When to Get Involved With EMRs? ASAP.

Dear House Rules,

A medical podcast I listen to do recently did a story on the rapid rise of EMRs (Electronic Medical Records) in doctors’ offices and hospitals. My company is fairly new, and I don’t want to waste our budget on a message delivery platform that isn’t proven—but I don’t want to be left behind, either.


Too Soon?

Dear Too Soon,

We understand your hesitation. EMRs (you may also see them referred to as EHRs, or Electronic Health Records) are in their infancy, but they’re here to stay—and they’re growing. According to the latest government statistics, 72% of office-based physicians are using an EMR or EHR system, up from 48% in 2009, and market leaders report that eventually, EMRs will become the dominant communications stream for physicians.

Of course, it’s never a good idea to choose a tactic simply because of its “cool factor.” Without the right strategy, you may be just wasting time and resources. A strong digital marketing strategy is essential for communicating with your customers and staying ahead of your competition.

Marketing to HCPs through EMRs will better integrate with a physician’s daily workflow and shift the mindset from disruptive marketing to a partnership. Physicians use EMRs for their tools, and the more information physicians are getting through these systems, the more opportunity for marketers to provide value. Leveraging EMRs to deliver meaningful assets to physicians at the point of prescribing represents a prime opportunity to change their behavior.

So how can you reach physicians through EMRs? One obvious way is to provide information about a brand that is of high clinical value to physicians. Additionally, according to Manhattan Research’s latest Taking the Pulse survey, at least 40% of HCPs say patient education, samples, vouchers, patient financial support and product information are features they are most interested in seeing in EMRs, along with formulary data and safety updates. EMRs can also be used for direct marketing to physicians through banner ads, industry-sponsored clinical resources and emerging solutions.

Watch out for the watch-outs: Marketing to HCPs through EMRs is not without its obstacles. There are approximately 600 EMR system vendors, and only a few offer partnerships with pharma companies. There are also concerns about privacy, interruption of the HCP process by forcing information during a clinical decision, and the intricacies of integration with EMRs. These all need to be considered when determining if an EMR plan is right for your brand.

The opportunity for marketers in EMRs is here, and physicians do want the right kind of pharma involvement. But it’s imperative that a brand has a clear EMR strategy to capitalize on this channel opportunity and ensure it is providing a fully integrated communications plan. Be sure to partner with a pharma marketing specialist that can deliver top-flight creative work as well as best-in-class strategic thinking to incorporate this exciting new message delivery method into your marketing mix.

About Xavier Creative House

Founded in 2013, Xavier Creative House (XCH) is an award-winning healthcare creative agency specializing in pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device. XCH’s global team of brand builders and healthcare marketers, tech-savvy go-getters, and innovative dream-vetters are passionate about the big idea that changes behavior in the healthcare marketplace. They believe life is about connections and that healthcare is about life. That is why XCH delivers bold and evocative creative solutions, amplified by meaningful technology, to energize brands and authentically connect with patients and HCPs.

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Sunny White
Founder & CEO of Xavier Creative House