How to find missing-in-action doctors

July 1, 2001
Amy Ramundo

Pharmaceutical Representative

Whether you are a new or tenured pharmaceutical sales representative, missing-in-action doctors can put a cork in your flow of cash, bonuses and commission.

Whether you are a new or tenured pharmaceutical sales representative, missing-in-action doctors can put a cork in your flow of cash, bonuses and commission. Having a group of doctors in which 15% to 25% are not located at the address your computer has listed can turn you into a private investigator. You soon change roles from sales rep to PI, and you must uncover a few things: Is the doctor still in your assigned zip codes at another address? Or is the doctor getting tracked in your zip codes even though he or she has moved out of your area or even out of your state? You cannot influence doctors if you cannot find them. After experiencing this situation myself, I have come up with a simple list of steps to find those MIA doctors.

1. If there is another doctor occupying the office, ask where your doctor went. He or she might know where the doctor has moved.

2. If the address you have is the doctor's home, knock on the door. If someone answers, ask him or her. If no one is home, call information for the phone number for that address. Usually if the doctor lives there, he or she will be more than happy to give you the office location and best times to stop by.

3. Ask other doctors on your panel, with whom you have good rapport, if they know of the doctor and where he or she is practicing now.

4. Ask your doctors if they have or know of a physician directory. They might have a directory for specialists or for hospitals.

5. When all the above fail, it is time to use the computer. A few Web sites you can check out are: www.ama-assn.org; www.yellowpages.com, www.whitepages.com or www.webmd.com. Or, using any search engine, search the state plus department of health (depending on the state, this may or may not help you).

6. Call information for a statewide search. The AMA site will sometimes give a number but not an address; in this case, you can call information and enter the telephone number to get the address (this service is not available everywhere).

7. Be observant, and check out all doctor signs. You never know when you will see a certain name pop up.

8. Last, but not least: Keep trying - remember, your bonus and commission depend on it.

At one time, close to 70 out of 300 doctors on my panel were MIA. Sixty percent of the doctors had just moved around in my territory, either down the street or to the town next-door. Thirty percent had moved away, and 10% I am still trying to find. It took a lot of my personal time and Internet time looking for these doctors. But the time was well worth it, especially because of the big doctors on my panel who were not writing my medication and were MIA. Oh, and one last tip: Sometimes the doctor you are looking for not only has moved, but has also gotten married and changed his or her name. Happy hunting. PR

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