Influence isn’t new—and neither are influencers. Think Galileo. Shakespeare. Picasso. Einstein. In the 21st century, however, a misconception has taken hold among many that influence is measured in sparkly objects. That what counts is what can be counted: likes, tweets, views, and the ability to draw fans to a nightclub opening or a resort destination.

But most influence doesn’t work that way. It’s not measured in millions of fans but in an individual’s ability to reach the right person and move the needle on your business. It’s far more often microtargeting than macro-broadcasting.

In the healthcare world, the focus on micro-influencers has traditionally been on physicians. And we know their influence is not going to change anytime soon. But they’re getting some company, and it’s happening fast.

Meet the new influencers: Nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) who are increasingly flexing their influence muscles and putting their peer and patient relationships to work in significant ways.

A Growing Segment with Prescribing Prowess

NPs and PAs are a fast-growing segment of the healthcare workforce. According to data compiled by POCN, 53% of primary care and multispecialty practices employ at least one NP or PA. Large employers, including the Veterans Administration, are also allowing greater access to NPs and PAs under value-based care. And a 2019 report from the Society of Hospital Medicine found that 80% of hospital medicine groups employ NPs and PAs.

NPs wrote approximately 673.5 million retail prescriptions in 2019 and PAs wrote 333.76 million prescriptions. Those numbers are likely to grow as regulatory changes in the scope of practice expand the autonomy of these advanced practice providers. CMS and many states have made it easier for NPs to independently evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients under the COVID-19 pandemic. Several governors have also approved waivers that allow PAs to practice without supervisory agreements with physicians.

The Top Influencers of 2020

POCN’s America’s Top PA and NP Awards 2020 honors healthcare heroes who have been nominated by their peers for significantly impacting their field during one of its most challenging seasons. This list serves as a free and powerful marketing strategy tool for industry marketers seeking more information on leveraging these influencers throughout various campaigns.

2020 Top PAs:

  • Amy Butts, PA-C, MPAS, CDCES, BC-A, Endocrinology
  • Jennifer Carlquist, PA-C, CAQ ER Medicine, Cardiology
  • Cynthia Griffith, MPAS, PA-C, Dermatology
  • Lianne Hahn, MSPAS, PA-C, Aesthetic Medicine
  • Terri Long, PA-C, Urology
  • Benito Lopez, BC-ADM, MPAS, PA-C, Family Medicine/Diabetologist
  • Luis Lozano, PA-C, Neurology
  • Sarah Patel, DScPAS, PA-C, MBA, Gastroenterology
  • Sarah Schettle, PA-C, MS, MBA, Cardiovascular Surgery
  • Anna Verde-LiBassi, PA-C, MPAS, Internal Medicine

2020 Top NPs: 

  • Kathleen Arnold, ANP, BC-ADM, FAANP, Endocrinology
  • Cassandra Jorge Duren, FNP-BC, MSN-NE, BSN, RNIII, CNOR, Cer.A.T., CPT, Family Practice/Primary Care
  • Annika Ehrlich, MS, FNP-C, AQH, CNRN, Neurology
  • Teresa Fogaren, MSN, AGPCNP-C, OCN, Hematology/Oncology
  • Tavell Kindall, PhD, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, AACRN, AAHIVS, Family Medicine/HIV Medicine
  • Karen Myrick, DNP, APRN, ANP-BC, FNP-BC, ONP-C, FAAN, Orthopedic and Sports Medicine
  • Katherine O’Boyle, MSN, RN, CBN, APRN-CNP, Comprehensive Obesity Management
  • Nycole Oliver, DNP, APRN, RN, FNP-C, ACNPC-AG, CEN, FAEN, Family Practice/Acute Care
  • Roma Tremblay, DNP, MSN, ARNP-BC, WOCN, CHRN, Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine
  • Andrew Wai-Ho Wong, MS, RN, AGACNP-BC, CEN, CPEN, CCRN-K, Critical Care Medicine

The New Influencers in Action

A series of “Live and Virtual Local” events coupled with a multichannel digital campaign supporting the launch of a new diabetes product offers a glimpse into the importance of targeted peer influence—and the role of these new influencers in the healthcare field.

The pharmaceutical company was looking to reach high type 2 diabetes treating NPs and PAs. They recruited 18 influential NPs and PAs Ambassadors with expertise in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. POCN’s solution enabled invitations authored by these regional NP and PA Ambassadors to the highest NP and PA treaters of diabetes across the U.S. to attend an event in their community.

The trusted peer-driven model works. The NP and PA influencers held a multichannel series of 50 events with an average attendance of 38 people. The attendees represented an 87% target list match. Prior to and following their event, each attendee received dynamic digital touchpoints from regional NP and PA influencers with links to resources about type 2 diabetes and the new product.

While in-person meetings are on hold for a little while, virtual peer-to-peer digital education continues to be a powerful way to reach NPs and PAs. Examples of virtual speaker-led content that has proven effective with NPs and PAs include presentations and case studies. Influencer NPs and PAs are also using video and podcasting to share insights and best practices via their own channels, as guests on popular forums, and on channels set up to reach peers directly.

For pharmaceutical companies, the time is now to include NPs and PAs in your medical outreach plans. Because the new influencers are here—and their reach is growing.

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