Medical professional associations have questions. The answers are in the data.

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By Ethan Popowitz 

“How can I better serve the members of my medical professional association?” 

If you lead a medical professional association, then this question is probably at the top of your mind all the time — second only to “how can I grow my membership?” 

According to my colleague, Kevin Dubuc, a senior product marketing manager at Definitive Healthcare, there’s an easy answer to both questions: Look in the data.  

When a medical professional association has access to the right data and knows how to deploy it strategically, something incredible can happen: a fundamental shift in how that organization operates. With data, a medical professional association can more effectively grow its membership, build a more vibrant community and improve the lives and careers of its members.   

Kevin goes into greater detail in his webinar, Using data to drive operational excellence within medical professional associations. He was joined by Mia Koroma Ekanem, a senior director of health policy, clinical and practice affairs at the Society of Interventional Radiology, and Hjalmer Danielson, a senior director of business development at the California Medical Association.  

You can watch the full 50-minute discussion and Q&A here or read on for two key takeaways about how your medical professional association can use data to better serve your members and even discover hidden opportunities.  

Takeaway 1: Use data to demonstrate value to both members and nonmembers 

If you lead a medical professional association, you’re probably asked every day: 

“Why should I join your association?” 

At first, the answer might come easy to you. Healthcare professionals can benefit from affiliating with a medical society in a number of ways, including:  

  1. Networking: An association serves as a meeting place for healthcare workers to engage with peers, mentors, influencers and leaders in their specialty. The events you host—or help your members attend—can be a seedbed for collaboration.  

  1. Education: We all know the healthcare landscape is complex and changing rapidly. You can transform your members into experts by helping them stay up to date on the latest advancements in their field. 

While both examples did deliver incremental benefits to her members, Mia quickly found that existing members and prospects were asking for even more value from the Society of Interventional Radiology.  

After some digging, Mia realized some of her members had a high volume of claims denials. A denied claim can be a costly misstep and is one of the primary causes of revenue leakage at a healthcare facility. In fact, Change Healthcare found that each denied claim cost about $118, contributing to about $8.6 billion in appeals-related administrative costs.  

Healthcare commercial intelligence from the Definitive Healthcare platform helped Mia uncover a solution.  

“Mapping out the entire claims structure—how they are submitted, how the referral came in, what physician referred that patient, whether the patient was assessed to actually be a good candidate for the services requested—helped us a lot in understanding our claims issues and find where the gaps were,” she said in the webinar 

Her organization dug into the data to extensively map out how her members were submitting claims, pinpointing issues throughout the process. This research helped uncover revenue cycle problems at the coding and billing steps. From there, the Society of Interventional Radiology helped its physicians fully understand the claims submission process, reduce denials and plug up gaps in leaked revenue.  

Takeaway 2: Data can help you discover hidden business opportunities 

For Hjalmer Danielson, from the California Medical Association, data can be used for much more than just acquiring members. His organization used Definitive Healthcare data to enhance its own business development strategy.  

According to Hjalmer, his organization had a solid membership database and a clear understanding of their activities. However, they had little visibility into the behaviors of former members and no insight at all into nonmembers—who accounted for two-thirds of the active physicians practicing in California. 

Hjalmer describes it best by saying, “prior to Definitive Healthcare, we were flying without much data.” 

After working with Definitive Healthcare’s products, the California Medical Association learned it could deepen its understanding of nonmember activity by tracking how they affiliated with hospitals, surgery centers and clinics. This information, and other data, was instrumental in helping Hjalmer’s organization segment their market, identify influential physicians and develop more engaging marketing and communications campaigns to nonmembers.  

Hjalmer also added that Definitive Healthcare data helped support other initiatives from the California Medical Association. During the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization used Definitive Healthcare data to chart the distribution of personal protective equipment across the state and identify the physicians and groups providing vaccinations that could make the most out of state funds.  

Mia followed by explaining that the Society of Interventional Radiology didn’t initially search for healthcare commercial intelligence for business development purposes. Since using Definitive Healthcare, her organization realized “there’s so much opportunity [in the market] that it would be damaging of us not to take that opportunity to understand nonmembers and attract them into the society. We feel that we’re getting probably four or five times the value of what we paid for the actual data.” 

Learn more 

Having access to the right data can uncover answers to a medical professional association’s biggest business questions.  

But acquiring data is only half the battle. Deriving insights from that data and strategically using it to improve your planning and decision-making is the next step.   

You can use healthcare commercial intelligence from the Definitive Healthcare platform to help your organization better understand both members and nonmembers and identify new opportunities for growth. You can learn more about this by watching the webinar on-demand here, reading our medical professional associations’ buyer’s guide, or by starting a free trial.  

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