Info-starved patients want more from docs, survey says

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Doctors aren't doing enough to educate patients about disease management, leaving patients to fend for themselves, according to a MedTera study conducted in September.

Of the 7,028 survey respondents, 95% indicated that they are looking for more comprehensive information about disease management, and 77% said they hadn't received any written information about their illness or medications directly from the physician, according to the survey.

High percentiles of the patients surveyed said specific types of information are “very much” or “extremely” valuable, including:

  • Details on the importance of follow-ups and tests (94%)
  • Dietary recommendations based on condition (86%)
  • Online resources to help manage a condition (84%)
  • Changes in lifestyle that might be required (82%)
  • Information on medications and potential side effects (78%)

Dave Duplay, president of MedTera, said the data reveals “a tremendous opportunity for pharma to get out in front of this issue.” New survey data around the kinds of tools patients consider most useful will be released in early 2011. The survey is a result of MedTera's internal findings suggesting that 29%-71% of newly diagnosed patients with chronic illnesses were going off their medications within the first 30 days, Duplay said.

MedTera, a one-year-old subsidiary of Structural Graphics, is an integrated marketing firm that creates print and dimensional materials for patients, delivered to doctors by sales reps and through the mail. The materials direct patients to digital assets online, Duplay said. 

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