Visitors to the HealthCentral network of websites were more likely to request prescription drugs from their physicians than were visitors to competing sites, such as WebMD and Everyday Health, a Manhattan Research study found.
The study, which surveyed 8,714 US adults, found that 91% of HealthCentral network's audience had chronic conditions, and 85% were searching for pharmaceutical information online in the last 12 months.
According to Jeremy Shane, president and COO at HealthCentral, the network is “bringing in consumers at a decision point, who are entering two, three, four or five keyword strings” into a search field. “The [HealthCentral] websites are driven by expert patients,” said Shane. “Visitors are highly targeted through organic search results, and are ready to act and manage their diseases.”
HealthCentral utilizes the language used by patients themselves, notes Shane, offering as an example a 37-post discussion between two women with rheumatoid arthritis. The women discussed how to manage daily activities, and also what meds they used, according to Shane.
The HealthCentral network property had about “2.5 million unique visitors in November 2008, but the entire entity (which likely includes partner sites) had 9.1 million,” according to Andrea Vollman, senior marketing analyst at comScore.