More confusion for online health seekers

IN SUMMARY: Online health seekers are becoming more and more confused as conflicting health news seems to counteract previous reports about products like baby aspirin. The release of new and updated health information means that online health seekers have to spend more time online to peel away the layers of “hype” from the facts.

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Facebook has a ton of false or misleading health information

  • Three quarters of health information on Facebook was either misleading or included some false information. Only three were considered “highly credible.” Some lacked context of the issue, exaggerated the harms of a potential threat, or overstated research findings.
  • Many articles never back claims with links to original sources or research studies to support findings.
  • In terms of overall credibility, slightly less than half, of posts, achieved a high credibility rating. However, highly rated articles received 11 million shares, while poorly rated articles had roughly 8.5 million shares.
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The jungle of online health information

  • 75 percent of adults have searched online for health-related information in the last year.
  • When faced with an actual or potential diagnosis of cancer, most people are inclined to consult Dr. Google, often before they see a real live medical expert.
  • It’s easy for people to land on a site filled with misinformation that leads them to make decisions that may not be in their best interests,” said Dr. Lidia Schapira, medical oncologist at Stanford University Medical Center.
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Online health seekers don’t trust social media

  • 74% of Americans think the integrity of mainstream social media sites are diminishing and are less likely to use them to find trusted information. (Source: Tapatalk)
  • 80% trust responses on a specialized forum more than those on Facebook
  • 72% say forums are more reliable for trustworthy information.
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The poor reliability of online health information

  • Many popular YouTube videos about prostate cancer contained biased or poor-quality information.
  • There was a significant negative correlation between scientific quality and viewer engagement.
  • The comments section underneath some videos contained advertising and peer-to-peer medical advice.
  • A total of 115 videos (77%) contained potentially misinformative and/or biased content within the video or comments section, with a total reach of >6 million viewers.
  • For online health seekers there is too much invalid health information and they are pretty much left to determine what’s based on medical knowledge and what’s garbage.

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Until pharma learns to “think digital, ” they will stuck in the past

  • [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]80 percent of Internet users, or about 93 million Americans, have searched for a health-related topic online, according to a study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project[/inlinetweet].
  • That’s up from 62 percent of Internet users who said they went online to research health topics in 2001, the Washington research firm found.
  • [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Most frequently people went online to look up information about a specific disease or medical problem (63 percent) or a particular medical treatment or procedure (47 percent)[/inlinetweet].
  • The new study indicates that looking for health or medical information is one of the most popular activities online.
  • The research firm also found that more than half of people who had conducted a health-related search recently did it for someone else, either a spouse, child, friend or loved one.
  • “A lot of people aren’t finding what they need,” says Fox. “That points to the need for better health literacy and search engines paying attention to health as (an in-depth) topic.”

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Will pharma get digital?

  • Only 3% of healthcare advertising is spent on digital.
  • Pharma websites are not designed to engage users they are there to strictly inform people about the advertised drug.
  • An estimated $7.4 billion (£5.5 billion) was wasted on display ads alone in 2016, a figure that will rise to $10.9 billion (£8 billion) by 2021, according to Forrester.
  • Before serving an ad, marketers must gain insight on target audiences. Many take a “spray and pray” approach, hoping to drive performance success.
  • [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]According to AdWeek, only 14% of marketers whitelist sites,[/inlinetweet] with 52% estimating that 10-50% of their marketing spend is lost to fraud.
  • [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]More than half of paid programming impressions are probably fraudulent[/inlinetweet], while under even the best-case scenario, one-third of those impressions aren’t viewed by an actual person.

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