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National Jewish Health

Educating GPs about Diseases that Mask Themselves as Asthma.

Create
Referring Process

Increase
Awareness & Expertise

Build
Ongoing Following

CHALLENGE

National Jewish Health is the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to groundbreaking medical research and treatment of patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune, and related disorders.

Over several years, the pulmonologists at the hospital were seeing a large percentage of patients entering the hospital who had been misdiagnosed with asthma through their Internal Medicine physicians. These patients’ diseases ranged from sinusitis, myocardial ischemia, gastroesophageal reflux disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and bronchiectasis, among others. Most of these patients had been treated with Albuterol instead of the occupational therapy and pharmacological treatment that was critical to their health.

Avocet worked with the pulmonologists at the hospital on a program to educate physicians about diseases that mask themselves as asthma, to drive referrals to the hospital thus mitigating misdiagnosis and creating better quality of life for patients.

SITUATION ANALYSIS

Avocet started from Day One by being curious and asking questions. Was there a common misdiagnosis? Was there a demographic that was misdiagnosed more often? Was there a type of physician that misdiagnosed more often? Our questions meant that we also had to listen.

Through our meetings with the specialists, a deep dive into the hospital key patient datapoints, and additional research we obtained through the CDC, we determined that:

  1. General Practitioners (GP) were the most common type of physician that misdiagnosed patients. These physicians were typically working in facilities that accepted Medicaid and were short-staffed.
  2. Racial and ethnic differences in asthma frequency, illness, and death were connected with poverty, city air quality, indoor allergens, not enough patient education, and poor health care.
  3. The rate of asthma and the prevalence of asthma episodes was highest among Black Americans.
  4. Black children are three times as likely to have asthma compared to white children.
  5. Compared to white Americans, Black Americans were more likely to visit the emergency department due to asthma.

Avocet’s research and analytics team took this baseline data and mapped out geographies that included income, levels of air quality, public transportation, ethnic diversity, and general practitioners within the top 25 U.S. markets fitting the criteria.

strategy

Based on this primary and secondary research, Avocet started the strategic development process. Our goals were to:

  1. Create a streamlined referring process (which operations tackled).
  2. Educate physicians about a disease that had masked itself as asthma while providing a treatment overview.
  3. Create comradery among referring GPs showing empathy and respect.
  4. Develop an ongoing following.
  5. Develop a theme that involved the referring doctor as a part of the solution.
  6. Execute a media mix that would increase overall awareness and expertise surrounding the specialty practices at National Jewish.

We needed to appeal to physicians and stroke their egos. We needed to educate, not dictate. We needed to motivate, and we knew that a softer approach would be more compelling. We also uncovered that these physicians love art. We played to that personal emotion with the overall look and feel of the piece.

Avocet’s creative theme ideated and developed “Grand Rounds” as the theme. Grand Rounds are formal meetings at which physicians discuss the clinical case of one or more patients and are an integral component of medical education.

Grand Rounds brought forth in-depth patient stories (abiding by all HIPPA regulations) outlining the patient history, examination details, diagnosis, and care details.

EXECUTION

The primary delivery mechanism was a magazine-type direct mail program that was sent monthly and backed up with email, database acquisition, thought leadership, and supporting collateral components.

The strategic storytelling Avocet deployed was scientific and compelling. It brought forth how seemingly asthma would be a natural diagnosis, and how obtaining a correct diagnosis was difficult. Pulmonologists speaking at key industry trade shows brought forth Grand Rounds stories through expert positioning.

Graphically, Avocet utilized medical illustrators to create beautiful, yet technical illustrations that were used on each cover and later turned into a poster series.

RESULTS

Overall referrals increased after the first direct mail piece by 3% and ultimately grew to 22%. The pulmonologists at National Jewish brought Grand Rounds to the speaker circuit attending several trade shows. Mutual respect was also achieved, a key point to on-going referrals.

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CONTACT

It’s time to be fearless. It’s time to be bold. Call today and ignite your success! 303.678.7102.

LONGMONT (Headquarters)

425 Main Street
Longmont, CO 80501

DENVER

2373 Central Park Blvd, Ste 100
Denver, CO 80231
*Required Field

CONTACT

It’s time to be fearless. It’s time to be bold. Call today and ignite your success! 303.678.7102.

LONGMONT (Headquarters)

425 Main Street
Longmont, CO 80501

DENVER

2373 Central Park Blvd, Ste 100
Denver, CO 80231
*Required Field