When it comes to something as personal and private as a doctor-patient relationship, most individuals feel that there should be no intrusion. But even though the relationship seems and feels private, there is intrusion, and it is happening every time that patients visit a doctor’s office. Pharmaceutical companies are always looking for ways to reach doctors and patients—the primary users of their products. The Affordable Care Act made it harder for pharmaceutical companies to directly meet with and influence doctors, so companies are turning to another way to get their point across—advertising.
Pharmaceutical companies have used advertising as a way to reach patients—for example, through television commercials—but they are now investing in new processes to reach doctors inside their offices. Drug companies are using digital record-keeping systems in doctor’s offices to obtain non-specific healthcare information and advertise to providers. The pharmaceutical companies use the data to influence decision-making through popups and emails which promote specific drug products. For example, the software platform Practice Fusion is free to providers who use the product with advertising included. Doctors using Practice Fusion see over 80 million patients each year.