How do people seek out health information online? You may well ask…. A survey, conducted by Makovsky Health and Kelton, suggests that people (from US) are more likely to visit Wikipedia than health magazine websites or Facebook and connect through a PC rather than a mobile device.
Interestingly, when seeking info about their own medical condition, consumers were almost as likely to trust advocacy group and government agency websites (33%) as much as they trust websites with medical information, such as WebMD (35%). Perhaps surprisingly, 31% of people use Wikipedia for health info.
From a pharma perspective, it is worth noting that the results suggest that personal recommendations from friends, family member or colleagues (33%) are a stronger motivator to visit a pharma website than TV advertisements (27%), magazine advertisements (14%), digital advertisements (13%) or discounts (16%).
Social networking sites are being used by far less people for health information with Facebook (17%) leading the way ahead of YouTube (15%), blogs (13%) and Twitter feeds with links to other resources (6%).
Another interesting survey hailing from the US for stats fans, looks at public use of iPads and other tablet devices for a broad range of health activity in the last year. The survey, conducted by pharma and healthcare market research company Manhattan Research, found that the number of US adults using mobile phones for health information and tools grew from 61 million in 2011 to 75 million in 2012.
Furthermore, while usage of tablets for health activities still tends to be more popular among younger consumers, the study did find that older consumers who own a tablet device are using health resources too, with nearly half of online consumers aged over 55 who own or use a tablet using these devices for health information or tools. For the full story, check out Dominic Tyer’s blog post on the study.
Although both studies have a US focus, it’s great to see more and more tangible evidence emerging around the use of digital and social media for health info and tools. It’s particularly useful to see the breakdown of online consumer habits, which may well be worth referring to for comms agencies and pharma companies alike when planning any online activities.