According to the Deloitte 2012 Survey of U.S. Health Care Consumers “traditional” health care providers are trusted sources of information about effective and safe treatments. Consumers trust health-specific websites more than product manufacturers, health plans, and some government sources. Few consumers use social media for such purposes. Does this mean the shift to digital marketing by some companies is ill advised ? No not at all.
Surprisingly the Deloitte study indicates that there has been a decline in consumers who go online to look about health information from a high of 61% in 2010 to 50% in 2012. Remember that the Deloitte study is the general population of prescription drug users while the Manhattan Research is defined as the ePharma consumer. Some of the reasons for the decline could be that more patients are receiving generic medications which have little drug information if any and that with all the health information online they still trust their doctors to provide the best Rx recommendations.
“Traditional” health care providers are trusted sources of information about effective and safe treatments. Consumers trust health-specifific websites more than product manufacturers, health plans, and some government sources. Patients taking Rx medications, in general, do not trust manufacturers sites (60%) because they feel manufacturers might not share negative information about their products like side effects. Patients prefer to get this information (54%) from their doctor.
When it comes to social media only 14% have used social media to learn more about Rx & discuss side effects & alternatives while 12% have used social media to learn more about a specific illness, injury or health problem.
Insights on Research..
The Deloitte Research does provide some good insights but DTC marketers should have the following take-aways
(1) The Deloitte research is current Rx patients. Each audience varies by condition. For example the MS patient tends to be vey active in social media especially when talking about medication side effects and new treatments. You need to understand your audience dynamics including technology adoption.
(2) Health care providers are still the most trusted source of health information. How can you aid doctors to provide better patient outcomes ?
(3) Rather than bury side effects in produce information labels perhaps it would be better to be more upfront with an in depth explanation of how side effect data was collected and how it’s reported. Today transparency rules.
(4) At a minimum your product website should have content for current patients vs. people who are not on therapy yet. They have different informational needs.