Contributed to PharmaLeaders by: Richard Zwickel, Chairman and CEO POCN Group
Each year in the United States, about 264,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women and about 2,400 cases are diagnosed in men. Nearly 42,500 people die from the disease annually. Nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician associates (PAs) take an active role in breast cancer treatment for their patients, including detecting early signs of the disease, helping manage prescription side effects and identifying appropriate specialists for patient care. However, when it comes to communication and education, this group is often overlooked despite their critical role in healthcare. In response, POCN launched a ‘Breast Cancer Center of Excellence’ education portal where advanced care providers can learn from their peers who are experts in the breast cancer specialty treatment area. This particular ‘Center of Excellence’ is the first of several educational portals that will be focused on unique specialty areas for the 14,000 NPs and PAs working in the oncology setting. Other education areas will focus on bipolar disorder treatment, schizophrenia, multiple myeloma, HIV and tardive dyskinesia. It offers brand partners a tailored product education area where marketers can reach front-line healthcare providers. With one-third of all prescriptions being written by NPs and PAs each year, this key prescribing group is an important target for marketers.
The Importance of Marketing Directly to NPs and PAs
Nine out of 10 NPs and PAs say they have the power to make autonomous treatment decisions, and 79% say they influence the physicians in their practices. NPs and PAs are clinical in nature but holistic in their approach. They cultivate deeper relationships with their patients, and they want to keep up to date on the latest information. Until recently, marketers have focused their product campaigns on reaching physicians, but with the expanding importance and authority of the APP (Advanced practice provider), it’s critical for marketers to reach these high performing clinicians with information that is relevant to their specialty.
Consider these startling numbers: According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, in the next 8 years, NPs are expected to grow by 40%, PAs are projected to grow by a rate of 28%. While many primary care physicians are expected to retire, that career field is expected to grow only by 3%. This is why NPs and PAs have prescribing power nationwide and are writing more than a billion prescriptions annually. By using targeted tools, like the Breast Cancer COE, pharma marketers can reach these “hidden” front line treaters through targeted, sponsored product education spaces.
About the Breast Cancer Center of Excellence
The Breast Cancer Center of Excellence is a unique resource that is curated by breast cancer NP and PA experts and created to help other NPs and PAs improve their knowledge and improve patient care. It was developed to offer APPs a curated portal where they can find the latest information from their peers who work in the breast cancer specialty, along with a targeted product education space for brand partners. The portal offers a mix of data-driven product education solutions, market research, therapeutic news, insights and digital marketing solutions. It connects pharma marketers to relevant NPs and PAs practitioners who work directly with breast cancer patients.
Talented faculty advisors from around the country curate the content for the community, including: Sarah Donahue, MSN, MPH, Advanced Oncology NP at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center; Elizabeth Ramsey, MSN, FNP-C, Advanced Oncology Certified NP at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers in Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Bryan Danilchuck, MPAS, PA-C, Surgical Breast Oncology PA at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass.
What Pharma Marketers Gain
Pharma and life sciences marketers can identify, reach and engage APPs (NPs and PAs) based on their patient panel (Dx & Rx), local and regional peer communities, and personal preferences to deliver branded and disease-related information in multi/omni-channel formats. With more than 225,000 NPs and PAs working in primary care and another 190,000 working in specialty care – they make up the healthcare audience of the future in the United States. Even more, NPs and PAs say they want to be engaged by marketers with educational information, studies and marketing that is relevant to their specialty area. It’s critical for marketers to reach, connect and engage with influential NPs and PAs using targeted, custom campaigns and education opportunities that are more effective than using one-size-fits-all materials.
About the contributing author:
Richard Zwickel is the founder, CEO and chairman of POCN. Richard founded POCN with the goal of building a free, secure peer driven network for NPs and PAs.