Monday, November 22, 2010

Survey: Most consumers turn to blogs, Facebook for health info

A social media go-to-market strategy is fast becoming a must-have for companies these days, especially those companies operating in the healthcare arena. It’s no longer enough to push patient education out through a branded online page anymore, not with the growing prominence of social media sites. Today, companies need to seed that education across Facebook and Twitter and/or actively engage bloggers and heavy users to successfully get that education out to the masses online.

An Accenture survey released Tuesday found that U.S. consumers seeking medical advice are turning to medical websites, social media sites, online communities and informational websites in far greater numbers than the websites of pharmaceutical companies. According to the survey, of the more than two-thirds (68%) of consumers who go online for health information, slightly more than 1-in-10 regularly turn to a pharmaceutical company’s website to seek information about an illness or medical condition, compared with 92% who more frequently look to other online resources.
That patient traffic helps illustrate the fundamental shift from a predominantly one-way company-to-patient dialogue to enabling a patient-to-patient — and even a patient-to-healthcare-professional dialogue — through the evolution of social networks and online communities.
“Pharmaceutical companies that embrace innovations, such as social networking and communications via mobile devices, and integrate and align their communication strategy across multiple channels will be positioned to have a much greater influence on their patients’ choices and, consequently, realize significant increases in revenue, profitability and sustained competitive advantage,” stated Tom Schwenger, global managing director for Accenture’s Life Sciences Sales and Marketing practice.

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