Online health seekers don’t trust social media

  • Illness symptoms/treatments and medication are most frequently cited as the types of health- related information sought online.
  • Healthcare information concerns abound, particularly when it comes to credibility.
  • 83% of Healthcare Information Seekers who are exposed to health information on social media are concerned about incorrect or misleading medical information.
  • Only 35% of Healthcare Information Seekers who use social media report that, in their experience, the information on social media is mostly accurate

Source: Weber Shandwick, in partnership with KRC Research

Dr Internet is always open, and you don’t need an appointment.  Illness symptoms/treatments and medication are most frequently cited as the types of health- related information sought (37% and 28%, respectively). These are ranked highest by all generations except two:
• Gen Zs rank mental health at the top of their list (34%)
• Silent/Greatest members identify both medication and ongoing health issues management as their top search topics (26% each).

Half or more Healthcare Information Seekers agree that benefits of the availability of healthcare information include the ability to fact-check information (54% ), easy-to-find information (54%) and the abundance of information that can be found on any topic (50%).

Healthcare information concerns abound, particularly when it comes to credibility. Among a list of potential information apprehensions presented in the survey, respondents’ most notable is false or misleading health-related information (52%), followed by health-related information that is trying to sell something (47%).

83% of Healthcare Information Seekers who are exposed to health information on social media are concerned about incorrect or misleading medical information . Concerns about social health information are consistent across generations.

Insight:

1ne: In the age of “fake news” is should come as no surprise that online health seekers are skeptical of health information in social media.

2wo: Online health seekers will read social media posts, but they will fact check statements.

3hree: Pharma websites are still not a top 10 resource for online health information.

4our: When in health seeking mode online health seekers don’t want to
be sold”.  This is the major disconnect between online health seekers and pharma websites.

Opportunities:

1ne: Pharma product websites have the opportunity to own the conversation around certain health conditions, but it requires less emphasis on selling and more on helping online health seekers find the information that’s relevant to their searches.

2wo: Use your thought leaders and promote their content on social media with their credentials.

3hree: Websites should be segmented by life-cycle of online health seekers.  Someone who is newly diagnosed has different questions than someone who is thinking of switching to a new medication.

Pharma companies can do a hell of a better job with their websites.  Some do get it and are adding patient testimonials, but the content becomes stale after awhile. Return users to your website may need more reasons to consider your brand and you need to give it to them with new information especially if new treatment options are in the news.

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