Topic: Customer Behavior

How To Convince Doctors They Are Prescribing Wrong

Posted by psalsberg on 500 Points
I am not going to use any brand names but there are eye doctors who are recommending their patients to take a type of supplement too prematurely. Such behavior could cause an advancement of an eye condition that may exasperate many health issues. What is happening, generally speaking, is that many doctors dont have time to review journals, reports etc. so they rely on their visiting sales reps, during the day,to provide them with up-to-date information. The problem with this is that its a very dangerous practice for both the doctor and the rep. The rep wants to make sales and the doctor, understands the rep is from a multi-billion dollar company so why bother questioning the advice?
The issue is that there are many reports that prove the doctor should not be recommending a particular supplement until a patient reaches a certain stage of this given condition. I would say most doctors are unaware of these reports that have been published. My goal is to simply get these doctors to read the reports and make an appropriate decision with regards to the health and safety of their patients. Yet, I dont have the manpower or money to reach them. What type of marketing strategies would you propose to get this message across to doctors so they begin to question their reps about this issue?
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  • Posted by mgoodman on Moderator
    Your question will have different responses based on your own stake in the outcome. WHY are you on this mission to educate doctors? Where? What is a successful outcome for you? (How many doctors' minds and behaviors do you have to change to feel like this is worthwhile? In what time frame?) What is it worth to you to change the behavior of the next doctor?

    We have a client now who has a somewhat similar problem (albeit not eye-related), so we know what a challenge it can be to reach and educate physicians. One key is to have an alternative product/solution for them. Even then it's not easy.

    Give us some information about your reason for this crusade, and we may be able to offer some useful advice.
  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Member
    Can you convince one eye doctor of your cause? If so, then you may be able to enlist their help in communicating with their community.
  • Posted by psalsberg on Author
    I am on a mission to educate doctors for two reasons. We do have a safe alternative product without the high doses of the potentially dangerous ingredients. The other reason is simply because we are seeing far too many patients suffer as a result of being ill advised by the rep/doctor. We are seeing this kind of behavior in both Canada and the US. A successful outcome would really be for practitioners to re-evaluate how they recommend or prescribe what they falsely believe to be the best solution. There are really very few thought leaders in the realm of eyecare so its difficult to get them to reach out to the masses. I need eye doctors to review their charts and look at those patients who may have been affected by such a premature recommendation. The reality is based on the numerous research papers, there are probably over a million North American patients who will have suffered as a result of being told to take the supplements at the wrong time. The reality is that it would be great to change most of the doctor's behavior. Simply put, my intention is not to convince them not to recommend the supplement. I am simply trying to let them know that there is a time and a place for it and they have no idea that they are jumping the gun.

  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Accepted
    Can you create an online portal that showcases your information in a way that's understandable by the general public and has sufficient independent studies/research proving your claim? If so, you could create a public campaign around eye health - especially if people are searching for specific keywords (the "bad" drug and/or condition being treated). In some cases, you'll need to have the patients themselves bring the evidence to their doctor. If you have scientific proof, then attempt to speak at the "right" conventions and/or get published in the "right" journals.
  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    Assuming you are not a doctor yourself, it will help your cause if you can get someone at a reputable medical school to review your research and support your claims. There is not much you can do without that because the "medical establishment" has very tight reins on the information shared with physicians. And the drug companies ... well, you know all about their interests.

    The best you can hope for in terms of marketing is probably what Jay suggests: take your case directly to consumers and pitch your product as being more appropriate (when it is), and suggesting that patients "ask [their] medical professional to see if XYZ is right for you." I'd be careful about going to consumers with a warning; better to just present the solution.

    It's not a great answer, but it may be the only way to make headway in the short-term. You can start locally, then expand if/when you have some success. You've picked one of the most challenging areas to crack for a marketer. (I have the dents in my helmet to prove it!)
  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Accepted
    First: seek to persuade rather than to convince. The difference is subtle, though huge.

    Second, the doctors you're targeting need to speak to you about what they're doing more than you need to speak to them about what they're not doing.

    Third, offer your target doctors simple, solid, verifiable evidence of your claims.
  • Posted by Alissa_Goodwin on Accepted
    Ask the doctors questions to discover his preferences and patient needs. Refrain from "why" questions- it puts people on the defense.
    Write 3 main questions to provoke exploration of alternative solutions to patient problems and put them on a postcard to give to the doctor. Create curiosity for them to want to learn more.
    "What if you could......."
    "What if your patients....."

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