SUMMARY:

  • Online health seeker numbers are still very high, indicating that people are doing their research first before asking for a prescription drug.
  • Online health seekers trust pharma products but find product websites hard to read and inconsistent with their needs.
  • Telehealth numbers are dropping rapidly, but people still want to use telehealth to ask for Rx renewals and ask general questions.
  • By far, people over 50 are the biggest segment of online health seekers.
Online health seekers after the pandemic
Mature Female Friends Socializing In Backyard Together
  • Women in the United States have long lagged behind their counterparts in other high-income countries in terms of access to health care and health status.
  • U.S. women report the least positive experiences among the 11 countries studied. They have the greatest burden of chronic illness, highest rates of skipping needed health care because of cost, difficulty affording their health care, and are least satisfied with their care.
  • More than one-third of women in the U.S. report skipping needed medical care because of costs, a far higher rate than the other countries included in the study.

  • Nearly 80 percent of the patients who looked up things online before seeing a doctor reported that their searches actually improved their experience. (Source: Anthony M. Cocco, a doctor at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, and the lead author on a recent scientific study about the search habits of people before they show up in an E.R.)
  • In one study, researchers found that only one of the top 54 results for “endometriosis” — the subject of over 4.5 million searches annually — led to a page that contained what was deemed to be accurate information about the condition.
  • The study’s author recommends skipping the kind of scientific papers you might find on Google Scholar or PubMed; they often contain unusual cases and bewildering terminology.

Last week I attended some research whose objective was to measure online health seekers’ attitudes towards the use of social media and BOTS for drug and medical device companies.  The research was qualitative and consisted of of all demographic groups.  They didn’t hold back and were willing to discuss how, why and where they go online for health information.  Here are the topline results.