Health Solutions has found that among the doctors who write a given brand name prescription, 80 percent of the prescriptions come from approximately 20 percent of those doctors. That percentage already excludes doctors who never write a brand-name prescription at all1. Pharmaceutical marketers must reach patients who visit that small population of prescribing doctors in order to drive prescriptions and turn a profit, but traditional in-office point-of-care marketing misses the mark. 

What Does This Mean for Your Point-of-Care Strategy?

Overcoming these challenges and improving upon existing point-of-care marketing approaches requires careful planning. Along with narrowing down your target audience to high-value, low-funnel patients who are most likely to visit a doctor who prescribes your brand, you’ll need to direct ads in the right format to these patients at the right time. Why?

  • Patients don’t engage with in-office materials as often as they used to: In-office PoC marketing efforts aren’t as effective as they once were. For patients who opt for in-person appointments, their idle time will likely be occupied checking their phone or speaking with a caregiver, not interacting with kiosks or tablets that feature your ads. Also, even if you do manage to get potential patients to interact with your in-office materials, you won’t see returns unless those ads are in the right doctor’s offices. By that, we mean the offices of the 20 percent of doctors who write 80 percent of the prescriptions for brand-name medications. 
  • Patients don’t have time to research advertised products while waiting: According to research from Phreesia, the average wait time for a primary care appointment is 10 to 15 minutes, and the average medical practice wait time is 20 minutes. 20 minutes goes by faster than you might think, especially when you consider that patients are often busy filling out paperwork, verifying insurance data, and passing time on their phones while they wait to be called in. Even though 68 percent of adults value point-of-care content, there’s not enough time for them to research your brand’s medication and decide to ask their physician about it before heading to their appointment.

To drive prescriptions and reach patients at the low end of the funnel who are ready to make a decision about their health, your marketing strategy must become digital. That means engaging patients who are most likely to visit physicians who prescribe brand-name medications. WriteMD can help.

Modernize Point-of-Care Marketing with WriteMD

WriteMD is an all-digital list-match solution from Healthgrades, America’s #1 website for finding and connecting with a healthcare professional. Since WriteMD is powered by the Healthgrades platform, it has access to almost every doctor in the country, effectively circumventing the access limitations faced by many other point-of-care marketing companies. We can list-match 99% of your highest prescribers with full transparency to ensure your ads hit their targets.

Also, WriteMD strategically places your brand’s online ads in front of patients on healthgrades.com when care is top of mind. We then message patients across channels in the 30 days leading up to their appointment so they have ample time to learn more about your products before they see a doctor.

Make sure that the last advertisement on a patient’s mind is your pharma brand’s. Contact Healthgrades today to learn more about partnering with WriteMD to engage patients at the right time, drive prescriptions, and make impressions that outlast your competition’s.

1 Symphony Health Solutions, Practitioner Insights data, 2022