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A marketing strategy is essential for any healthcare organization. You could have the best physicians in the world, but if your potential patients don’t know about your hospital, it’s going to be very difficult to be successful. At the same time, with the Corporate Practice of Medicine (CPOM) doctrine in place, you may be wondering if it’s even possible to market and promote your doctors at all.

While the doctrine sets clear boundaries to ensure the integrity of medical decisions, it doesn’t mean you’re left in the dark. With the right knowledge and approach, it’s entirely possible to improve your hospital’s visibility, promote your doctors, and while staying compliant.

The CPOM Doctrine Explained

At its core, the CPOM doctrine revolves around one fundamental principle — the autonomous decision-making power of physicians. While it’s acknowledged in approximately 30 U.S. states, its application’s specifics can vary. However, the basic idea remains the same — a business corporation may not practice medicine or employ physicians or other clinical personnel to provide professional medical services.

The CPOM addresses a critical concern that, if business entities owned by non-physicians are permitted to control the provision of care, they will subordinate clinical care to commercial considerations and profits. So, the doctrine’s objective is to ensure that clinical decisions remain in the hands of those trained to make them.

For every healthcare organization, it’s essential to recognize the weight of the CPOM in shaping the healthcare regulatory landscape. If physicians or other clinical personnel work for entities other than professional medical corporations, they may be exposed to disciplinary risks. For non-physician business partners, violating the CPOM may bring both civil and, in extreme cases, potential criminal liability for engaging in medical practice without a license.

When it comes to the Corporate Practice of Medicine, the law is clear — corporations cannot directly hire physicians. However, in California, medical foundations closely linked with physician groups, serve as the legal bridge, enabling the collaborative functioning of physicians within larger healthcare frameworks without contravening the Corporate Practice of Medicine’s guidelines.

Balance Corporate Practice of Medicine Guidelines with Effective Marketing

While the CPOM doctrine lays down clear boundaries about medical practice and autonomy, it doesn’t entirely restrict your hospital from your marketing efforts. Yes, there are implications on how you can interact with and showcase your physicians. Still, the Corporate Practice of Medicine doesn’t prevent you from promoting your medical staff or assisting patients in locating specific doctors.

Hospitals have at their disposal a range of marketing and promotional tools to guide patients toward the right medical care and aid them in making informed decisions regarding their choice of healthcare providers. Some of these activities include:

Put Spotlight on Physician Credentials

You can offer information about physicians’ qualifications, specialties, and affiliations with the hospital. A well-informed patient is more likely to trust your hospital, leading to higher satisfaction rates and fostering a stronger patient-doctor relationship.

Power up Your Online Directories

Hospitals often maintain online directories of their medical staff, making it easier for patients to search for doctors based on specialties, locations, and other criteria. This way, you can meet the modern patient’s preference for convenience and create a seamless experience that reflects your hospital’s commitment to patient-centric care.

Perfect Patient-Physician Connections

Referral services act as a valuable intermediary, helping patients connect with physicians who can address their specific medical needs. By streamlining this process, you can ensure that patients receive timely care, reduce the chances of misdiagnoses, and elevate the overall standard of healthcare provided.

Shine Ad-Light on Experts Within Your Hospital 

Through strategic advertising, you can enhance your visibility within the community, emphasizing the range and quality of services your hospital offers. Also, by promoting individual doctors, you can add a personal touch, humanize your healthcare organization, and build a bond of trust with potential patients.

Educate and Gain Dual Value

Hospitals can host educational events where physicians present on various medical topics, showcasing their expertise and allowing patients to learn more about them. Such events provide a dual advantage. This way, patients can gain knowledge and understand complex medical topics. At the same time, they present an opportunity for your hospital to position itself as a thought leader, and build a reputation for expertise and genuine care.

Healthcare Marketing Within the Boundaries of the Corporate Practice of Medicine

While marketing activities are essential for every healthcare organization, marketing and promoting physicians at your hospital requires a careful approach. The Corporate Practice of Medicine underlines the importance of a physician’s professional independence and judgment and no promotional activity should ever compromise or overshadow this principle.

That’s why you need to strike a delicate balance between promoting your brand and physicians while safeguarding the essence of medical ethics. You should constantly evaluate your healthcare marketing activities and make sure you don’t inadvertently exert undue influence or control over medical decisions made by your physicians.

Also, given the fluid nature of regulations, hospitals shouldn’t solely rely on their interpretation of the Corporate Practice of Medicine guidelines. Instead, you should consult with legal professionals who specialize in healthcare and medical law. They can offer invaluable insights and help you keep your marketing and promotional efforts compliant with the CPOM doctrine and other relevant laws.

To use the power of authentic, ethical marketing while respecting regulatory boundaries, you can rely on SocialClimb. With the help of our comprehensive healthcare marketing platform, you can engage with your patients in meaningful ways, boost your online presence, and highlight the value your physicians bring to the community. At the same time, our HIPAA-compliant platform is designed with a deep understanding of healthcare regulations, making sure that you can market confidently without overstepping any legal requirements.

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