WATPA: FW: Healthcare Consumers Rely on Consumer-Generated Content

From: Norm Jacknis <norm@jacknis.com>
Date: Tue Mar 08 2005 - 18:10:03 EST

Relevant to our plans for a panel on health information on the Internet
-- this article is from an electronic newsletter for marketers.


* Healthcare Consumers Rely on Consumer-Generated Content*
*> > >   Healthcare*
By Rob McGann 
<http://www.clickz.com/experts/contact_author/index.php/67353_3488251> | 
March 8, 2005
One in five online consumers are exposed to media created by other 
consumers that could influence their use of drugs and other medical 
products and services, according to a study by JupiterResearch 
"It used to be that people thought of online discussion boards and 
e-mail listservs as the primary way to connect to other consumers or 
experts," said Monique Levy, the lead analyst on the report. "We have to 
look at this more closely and understand that consumers can be exposed 
to content that other consumers produce in many other ways."
Examples of media online consumers use to discuss health issues include 
support groups, live chat, instant messaging, blogs, and e-mail, among 
other online channels, generating what JupiterResearch calls 
"consumer-created health content" (CCHC).
An important characteristic of that content is its specific nature. An 
online survey of 321 U.S. participants in online support groups found 
the leading reasons cited for visiting such CCHC groups included: to see 
how others are coping (41 percent); discuss medications or treatments 
(39 percent); and to discuss their condition or diagnosis (37 percent).
"Another key issue is what they're getting from these interactions," 
said Levy. "They're looking for concrete information, not just a 
shoulder to cry on or comparative stories. We see questions like 'Who's 
your doctor?' and 'What dose did you take?'"
Online consumers are also significantly influenced by CCHC. 
Approximately four out of five online CCHC users said they have changed 
their behavior, improved their emotional well- being, or enhanced their 
understanding of their condition as result of visiting such groups. That 
proportion is roughly equivalent to the impact health-related e-mails 
have on online consumers.
The volume of CCHC users could potentially weaken pharmaceutical 
marketers' control over their messages. Yet because of their Internet 
habits, such people are also highly accessible online through e-mail 
marketing and search engines, Levy added.
The report offers three suggestions on how marketers can effectively 
target the CCHC audience: First, they need to refine their messages to 
speak to consumer concerns, using such tools as FAST Marketrac and 
Cymfony's Digital Consumer Insight. Second, they must work with 
publishers such as About.com to leverage inventory around support groups 
in unobtrusive ways, using sponsored links and notices.
Finally, they should experiment with sponsoring expert content from 
healthcare professionals, targeting CCHC users. As an example, the 
report cites Crestor's launch of crestorfacts.com, a streaming video in 
which a doctor explains the company's cholesterol drug and addresses 
safety issues.
Received on Tue Mar 8 18:10:54 2005

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