As Senior Director of Research at Manhattan Research, Monique Levy focuses on consumer and physician eHealth trends and marketing strategy. Prior to joining Manhattan Research, Levy was Senior Analyst at JupiterResearch for six years, leading their health coverage. She also applied her health psychology expertise at eDiets.com, managing community and providing strategic and research support to the executive team. During this time, Levy produced an award-winning cognitive-behavioral learning and multimedia tool for weight management. She also worked on environmental issues at the World Bank and was a fellow at the Pan American Health Organization. Levy has been quoted in major media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, NPR, and The Economist as well as other trade media including MedAdNews. Today, Pixels & Pills talks to Monique about current digital trends in the healthcare community.
By Kimberly Reyes (@CommDuCoeur)
What can healthcare marketers learn from recent trends in mobile usage, among both physicians and patients?
On the physician side the first thing for healthcare marketers to grasp is the extent of smart mobile device adoption. Our recent Taking the PulseÇ¬Æ v10.0 study shows that almost most three quarters of physicians own smartphones and many have a second smart portable device such as an iTouch or eReader. Another finding to which healthcare marketers should pay attention is that physicians are as likely to use browsers to find information on smartphones as they are to use apps – which means marketers have to look into mobile optimization of websites in addition to app development. Last, while physicians predominantly use smartphones to search for information and communicate today, strong growth in other activities such as patient monitoring, patient record keeping and learning are expected in the next 18 months.
The opportunity for healthcare marketers to leverage mobile marketing for patients in this time frame is comparatively less strong. As with PC-based access, patients predominantly use mobile devices to look for health information today; relatively few have or are interested in using tools or services to help them manage their care or benefits. What’s more, adoption and interest in health mobile activities skew towards younger age groups, which typically have a lower incidence of chronic conditions. Nevertheless, the personal, private and ‘always with you’ nature of smartphones, make them an ideal platform for condition and health management, so mobile health will likely grow in the midterm as mobile health products and mobile devices improve.
Can you briefly explain physician attitudes towards eHealth and ePatient communities?
Myths of physicians being intolerant of patients bringing in information from the Internet into consultations still persist even though we’ve found no evidence of this attitude in our research over the last few years. In fact, only about 1 in ten physicians say that patients referencing such information harm the relationship and the majority of physicians say patients are more informed after doing their online health research. At the same time, physicians are a bit wary of recommending websites and other online resources to patients, mostly because they can’t always vouch for them.
How is the healthcare community currently using social media, and what are some noticeable trends for 2010?
Physicians are very comfortable accessing content other healthcare professionals have created online for example on blogs, message boards, YouTube, and other websites. However, they have adopted closed professional communities or networks at a relatively slow pace mostly, according to the survey, because they haven’t had time to set up their profiles and become members of these services. The data suggests it’s much easier for physicians to stumble across professional user-generated content as they go about their regular online research than to go and log in to another dedicated resource. However, adoption of closed physician social networks may accelerate as these services evolve and provide exclusive content and other value-added services that make the extra step worthwhile.