December 18, 2009
The average patient in the US now relies on a variety of media and resources to research disease, treatment, and general health information - and key in this mix is the internet, a category that Manhattan Research has dubbed 'e-Health.'
Perhaps more astoundingly, new data from the firm on the subject reveals that the internet surpassed physicians as the most popular health resource for the first time last year. (via MarketingCharts)
With that shift, there is opportunity for marketers: namely brands that provide online patient education tools and resources, such as a doctor discussion guide, can become part of the treatment decision process. This is already starting to happen. Consumers who use pharmaceutical product websites report this source highly influences their healthcare decisions, according to the study, called Manhattan’s Research’s Cybercitizen Health v9.0.
In addition, after consumers view direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertisements, they are more likely to seek out additional information from the internet than any other source, including doctors, family and friends, and 1-800 numbers.
Post-DTC online information sources used by consumers include general health sites, search engines, product sites, pharmaceutical company sites, social networking sites, and blogs/messageboards/chat rooms.
Social media has become a chief venue for such information gathering, in fact. More than 80 million US adults use it to create or read content on blogs, message boards, chat rooms, health social networks and communities.
The report found that the e-Health consumer market has grown significantly in the past five years, from 90 million consumers online for health in 2004 to nearly 160 million in 2009.
Return to In the News