Medical mag finds niche

Medical Forum magazine editor Robert McEvoy says the popularity of his publication is the result of relaxed advertising guidelines for the profession under National Competition Policy and a desire for independent information by readers.

“Our July 1999 readership survey revealed our readers most wanted active reporting of WA issues and events – independent of influence from medico-political organisations,” Dr McEvoy said.

The September 2000 readership survey showed 87 per cent of general practitioners and 90 per cent of specialists had read Medical Forum within the past month.

Dr McEvoy, a medical publicist who is also in specialist practice, established the monthly publication in 1995 with the support of key medical groups.

Distribution is small – about 3,700 medical practitioners plus corporate and government subscribers – and most of the publication is focussed on communication and advertising.

However, he said people outside the medical arena were increasingly interested in the publication as a way of reaching a niche market.

“The typical doctor is time-poor, but a high-income earner who takes his leisure time seriously,” he said.

“They are conservative, experienced scanners of information.

“The recent survey yielded interesting insights into their needs.

“Two thirds are interested in reading about leisure and travel, and about half want accounting-financial advice or legal advice other than medical litigation.

“Because 32 per cent of GP and 47 per cent of specialist readers operate self-managed superannuation funds, there is an active interest in share portfolios.

“Approximately 80 per cent of GPs and specialists eat out at restaurants at least once a month, while 13 per cent of specialists and nine per cent of GPs use weekend getaways at least once a month.”

While Medical Forum is mainly involved with marketing within or to the profession, Dr McEvoy said the profession now had an outside consumer marketing focus.

“The corporatisation of general practices means bigger corporate managers know how to develop a corporate image and the importance of this to consumers,” he said.

“Medicine will continue to up the ante on service.

“Part of this is providing more facilities in one place, making it more convenient for people, and providing a broader range of services such as x-rays and specialist consultations for the same reason.

“The other big change is that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, in implementing the Trade Practices Act and National Competition Policy, has overridden state legislation for the Medical Board.

“The Medical Board is now forced to review its advertising guidelines that have restricted advertising to health consumers and within the profession for many years.

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