Case Study: Spin-Up Doctors

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If you mailed a CD to 24,000 office-based pediatricians, how many of those doctors do you think might pop the disk into their PC and take a look at your CME program?

Perhaps 2-3%? Maybe even as many as 10%, if it was a really hot topic like, say, HPV?
How about 92.4%?

This was the astonishing spin-up rate achieved by the first mailing of MPR Pillars of Care, a Merck-supported CME program focusing on cervical cancer prevention. 

Jeff Pfohl, vice president of medical education, Haymarket Medical, which developed and produced the program in conjunction with SciMedMedia, had never seen anything like it. “10% is a home run for a mailing like this,” he says. “Our first reaction was that maybe it was a fluke.” Pfohl's team then sent out a second mailing, this time to 36,000 OB/GYNs. The result? 91% spin-up. No fluke.

Just what was going on here?

“We called it the perfect storm,” explains Pfohl. “Just a lot of good things coming together.” These included a hot topic, innovative formatting, strong speakers, a great user experience (SciMedMedia provided “great graphics” and Flash animation) and a solid outside accreditor in Boston University. Furthermore, the program leveraged the established Monthly Prescribing Reference (MPR) brand in order to reach a broad audience quickly; the MPR name adorned all materials and some mailings were distributed with the publication.

This perfect storm was tested further with the third mailing, “Cervical Cancer: A Vaccine-Preventable Disease,” sent to 36,000 pediatricians. This time 41% of those who received the mailing looked at the materials. And a fourth program, “Breaking the Link Between STDs and Cancer” yielded a 30% spin-up from 95,000 primary care physicians, whom Pfohl describes as “absolutely the toughest audience… 5% and people would have been happy,” he says.

Pillars of Care came about when Haymarket Medical, having done a successful symposium for Merck, was challenged to provide an enduring CME piece that would be viewed and used.

Pfohl sat down with Peder Regan, president and chief executive officer of SciMedMedia, and came up with the concept.

SciMed's involvement was crucial to providing a great user experience.

“We put it across focus groups,” says Regan. “We added easty-to-use functionality for the end user with nice bells and whistles.”

But arguably more important was the tracking technology that SciMed developed and employed on the CDs.
“If you look at return on education,” explains Regan, “and you just base it on certificates, it's pretty dismal. But when you start extending that to usage stats—where people are spending time, what they're doing, what topics they're most interested in —helps for supplemental programs. Haymarket, for instance, can go back to the HPV program and use that to address potential needs.”
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