NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–U.S. consumers seeking health information online are more likely to visit Wikipedia than health magazine websites or Facebook, connect through a PC rather than a mobile device, and be swayed by word of mouth over direct-to-consumer advertising, according to results from a new national consumer survey conducted by Makovsky Health and Kelton. The Makovsky-Kelton research investigates consumers’ overall engagement with online healthcare information, and reveals specific consumer preferences for online publishing sources, channels and even devices. Data pinpoint trust in content sources, with consumers rating government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and advocacy organizations among the most credible.
“These survey data shed light on where companies should invest to engage consumers in cost-efficient, yet effectively engaging ways.”
“Whether they want guidance for an informed conversation with their doctor, or the support of a larger community coping with the same illness, consumers seek trusted sources for health information,” said Gil Bashe, executive vice president and practice director, Makovsky Health. “With new and evolving access points, understanding the consumer mindset is critical to supporting improved health outcomes. These new survey results enhance our understanding of how and with whom consumers connect online, and help ensure that credible, useful information is readily accessible to the patients who need it.”
When and How Do Consumers Search?
People are still most likely to use a personal computer (90%) – and not a smartphone (7%) or tablet (4%) – to search for health information online. Further, these PC-reliant consumers are more likely than smartphone/tablet-reliant consumers to visit a pharma website after receiving a diagnosis from their doctor (52% vs. 31%), whereas smartphone/tablet users are far more likely than PC users (43% vs. 24%) to visit a pharma website after they experience a few symptoms.
Who Do Consumers Trust?
If seeking information about their own medical condition(s), consumers trust advocacy group and government agency websites (e.g., CDC or FDA) nearly as much (33%) as they trust websites with medical information, such as WebMD (35%). Further, a personal recommendation from a friend, family member or colleague (33%) is a stronger motivator to visit a pharma website than TV advertisements (27%), magazine advertisements (14%), digital advertisements (13%), or discounts (16%). Consumers also report an overall preference for externally-sourced information, though user-generated content on Wikipedia is gaining high levels of trust:
56% of Americans use WebMD for healthcare information31% visit Wikipedia, which has emerged as a trusted source of credible information, an increase of 13% from Makovsky Health’s 2011 survey29% visit health magazine websites online (e.g., Prevention, Women’s Health)Social networking sites are utilized by far fewer Americans for healthcare information: Facebook (17%), YouTube (15%), blogs (13%), and Twitter feeds with links to other resources (6%). (...)
Via Tracy Parish, Lionel Reichardt / le Pharmageek, dbtmobile, Camilo Erazo