A new study by comScore gives us insights into what physicians do online. The results illuminate the reach of different digital property types and how that information may change their behavior.
Physicians are seeing HCP information online
Some of the selected stats on what physicians are seeing online:
Note that this study separates “HCP Content” from “Pharmaceuticals” and “Pharma Support” so it can be a bit misleading for healthcare marketers who associate HCP Content with branded sites. Nevertheless, 44% of HCPs did touch special purpose pharmaceutical sites in the first three months of 2012. Over the full year we can assume that the reach would be even higher, especially since HCPs won’t visit a branded site unless they feel that there is something new there.
As for “HCP Content” this shows that the large specialized sites have extensive reach and media directed there should get to most of an intended audience. This category is also the second highest in terms of number of visits, showing that HCPs are returning over and over again to get industry news.
Finally, social media is making a strong showing among the HCP crowd with 50% penetration, but this study does not differentiate between personal use and professional use. We know from Manhattan Research data that personal use may be around 50% but professional use of channels is 20% or less, depending on the channel (numbers that are directionally reinforced by an AMN Healthcare study previously reported).
Ad impressions drive prescriptions
Exposure to online pharma ads correlates strongly with increased prescriptions. While correlation isn’t causation, it’s at least a pre-requisite.
We do need to keep this information in perspective. The report from comScore is clear that this correlation is between “high-prescribing” physicians and visits to Medscape properties. This can also be interpreted as a simple correlation of factors that tend to show in higher-prescribing segments.
The only way to know for sure is to perform some testing inside your own media.
Physicians love their tablets
The convenient form factors of smartphones and tablets are
And they use them at the bedside. Two studies by HIMSS Analytics and Spyglass Consulting Group reported in MobiHealthNews point to greater adoption of mobile devices for physicians in clinical settings. These studies that show the combination of BYOD (bring your own device) and mobile technology trends for HCPs. Some specifics:
- 45% of clinicians collected data at the bedside on their mobiles (up from 30%)
- 38% have bar code readers on their mobile devices (up from 23%)
- 34% are monitoring data from the device (up from 27%)
- 27% use the device camera to capture patient data (up from 13%)
- 25% said that all data captured is integrated with an EHR
Of note is the reversal when HCPs are asked what they use and what they would prefer to use. The further penetration of tablets into medical profession looks to be almost assured.