Several years ago, I had been referred to a specialist to check on something unusual (I was fine). What struck me, however, was the preponderance of logo marked items used as part of the patient “experience.” This guy didn’t even buy the exam table paper!………(of course, the more interesting question is which pharmaceutical company thought it was a good idea).
Pharmaceutical marketing has been receiving a lot of scrutiny of late, and a number of physicians and hospitals are pushing back, limiting or banning the overt promotion that has gone on. As reported in this today’s Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Duluth-based SMDC Health System is a recent convert, issuing an outright ban on logo items. They also collected over 18,700 logo items from employees in the System’s four hospitals, clinics and related services (the items are to be donated to a hospital in
I’ve always been amused by the giveaways from the companies. Ad specialties (the proper name for any kind of imprinted product that is given away as a promotion) is a big and important business. I’ve used them in my consulting business, and in my former position in medical practices and hospitals. I’ve played a “game” with physicians – I would put my hand around the coffee mug they were holding, and ask them “which drug is on the cup?” They never knew – because no one pays attention.
SMDC is probably right – using freebies in a profesional setting with patients looks cheap. I’ve seen sign in sheets and clipboards with the ads, medical record note pages, medical history and other forms – all with logos. We have so much advertising in our lives, as advertisers try any place where they might get the consumers attention. Ads are over urinals, on shopping carts, on television monitors over the checkout lines, and my favorite – the television with “informercials” in practice waiting rooms.
Now, I believe – but can’t prove – that many of the small chochkes are really a reflection of good personal relationships that we may develop with pharmaceutical reps, no different than any other business relationship we have. The key point here is to keep the obvious ones out of view, and not at the detriment of your practice image. My preference for pens would be either cheap ones (as so many are lost) or buy ones with your logo on them. All forms look like business forms – your design, questions, organization. And buy your own – no logos – exam table paper.
But there is that really good travel mug my social worker wife got from Seroquel J