More confusion for online health seekers

IN SUMMARY: Online health seekers are becoming more and more confused as conflicting health news seems to counteract previous reports about products like baby aspirin. The release of new and updated health information means that online health seekers have to spend more time online to peel away the layers of “hype” from the facts.

New science links soda with heart problems and two types of cancer, baby aspirins do more harm than good and a new analysis of a large study unveiled last November shows that a fish-oil-derived drug reduces second and third heart attacks as well as first ones. If you’re an online health seeker you’re are going to be spending more time online trying to determine which news is accurate and which are just snippets from company press releases.

The online health information landscape has never looked more crowded. We are essentially leaving it up to online health seekers to determine what is credible and what is hype.

Where’s Pharma?

Despite all the studies and research online health seekers DO go to pharma websites. The problem, it seems, is keeping them there so that all their health questions can be answered. The top pages within pharma websites continue to be around safety information and coupons (if offered). Pharma companies seem content to let people go elsewhere to fill their informational needs.

In my vast experience, in talking with online health seekers, their biggest frustrations revolve around finding quality information they CAN UNDERSTAND. Time is the new currency and they don’t want to spend hours upon hours searching for the right answers to their health questions.

According to the Journal Of Internet Medical Research “understandability plays a key role in ensuring that people accessing health information are capable of gaining insights that can assist them with their health concerns and choices. The access to unclear or misleading information has been shown to negatively impact the health decisions of the general public”.

Why pharma companies can’t come together to formulate a standard for online health information is puzzling. WebMD used to be the standard but their site has too much garbage and people often leave with more questions than they have when they first went on the site.

It’s time to think beyond selling and heal people find the information THEY NEED.