By Spitz (@SpitzStrategy)

Heard But Not Yet Understood

Every movement has a spokesperson at the core, a charismatic individual who defines, delivers, and drives the messaging and call-to-action. At the very center of the initiative focused on empowering, engaging, equipping, and enabling today’s digital patient is @ePatientDave, “e-patient Dave” deBronkart, the activist now synonymous with our digital health call-to-arms.

Thanks to Dave and the efforts of other thoughtful advocates, the needs and expectations of the e-patient have been carried directly into the forum of healthcare communications, where they belong, the ultimate end-user too often neglected or ignored altogether. But are we any closer to truly understanding the e-patient, how they use technology, are impacted by content, and make their decisions throughout the context of their journey?

Polar Bears and Polaroids

Fard Johnmar, Founder and President of Enspektos, LLC, recognizes the two fundamental predicaments of digital health consumer research, obstacles to our full understanding of the e-patient. “I liken these challenges to icebergs and snapshots,” smiles Fard. “Measuring that X% of adults search online for health information or say social media influences medical decisions is fantastic.¬†But, these data points fail to plumb the depths of the miles deep iceberg of information on why people are motivated to turn to the Web, what they are seeing, and how specific pieces of content influence health intent and behavior.¬†In addition, these data are much like snapshots taken over a certain period of time, devoid of context.”

To overcome these shortcomings of traditional research, Fard and his team are launching this August “digihealth pulse,” an initiative combining in-depth survey research with ongoing tracking of what people actually consume online and on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs and Wikipedia. The research is designed to provide information on many unanswered questions about the impact of the health Web, including how people perceive online content, whether it influences intent to engage in specific health behaviors (e.g., exercise, vaccinations, medication compliance, safe sex practices) and if people follow through on behavioral intentions.

“To solve the ‚òiceberg and snapshot’ problems in market research,” elaborates Fard, “we’ve created digihealth pulse that in a sense shoots real-time video to truly understand the impact of changing topics, emerging crises, and new trends on the digital health content landscape.¬†digihealth pulse will help us uncover and seize the digital health future, rather than continually exploring the past.”

Join the Conversation

Pre-register for the digihealth webinar to learn more about this intriguing initiative to better understand the e-patient. The event will cover:

  • Why digiheatlh pulse is needed and how it will help broaden and deepen our understanding of digital health consumers¬†across more than 15 health topics
  • How select data will be shared broadly, including the unveiling of a real-time dashboard that will be available to the general public
  • How people can get more information and insights from digihealth pulse and about digital health technologies and trends

We’re eager to follow the pulse, and discover fresh insights about the ultimate digital health end-user, the e-patient.



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