The online jungle of health information

jungle-forestPOST SUMMARY: When it comes to online health information DTC marketers need to think about the breadth and depth of all information, not just the content on their websites.

Buried inside a research summary was an interesting finding;  online health seekers will spend less/more time on specific websites based on the seriousness of their health problem and where they are in determining possible treatment options.  For example, patients with high blood pressure spent less time reading content and more time reading headlines and callouts vs. patients who were searching for health information on breast cancer.  Those that just read headlines were more likely to have inaccurate information while those who read more content were more likely to have more questions for their doctors.


Welcome to the jungle of online health information.  Biopharma has not really done a lot to help confused and overwhelmed online health seekers.  As part of the research we had online health seekers go to several pharma product websites (MS, High Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure) and asked respondents to rate their likelihood to ask for the product based on the website (1=not at all likely, 5=very likely).  The MS product website rated 1.8, while the high cholesterol rated 3.3, and high blood pressure 2.7).  When asked why respondents said “information was too confusing” followed by “information was too technical”.

Needless to say there is a huge opportunity here.

As much time as DTC marketers spend on their website look and feel that time should be small compared to the content.  Content should “talk to users” not at them.  In addition, content needs to be developed on both what we know, product label, and what’s already out there.  How many of you actually conduct a competitive environment online study?


In the era of fighting for online attention, we need to ensure that when patients come to our product website, we keep them there to answer ALL of their questions and help them clear a path in the jungle.  Links are important, including links to competitors websites because the goal is to help patients right?  OMG! Did you say include links to competitors sites? Yes, because click stream analysis shows that online health seekers are going to go there anyway.