The Doctors Unite announcement coincided with the letter's 5,000th signature. The phased ongoing campaign will include pushes at 10,000 signatures, and then 20,000, said Claire Spina-Russell, account director for PerkettPR, a virtual agency that has been Sermo's AOR since it launched in September 2006. It is Sermo's first campaign that was generated by the community. Budget was not available.
Sermo is an online community of 70,000 physicians who can share opinions and news about clinical issues. The letter began on a community board in January, and was drafted and edited by 1,000 site physicians. Physicians can register with the community, sign the letter, and send notification emails to colleagues on the Doctors Unite page on Sermo's Web site.
Media outreach for the campaign included both traditional and trade publications as well as a Twitter blast to inform physician groups about the letter, according to Spina-Russell. A community-developed task force will create guiding principles that will be included in later phases of the campaign.
Spenia-Russell said that the goal for the campaign is to generate interest from patients, who can then ask their physicians whether they have signed the letter.
“We have supported them when we could, like with PR [assistance],” said Dan Towvim, director of physician retention at Sermo. “…so they can start to repair the doctor-patient relationship.”