Building a Physician Mailing List
A Quick-Start Tutorial on Using CP ListMaker
to Create a Specific List of Physicians
By Michael Christopher, Chief Data Analyst
This tutorial uses the CarePrecise Platinum healthcare provider data tools. The steps work the same way with CarePrecise Gold.
Making tightly targeted marketing lists of physicians, nurses, dentists, hospitals—just about any healthcare entity—is a snap with CP ListMaker, part of CarePrecise Platinum and CarePrecise Gold.
Here's a step-by-step example, showing how to create a physician mailing list (which also serves as a physician telemarketing database), and view it in Excel.
You'll use these same steps to make hospital lists, dentist lists, pharmacy lists... medical marketing lists of any kind you need.
CP ListMaker brings the huge contents of the CarePrecise national healthcare provider database under the control of an easy-to-use, wizard-based interface. Our physician database is part of our complete healthcare provider database, which means it is not only a list of doctors, but the complete database of physicians, nurses, hospitals—every kind of healthcare provider in the United States. That means there are a lot of records (more than
), so using the data means being able to pull from it exactly the medical marketing lists you need for each specific purpose.
Here's how we might use it to make a mailing list of doctors in a particular area of Colorado, who specialize in adolescent medicine.
A Complete Physician Database for Building Specific Doctor Lists
Of course, you could instead simply order a physician mailing list from one of the many mailing list brokers on the Internet. In fact, you could order a doctor list tailor-made to your specifications from us here at CarePrecise. But what we're hoping is that you'll appreciate being able to do it yourself, starting from a complete physician database, being able to to change your mind and do it over and over again to make specific physician mailing lists as you need them, and at a price that is far below most of the mailing list brokers for just a single list. And you'll be able not only to make physician lists with CarePrecise Platinum or CarePrecise Gold, but lists of any kind of HIPAA-covered healthcare provider in the United States.
Ready? Let's make a physician mailing list to target doctors with specific characteristics.
1. Physician List Criteria
The first step is to decide what kind of healthcare providers we want on our medical marketing list. In this case, we're creating a list of doctors in a particular geographical area, who practice particular specialties.
With CP ListMaker open on the computer desktop, click the New Criteria tab...
(NOTE: Screenshots are shown reduced in size to fit this page, and will be larger when seen using the actual software on your computer.)
We're looking at three blue boxes on this tab, labeled
- Pick Taxonomy Codes (healthcare provider specialties and facility types)
- Pick Zips (U.S. Zip Codes)
- Pick States (states and territories)
Specialties on our Doctor List
First, from our complete medical provider database, we'll pick the exact physician specialties we want in the big blue box on the left side of the screen from the Pick Taxonomy Codes box. "Provider Taxonomy Codes" are the official codes used by the healthcare inductry to identify kinds of healthcare providers. We could select any or all of the physician specialties for our doctor list.
In this case, we control-clicked on the physician specialties to select them as shown here.
There's also a Find Specialty Tool for searching for specialties by text:
We can use the Find Specialty Tool to be sure we haven't missed any of the many subspecialties we want on our doctor mailing list.
CarePrecise Platinum contains not only physician data, but data on the 823 medical specialties and facility types, every single kind of HIPAA-covered medical specialty and facility is in the database, including dentists, hospitals, nurses, etc.
As the industry adopts new provider taxonomy codes, we update the specialty and facility list. And when providers change or add specialties, we catch it every month.
Geographic Coverage of the Doctor List
If we want to, we can limit our physician mailing list to a specific geographic area (or make several different lists, each in a different area).
In the middle blue box, we'll select the zip codes to include in our list of doctors from the Pick Zips box. CP ListMaker makes this very easy, allowing us to sort the zips showing in the box by number or alphabetically by city, and we can even filter to show only the zips in a particular state or county.
To zero in on the specific zip codes we want, we can select a state and even a county in the little menus at the top of the Pick Zips Box. Then we control-click on the zips we want to include.
This is also the place where we can filter to view and select only urban, rural or suburban zip codes, and even filter to view zip codes with particular econometric (wealth/poverty) profiles.
There's also a Zip Code Lookup Tool and a Geographic Radius Tool . We could use the Geographic Radius Tool to make a list of physicians within, say, 5 miles of downtown Denver, Colorado, or within 100 miles of Tucson, Arizona. You can make lists of physicians from anywhere in the United States.
State Selections for a Marketing List
If we simply wanted all of the physicians in a state or states, we could use the Pick States box. But we don't want a whole state full of doctors on our mailing list this time, so we'll leave that one blank, as shown below.
2. View and Edit Marketing List Criteria
Now that we've selected the types of physicians we want on our lest, and the zip codes we want to include, we click the next tab, View Criteria, to check our selections.
We click the Collect Criteria button, and now we can tweak or selections, and we can save them as a Criteria Set that can be used again, or used as a starting place for new Criteria Sets to make other similar physician lists. If you have a monthly or quarterly subscription to the CarePrecise data, you can simply copy the new data into the folder, and when you open a saved Criteria Set and perform the next Find Matches step, you'll be seeing doctor listings drawn from the updated physician database.
You can save an unlimited number of Criteria Sets, and your Criteria Sets are carried forward when you upgrade the CP ListMaker software.
3. Run the Physician List Search
Now it's time to click the Find Matches tab so we can take a look at the doctors on the very specifically targeted physician mailing/telemarketing list that we just built!
