Survey Insights Help Guide Communications between UCSF Imaging, Referring Physicians

Author:  Laurel Skurko, Marketing Director, UCSF Radiology and Biomedical Imaging

Any successful enterprise must learn as much as possible about the people it serves in order to consistently meet expectations and provide the experience we promise. To that end, the UCSF Imaging marketing team recently completed a survey of how its referring physicians prefer to be communicated with, including how they use social media services.  

The email survey was opened by nearly 2,000 physicians. A few dozen hard copies were also delivered in person by UCSF physician liaisons and marketing team members to physicians they call upon regularly. About 400 (20%) physicians completed the survey. Approximately 100 (25%) of them are UCSF doctors in specialties which regularly refer patients for imaging. The remaining 300 (75%) respondents work throughout the Bay Area. (Note that about 10% of Bay Area physicians are part of UCSF*.) The areas of specialization of respondents included primary care, oncologypsychiatry, and women’s health.

Over one-fifth (20%) of the professionals surveyed responded, a rate high above survey norms. Of their communications preferences, we learned:

  • 80% indicated that email was the preferred method of staying in touch with UCSF Imaging. This is twice the 40% who responded similarly in the previous survey, conducted about one year ago.
  • 67% of all respondents indicated email as the preferred source of industry news overall.
  • 10% say they use social media as a primary source of professional news, with LinkedIn as the number one use.
  • Among personal social media use, 50% are on Facebook.

The survey also asked about respondents’ awareness of particular UCSF Imaging services and activities. The goal of this inquiry was to obtain information on the success of marketing on behalf of an imaging technology added to the service set this year--PET/MRI--and to rate the success of promotions for UCSF Imaging’s most recently added facility at 1725 Montgomery Street in downtown San Francisco. After recent promotions, awareness of PET/MRI was 20%, and our Montgomery Street practice had a 16% awareness rating among external physicians. These both ranked higher than the 7% awareness of our China Basin facility, which we used as a “control,” as we have not actively promoted in recent years. We noted much higher awareness levels among those internal to UCSF, 48% and 25% awareness levels for PET/MRI and Montgomery Street, respectively, which indicates to us, the power of word-of-mouth marketing among internal audiences.

This is the second time in a little over a year that the community of referring physicians has been polled about how they receive communications from UCSF Imaging and how they get important industry news in general. Most notable in comparison to last year’s survey was the doubling of those who said email was their preferred method of receiving news from UCSF Imaging. This finding supports our enthusiasm for the monthly newsletter we began sending at the start of 2016 to this same list of local referring physicians.

The goal of our marketing efforts is to listen to our customers’ needs and bring attention to the world-class health services and research UCSF Imaging provides so that we can improve the lives of more patients. Insights such as these gained through surveying our customer base help us deepen relationships with those we serve and learn how information on our healthcare resources can most successfully be conveyed.

* Bay Area Market: There are approximately 30,000 physicians in the Bay Area. Among those, there are about 2,800 UCSF physicians, representing about 10% of this total.


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