Study: One-third of docs trust pharma content on HCP sites

Drugmakers should invest more on HCP-facing websites where physicians spend more of their time, the study found.

Only 34% of physicians find pharmaceutical content on HCP sites to be trustworthy, according to a new study by Decision Resources Group's Manhattan Research.

“We found that pharma is missing the mark when it comes to providing online content that physicians need in an easy-to-use way,” said Kelly Pinola, senior analyst of physician research at DRG.

See also: Doctors seek more transparency from drugmakers: ePharma panel

In February and March this year, the healthcare analytics company surveyed 2,784 U.S. physicians in more than 26 specialties and found that only 27% of them viewed pharmaceutical websites as credible sources of professional information, compared to 77% of them who viewed third-party HCP-facing websites credible.

In addition, 62% of the physicians surveyed said that the information they get from drugmakers on third-party sites such as HCP sites and online journals “are always ads.”

“We're in a new environment where you really need to move from pushing out promotional content to pulling in the customer and engaging them with valuable resources,” said Matt Arnold, principal analyst at DRG.

See also: Physicians still rely on medical journals but turn to the web when they have only 10 minutes

What physicians need are resources for patient education, scientific information on drugs to help them make better treatment decisions, and continuing medical education, said Arnold. Seventy percent of physicians said it's crucial for drugmakers to provide educational resources rooted in science to gain their trust, yet half of them agree that no drugmakers are providing quality scientific online.

And drugmakers should invest more on HCP-facing websites where physicians spend more of their time. For example, 54% of cardiologists prefer pharma-sponsored CME on non-pharma websites for providers, and 46% of urologists are looking for disease diagnosis tools.

The study also found while 86% of physicians use their smartphone to access digital resources for professional purposes, 41% of them don't visit pharma websites more often due to the amount of time it takes to find the information they need.

Part of the reason could also be that physicians are constantly tethered to the EHR, which requires them to use a keyboard to input information, but that could change with the advent of voice-assisted programs such as Amazon's Alexa and Google Home, said Arnold. DRG found that 76% of physicians either use or are interested in using voice-assisted programs to look up medical information.

See also: Report: 3 tips for pharma to provide beyond-the-pill services

“Imagine how that technology is going to change the practice of medicine for frontline care providers who are currently required to put so much information into the EHR,” said Arnold. “That's really going to free them up.”

Correction: An earlier version of this headline was inaccurate. One-third of doctors trust pharma content on HCP sites.