When we click the Find Matches button, CP ListMaker sifts through millions of records—more than a billion data points— to pull up exactly the list of doctors who meet our criteria. There were only three doctors in the database that matched our criteria (physicians practicing adolescent medicine living in three small towns in Colorado). We might decide to go back to the New Criteria Tab and broaden the search a little bit, perhaps by adding physicians who specialize in pediatric sports medicine or neuromusculoskeletal sports medicine, or maybe by opening up the geographic area a little bit to include the rural areas in a wider radius around our towns.
For this example, we'll just go with the three records that were found for now. We can always go back and tweak our Criteria Set later.
The list is displayed on this tab as plain, all-caps text, and just a few columns are shown, but we'll be able to add other columns of data and export the list all nice and properly cased in the next steps.
"Drop Out" Criteria
Notice that we could also save these records as a "List" within the CP ListMaker software. It's not necessary when you're just pulling a simple mailing list like this one, but this feature can come in handy if we want to tweak our list even more, say, to remove physicians who also practice family medicine in one of the zip codes. Yes, we can get that specific! To do this sort of "drop out" we would make two Lists— one containing the broad catch (as we've done here), then a smaller one of family medicine physicians in zip 80125, and then use the List Loader Tool to "Remove From Matches," leaving physicians who DO practice adolescent medicine but DO NOT also practice family medicine in one zip code and removing the others, while leaving physicians from all the other zip codes in the List, whether they practice family medicine or not. Powerful marketing list creation, right?
4. More Filtering, Making Our List Pretty, and Exporting to Excel
The next and final tab is the Output Lists tab. This is where we can make some final choices about what's on our physician mailing list.
Looking at the screenshot above, we see some blue-bordered boxes. The first of these, labeled "Filter Output" allows us to, um, filter the output. We can accept the defaults, or make choices about Entity Type (people or organizations or both), Gender, whether a physician is enrolled to be able to bill Medicare, whether they have been barred from billing federal programs due to certain infractions. We can also filter to show only physician group organizations.
SharpMail™: Making it Pretty!
Sending mail in all caps is like SHOUTING AT PEOPLE ON FACEBOOK. SharpMail takes care of that for us, generating an intelligent salutation (no more "Dear Doctor"), and putting everything in proper uppercase and lowercase text. DR SANTA Q MCCLAUSE becomes Dr. Santa Q. McClause, and his address, The North Pole, now looks lots cooler than THE NORTH POLE.
We can also choose whether to use the mailing address or the practice address, where they differ. Mailing addresses tend to be physicians' business office address, which can sometimes help reach the primary partners in the practice, so we might want this address for those records that have it.
Exporting Our Physician Mailing List
We keep referring to this as a "physician mailing list" or "physician marketing list," but it's really so much more than that. Using the Output Lists Tab options, we can choose to add as many columns of data from the master CarePrecise database as we like, up to 334 individual source data points. So what we have here is a highly specific Physician Database, and we can add things like descriptions of all the specialties they practice, state license numbers, UPIN codes, phones and fax numbers for both the practice and business offices, and more.
By default, the list coming out of SharpMail will already have the unique NPI (National Provider Identifier) number, the physicians' names, addresses, phones, faxes, gender, whether or not it's a sole proprietorship, the primary specialty, and some other bits. By clicking on the Clone button beside any of the standard output queries or in the SharpMail tool, we can create a Custom output query, that pulls exactly the columns we want to see on our physician mailing list. That's what's over there on the right hand side of the screenshot above: a list of all the Custom Queries that have been saved in the past. (Custom queries are carried forward when you upgrade the CP ListMaker software to a new version.)
You can click the View button in SharpMail and look at the mailing list before exporting it, if you like. It looks like this:
Sending SharpMail to Excel
Now let's export our gussied-up mailing list of doctors as a file we can open and play with in Excel, or send to a mailing service or telemarketing software. It's as easy as... Click! When SharpMail has been run, the Export button will appear, and all we have to do is click it. The file is now saved in the Output folder within your CarePrecise programs folder on your computer.
Open Excel and choose the File | Open (or Office Button | Open) option. Select the file in your CarePrecise folder, for example, C:\CarePrecise\Output\2012-11-13_07129_SharpMail.txt. The file name was created by CP ListMaker from today's date and a random number.
Interesting note: The file format by default is .txt, not .csv or .xls, because we want to preserve any leading zeros there might be, such as in some zip codes and state licenses. Excel will not strip those leading zeroes in a .txt file as some versions do when they open .csv and .xls files directly. When you've opened the file in Excel you can save it as a native .xls file, .csv file, or whatever format your Excel program permits. Of course, you can use the built-in functions within CP ListMaker to choose to export directly as an Excel file instead.
Since our export file is .txt format, it may not appear in the Excel Open Dialog until you select Files of Type | Text (or All Files).
This is what our physician mailing list looks like in Excel:
Want to look at the file in Excel for yourself? Click a link below to download it. If your browser refuses to let you download the .xls Excel version, click the .txt version link, and "Save" the page as a .txt file somewhere on your computer. After you've downloaded the file, first open Excel, then use the File | Open thing in Excel to open the file (double-clicking the file name frequently will not work).
"Like a magic box inside our
physician marketing campaigns."
MV, Houston, TX
That's all there is to it! of course you can get much more technical, and become a CP ListMaker power user, but most list making tasks are just this easy.
Here's some more useful information, just in case your head hasn't exploded yet (you'd think they pay us by the word):