Patient engagement? We don’t need no stinkin patient engagement!

KEY TAKEAWAY:  I keep hearing about patient engagement.  However, what I have found, and is supported by continued research, is that most patients want to be engaged with a pharma company when it come to their health.

This week I had a chance to review the analytics for a client’s website.  It seems their agency was patting themselves on the back that their product website was engaging a lot of people.  The analytics told a different story…

1ne: Bounce rate was over 86%

2wo: Average time on site was 1:19

3hree: Average page views were 3.4

As I sat there explaining the analytics to the brand manager in New Jersey she said “this isn’t too good is it?”.   My reply was that it was almost as bad as it can get.  “Why would our agency brag about the engagement then?” she asked upon which I said “self promotion in fishing for new business”.

Analytics aside, [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]what I hear again and again in research is that online health seekers find very little utility of pharma product websites.[/inlinetweet] First, the websites don’t have the information they need and want and second engaging with any health website reminds them that they have a medical condition which needs to be monitored.

Just [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]how many people go back to pharma product websites for information versus going back to download discount coupons?[/inlinetweet] I don’t have quantitative data, but I can tell you via qualitative research that [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]many online health seekers don’t go back to pharma websites once they have the product information they need.[/inlinetweet]

Can pharma engage patients?  Yes, but they need to take an empathetic approach of online health seekers.  They also need to ensure that the content on their site is relevant to online health seekers not sales talk.  Including health statistics that are well known by your audience doesn’t lead to engagement.

Pharma product websites are missing the mark big time, which is sad because you only have one chance to make a first impression.  Why, if you’re taking a medication, would you go back to a pharma website?  That’s a question that needs to be asked again and again.