Patients want physician recommendations? Uh…NO!

HEY NOW: According to Doctors.com “88% of consumers want pharmaceutical and medical device brand websites to feature a doctor directory. Ha? Pharma company reputations are in the toilet and people want a pharma company to recommend a doctor? I’m sorry, but common sense says this isn’t true.

For certain medical devices, procedures or even some drugs I could see how some online website visitors would want a recommendation buy for 95% of online health seekers, this would be a waste of time.

First, there is the survey, done not too long ago, that people don’t trust pharma and that their level of trust is even below politicians. Second, stories abound about pharma paying money to physicians and finally, it would be illegal to list physicians on a pharma website.

The other finding, which is questionable is “consumers rely on brand websites (52.2%) almost as much as they rely on their primary care providers (54.8%) to research prescription information or medical devices”. Again this needs context. Online health seekers do go to pharma websites but in analyzing the click-stream analysis I have found that it’s just a subway stop as they search the web for online health information. The fact remains that pharma websites aren’t getting the job done when it comes to providing the information people need to make decisions.

Now, about finding the “right” doctor. The number of people who switch physicians because they won’t prescribe a certain drug is actually quite low but in context, it might be higher, for example, for drugs like Botox. Then there are insurance company coverage issues and all the paperwork that one has to fill out when going to a new doctor.

In this era of changing healthcare the idea that people are going to take a recommendation from pharma, whom they distrust, is questionable. If you want the rea; answers to these type of questions pharma people should turn to DRG.

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