Written by Richard Marcil on January 23, 2013
in Healthcare Marketing

Could 2013 represent a turning point for pharma marketers?  The year when online health information gains credibility with physicians?

A recent update of the Pew Internet & American Life Project suggests just that. The survey reveals that 35% of adults use the Internet to diagnose a medical condition, and that 41% of those who do, have their online diagnosis later confirmed by a doctor (versus 18% who have it disputed).

Physicians will certainly remain key decision makers and providers in health delivery, however, this data indicates that doctors consider online medical information less of an impediment as they used to.  And that, in some cases, they appreciate the value of an informed and engaged patient.

As a recent USAToday.com piece points out, when patients walk in with their own research about their symptoms or condition, doctors are now inclined to offer less eye-rolling and more listening and re-directing to online resources.

For generic health information, search engines and health websites may well remain the top destinations for PatientConsumers™.  It’s hard to compete with Google, WebMD and Everyday Health.  But for more specialized needs – whether acute or chronic – there is certainly an opportunity for we marketers to deliver powerful  information and content for PatientConsumer™ attraction and compliance.  This is all the more true in Canada and in Quebec where, short of Google, resources tend to be U.S.-centric.

So could 2013 be the year of the web-savvy physician?  I suppose that’s a function of the resources and tools that we as marketers deliver to the marketplace.


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