Who is thinking of patients today ?

trust-websiteI have been in healthcare marketing for over 15 years yet today I am having trouble keeping up with all the healthcare news and changes in insurance because of the Affordable Care Act.  Who is thinking of patients today as the complex world of online health information continues to evolve and change ?

It’s our job to help consumers sort through all the information, and misinformation, when it comes to healthcare and to do it in real time not 3-5 months from how.  One day consumers are reading that Omega 3 is good for them the next they read that there are questions about the product for certain types of uses.  Drug companies have a wealth of informational sources at their fingertips but how often are they sharing these sources with their audiences ?

Most drug company websites are pretty static.  They go up and are there is the feeling that “we’re done” and we don’t need to do anymore but that is not reality. When consumers read information about medications or health conditions they usually want to know more.  When someone reports that a “a study finds..” consumers need to know if the study is valid and what else is missing to fill in the blanks.  Sure their doctor can help but with less people going to their doctor and very little time to meet with physicians one on one where are they going to turn to help sort it all out ?

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In CPG there is a belief that some brands are media.  In pharma it’s well we could be media if we could get things approved by medical, legal and regulatory in a timely manner (when it’s relevant to YOUR audience).  They allow the organization to limit marketing and frankly that is killing DTC marketing slowly but surely.

How to help patients/consumers

(1) Provide timely and relevant information via your website while the information is being talked about not 3 months later.

(2) License third party content for use on your website.  Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic will license content and it has been my experience that this content is often the most read within your website.

(3) Allow website visitors to suggest content or ask questions via a “tell us what you want to read” form.  Sure you might get some AE reports but the chances of that are very very low.

(4) Explain the science behind the headlines.  Let them know when more studies are needed and what the information means to them.

(5) Help them cut through the clutter by talking to them like people not a target audience.

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(6) Put yourself in a patients place and ask “what do I want to know about this product or disease state?”

(7) Get up information that is relevant to your audience but may not be relevant to your product.  New changes going into effect because of the ACA ?  Explain it to them and help them understand what it means to them.

See a pattern here ?  The objective to stop selling so hard and to be more engaging with your content.  It won’t bring back lost trust overnight but over time it could help provide patients sort through the information that is confusing the hell out of them.