E M B E R S H I P
electronic divide: NLMA urges physicians to get connected
As the NLMA continues its
efforts to identify priority issues and principles that will guide the
Association into the next round of negotiations,
it is urging all members
who receive updates by mail to submit their e-mail address as their
primary means of receiving NLMA communications.
By Jonathan Carpenter
As the NLMA continues its efforts to
identify priority issues and principles that will guide the
Association into the next round of negotiations, it is vital that
members are kept informed about key issues and have an opportunity
to share their input. That’s why the NLMA is urging all members who
receive urgent NLMA updates by mail to submit their e-mail address
as their primary means of receiving NLMA communications.
Currently, more than 380 practicing
physicians still use fax and postal mail to receive urgent NLMA
communications such as the President’s Letter and Negotiations
Bulletins. While the majority of members have e-mail addresses, many
have not opted to receive e-mail notifications and may be unaware that
the option exists. As a result, postal and fax users do not receive
information that is only available through e-Updates and have
fewer opportunities to respond to announcements in real-time.
Unlike postal mail, e-mail allows
recipients to contribute immediate and frequent feedback within minutes
of delivery. Jupiter Communications estimates that while paper-based
campaigns receive an average one to two per cent response rate;
e-mail campaigns can receive a response rate of five to 15 per cent.
Market research also indicates that people generally read e-mail within
48 hours of receiving it, which is extremely important when the
Association needs to keep members up-to-date about critical issues.
Producing, delivering and archiving e-mail
also reduces paper consumption and eliminates mailing costs. While
traditional direct mail typically costs between $1 and $2 per letter,
e-mail campaigns can cost as little as pennies per item.
The NLMA uses a software program called
Campaigner to store its e-mail database and send e-mail campaigns. The
software allows NLMA to measure e-mail metrics by tracking data codes to
monitor and report on how many e-mails are opened, the open duration and
what links were clicked on in the e-mail.
NLMA staff can then compare e-mail
statistics to determine what content generates the most opens so that
messages can be tailored to accommodate members’ needs and interests.
Archived campaigns and responses can also be indexed, searched and
recalled for evaluation or follow-up.
Aligning all NLMA communications to e-mail
also encourages mid- and late-adopters to use technology in their daily
practice. How often physicians use IT resources is a key factor in the
acquisition of skills associated with integrating emerging technologies,
such as EMR, in the clinical setting. E-mail adoption not only keeps
members engaged with the Aassociation, it helps drive members to the
NLMA website where they can obtain additional information. The NLMA is
also exploring options to deliver future electronic updates in PDA and
Members can submit their e-mail address to
the NLMA via
e-mail or via our
website. If you do not have an
e-mail address through your employer or Internet service provider, you
can sign up for a free account with such as vendors as Yahoo!, Hotmail