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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What do patients expect from pharma companies?

  • There is a significant gap between patient expectations and pharma company services when it comes to prescription drugs.
  • Patients want pharma companies to “help them” learn about and manage their health problems.
  • They also want pharma to provide clear and easy to understand content about their products.
  • Real patient stories score very high in credibility and pharma should try and “connect” these people online.
  • Patients want a source to “turn to” when they have a question about their medication beyond their doctor or pharmacist.

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DTC and online health seekers

  • Patients, today, have a lot of choices when it comes to Rx medications.
  • They spend a lot of time online comparing treatments.
  • Social media is playing a bigger role, however while patients seek out other patients, because of their experiences, they usually require more information.
  • Online health seekers use multiple online health websites to get the information they need they only go to pharma websites for information on a specific product.

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There isn’t always an app for health

KEY TAKEAWAY: [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Personal anecdotes of experiences with a particular drug or other form of treatment may have little relevance to whether that treatment fits another person[/inlinetweet]. The truth is that some patients delay health care for too long, or opt out of evidence-based treatment in favor of something of dubious benefit that’s talked about in social media or other, less than credible, website.  Apps and the Internet are no substitute for a trained medical professional. Continue reading