Online health seekers on the use of social media

KEY TAKEAWAY: Online health seekers are using social media as a resource for health information, but because of privacy issues they are not posting questions.  The primary utility of social media for health is using links provided by other online health seekers and discussing management of chronic conditions.

Last week I spent a full day and most of the night listening to online health seekers talk about the use of social media.  The groups were divided into Millennial’s and Boomers to help identify key challenges/issues of using social media for health.  Here are the key findings:

1ne: Both Millennial’s and Boomers are using social media as part of the search for online health information.

2wo: Both groups complained about privacy issues (retargeting) especially on Facebook.

3hree: What online health seekers found most useful were; posts from others on how to manage chronic conditions, links to health sites and experiences with treatments (side effects).

4our: The vast majority of online health seekers said they have no desire to follow or engage a pharma company via social media unless such engagement could “save them money”.

5ive: Online health seekers want a better social media conversation with insurers.  They see themselves as customers and believe that insurers are not treating them like customers. However, they get upset when an insurer simply says “call us” or they wind up engaging with BOTS.

6ix: When asked about the “trust” of other online health seekers via social media most said they would “do more research” before making a decision.

7even: Community message boards are being used, but online health seekers are reluctant to post anything.

8ight: Twitter is seen as a great resource because online health seekers can search by condition or medication.

9nine: Surprisingly Boomers are very active in social media for health .

10en: Advocates are willing to post to help others and act as a resource for patients who need help. They would be more than willing to answer questions and act as a guide for other online health seekers.

Total number of people in the reserach was 64 and they were compensated for participating.

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