Tuesday, February 14, 2012

ePharma Love Affairs

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There have been several great love affairs in the digital pharma world, and we wanted to highlight a few for Valentine’s Day -

Couple of the year...

Doctors heart Apple products. Our 2011 Taking the Pulse® U.S. study found that 75 percent of U.S. doctors owned either an iPhone, iPad, or iPod – far outpacing adoption of Android and BlackBerry devices. The iPad in particular is poised to transform the physician workday. As of last Q1 (just one year after the iPad first hit the market) already 30 percent of doctors owned one and an additional 28 percent said they planned to buy one within 6 months. Additionally, these doctors expressed strong interest in using iPads to facilitate practice management and patient education. The 2012 version of Taking the Pulse® U.S. is just about to go into fielding and we expect to see a significant boost in iPad ownership from last year. One thing should remain the same though – doctors’ love affair with Apple will likely remain strong.

An enduring romance...

In a report a few years ago, we referred to search as the little black dress of marketing – a classic that never goes out of style. And now a few years later, when it comes to online health research, search is still very much in vogue. When consumers seek health information on the Internet in key medical scenarios, such as when experiencing new symptoms, preparing for a doctor’s visit, or after receiving a prescription, the vast majority rely on search engines rather than going directly to a website. Additionally, consumers are more likely to use search engines than web browsing or apps to find prescription drug information on their mobile phones. While some technology pundits claim the online landscape is shifting towards a narrower digital world characterized by apps and a declining need for browser-based searching – in digital health, the fires of romance should keep burning for search and consumers at least for the time being.

Star-crossed lovers…

The relationship between social and pharma is, well, complicated. On the one hand, our latest ePharma Consumer® study found that 42 percent of online consumers agree that pharma companies should be involved in online health communities, and this expectation is even higher among certain caregiver and patient groups. On the other hand, even with recent FDA draft guidelines, it doesn’t seem marketers are finding that it’s getting any easier to navigate the social media regulatory minefield. Additionally, when it comes to getting questions answered directly from pharma company representatives, very few consumers want this messaging via general social networking forums like Twitter or Facebook. Throw in the challenges of social ROI measurement and you’ve got a relationship ripe for angry phone hang ups and late night tears into pints of Ben & Jerry’s. So while pharma and social media may not be headed for divorce yet, the union will likely encounter its share of stormy weather for the foreseeable future. But just as we hope against hope that Seal and Heidi reconcile, we can remain optimistic that this pair can somehow work it out in the end!

Sources: Manhattan Research - Taking the Pulse® U.S. 2011, Cybercitizen Health® U.S. 2011, ePharma Consumer® 2011

This guest post was contributed by Maureen Malloy, Senior Healthcare Analyst, Manhattan Research Maureen Malloy is a Senior Healthcare Analyst at Manhattan Research, with a focus on consumer digital health trends. You can find her on Twitter or at Manhattan Research’s blog.  This post is co-posted with the Manhattan Research Blog.
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