SUMMARY: Patient influencers trust social media groups more than pharma websites for health information, according to a survey from Wego Health. Imagine a survey like this from a company that specializes in patient influencers.
Over the years, I am very proud to say that I’ve been involved in a LOT of qual and quant research. I’ve seen that, while people will turn to social media for health information, they seldom make treatment decisions based on what they find. Today, this is even more true given the misinformation we find online.
Enter Wego health who says “influencers are most likely to turn to groups on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as their first source for health information, followed by health websites such as WebMD, patient advocacy organization portals, their doctor, patient blogs and YouTube. Only 3% said they prefer pharma websites”.
The key here is the term “influencers.” By nature, influencers use social media to influence (DUH). Then Wego says, “pharma websites also ranked low on the list of the most trusted sources of health information, only above YouTube. Health websites such as WebMD or those by the Mayo Clinic, healthcare providers, and patient advocacy websites were the most trusted”. The research I have sat in indicates that this statement is half true.
Yes sites like WebMD maybe used more but it’s not an issue of trust, it’s an issue of pharma sites content reading like a medical journal and sites not having the answers to patients questions.
You can’t trust research like this when it’s self-serving and generic. Every healthcare issue has a unique audience that uses online health information in a unique way.
The magazine that printed the results of this survey should have known better.