Why do patients go to so many health websites?

google-health-computer-featuredKEY TAKEAWAY: Online health seekers go to a variety of health websites to gain a better understanding of health conditions and treatment options.  The vast majority say that pharma websites “do not meet their needs” when it comes to all the information they need.

Our consulting group just finished an analysis of an online survey (n=2344) to learn why online health seekers go to a variety of health sites to get information.  Here are top line results..

-When searching online for health information most have a definite set of questions they want answered.

-[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Surprisingly pharma websites are a “trusted source” of information, but they don’t meet health seeker’s needs in answering “all their questions”[/inlinetweet].

-Treatment options are very much focused on two key areas: cost and “how will it affect me?”.

CEJCB4 Health
CEJCB4 Health

-Most said language on pharma websites was “difficult to understand”.

-T[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]he benefits of prescription drugs, on pharma websites, were not enough to get patients to “ask their doctor” or switch medications.[/inlinetweet]

-Online health seekers spent time online researching health information even for minor health issues.

-Pharma sponsored content, on third party websites, was met with skepticism.

-Older demographic segments spend just as much time online looking up health information as younger demographics.  However, Millennials are more likely to self-diagnose and self-treat.


-Community forums are a great source of information and inspiration.

DTC marketers need to take away two key points:

1ne: Pharma websites should encompass online health seekers needs to improve stickiness.

2wo: Think about the journey beyond your website.

In other words, think like a patient.