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Celebrate Nat'l Docs Day!

Have you checked on rural docs lately?

I remember years ago when I was writing a feature for the B2B health mag Unique Opportunities (now gone) about the pros/cons of being an urban vs a rural PCP. It was supposed to be just one story, but my initial interviews brought great insights on the major differences. I called my editor about turning this into two separate features—and we did.

I found that rural docs often cited enjoying the outdoorsy locale and a fair amount of freedom. But the downside was often having scarce resources to offer patients, who themselves were often on limited incomes.

The rural market should not be overlooked

Not much has changed in the decade-plus since I covered this, except perhaps the numbers: the CDC’s latest says there are 64 million Americans considered to be in rural locales.(1) More than a quarter of residents tend to be seniors (since many youngsters can’t wait to get to cities) and they tend to be even lower income than others.(2)

Today’s rural residents are also a more diverse population than when I reported, but otherwise they generally “tend to have higher rates of cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, and obesity,(1)” then other Americans with a limited access to care. Of course since COVID additional risks have been added.

Yet B2B, health, even senior marketing can and should reach out to the rural market’s special challenges. Even if you are an urban physician or medical center, rural influence could be a strong marketing tool. A city medical or dental school (or a group of practitioners) could bring a free weekend rural check-up program to a chosen area.

Perhaps you’re a nonprofit that could donate a vehicle that allows more check-ups provided at homes, versus residents always needing to get to community facilities. Media often picks up such generosity and who knows what that in turn will bring?

Or you could be a corpora