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Physicians Spend More Time Online

Internet top resource doctors use for health and medical info

Physicians have become heavy online and mobile users, tapping the internet to research conditions and medications, stay current on industry news and connect with their peers. As a result, online promotion to healthcare professionals is growing in promise and importance, especially to the extent that it enables physicians to help their patients and do their jobs efficiently.

“Healthcare marketers that help clinicians deliver more efficient, cost-effective care to increasingly empowered patients will be most successful with online promotion,” said Victoria Petrock, author of the new report “Marketing to Healthcare Professionals Online.” “But these marketers must develop a deeper understanding of how health-related digital content is changing the way physicians today practice medicine.”

The internet has become increasingly important to physicians for professional purposes, and they have upped the amount of time they spend online for work dramatically since 2002.

Time Spent Online for Professional Purposes by US Physicians, 2002, 2006 & 2010 (hours spent online per week)

As Meredith Ressi, VP of research for Manhattan Research, told eMarketer, “This 8 hours doesn’t seem like a lot, but if you think about how [physicians] are on the go vs. people with desk jobs, 8 hours is significant.”

June 2009 data from Google and Hall & Partners found the internet was the No. 1 place doctors looked for information on health, medicine or prescription drugs. They accessed such information both at work, from home and via mobile devices.

Resources Used to Find Health, Medical or Prescription Drug Information, June 2009 (% of US physicians)

Physicians are also embracing social media to share ideas with and learn from their peers. Online communications with patients and other audiences, however, remain a thornier issue because of reimbursement, accuracy, and legal and privacy issues.

“The key to effective online promotional strategies will be the developing tactics that drive information into physicians’ daily routines and leverage their existing online habits,” said Petrock.

The full report, “Marketing to Healthcare Professionals Online,” also answers these key questions:

  • How much are pharmaceutical companies spending on online promotion to reach healthcare professionals?
  • How are physicians using the internet professionally?
  • To what extent are physicians using mobile technology?
  • How does the online behavior of nurses differ from physicians, and what opportunities exist to reach them?

To purchase the report, click here. Total Access clients, log in and view the report now.

Check out today’s other article, “Getting Your Brand On Shopping Lists of Frugal Consumers.”



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