Online health misinformation

SUMMARY: Health misinformation is so bad that lawmakers, doctors, and health advocates, social media platforms made sweeping policy changes to ban or limit the spread of false health information. There is a huge opportunity for pharma to help online health seekers get accurate information but it’s going to require a realignment of processes aligned around users.

According to CNBC “the most viral pieces of fake health news pushed far-reaching conspiracies between governments and medical communities and suggested ditching common medical treatment of life-threatening diseases for unproven cures. The top 50 articles garnered more than 12 million shares, comments, and reactions this year, mostly on Facebook”.

I’ve heard online health seekers, in research, complain about how long it takes to get relevant information they need to make educated treatment decisions.

Yet today pharma companies, for the most part, don’t have a content strategy. It can take weeks to tackle a hot topic on social media but in the meantime, online health seekers have moved with the possibility that they are making treatment decisions on bad information.

Content marketing is an area where pharma tends to fail except when it comes to keeping Wall Street informed on clinical trials. While I understand that every change to pharma websites has to go through MLR approval very few, if any, are changing processes to meet user needs.

Perhaps one of the biggest areas of confusion today are around new cancer treatments that promise to extend life. Astra Zeneca is trying to help cancer patients and caregivers understand biomarkers but what’s needed is a coordinated effort and unbranded website to increase reach.

We helped one pharma company shorted the time between new content deployment with a customized content system but they didn’t have the money to maintain and upgrade the system,

Pharma websites should be the first place online health seekers go for health information but they are just a brief stop on the healthcare journey. Another missed opportunity.