Patients look to docs for web suggestions -- but most don't get them

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Consumers want more help from their doctors in finding relevant health information on the web, but their doctors are often failing to deliver, according to new research by consumer engagement specialist Kyp and Opinion Research Corporation.

According to the study, while 76% of respondents search the internet for health information, only 22% use the web as their first port of call after they suspect a health problem – seemingly because of the confusing number of online sources.

Even in the 18-34 demographic, more than half (55%) report that “there is just too much choice” and that they “simply don't know where to turn for the best advice.”

But while one in two respondents overall (49%) considers their healthcare provider to be the primary influencer in choosing which sites to visit, just one in four (25%) reports receiving recommendations from their doctor – which represents an opportunity for pharma marketers to intervene.

“Patients would like to use the web to research health issues, but are being put off by the huge number of different and competing websites they have to choose from,” said Kyp CEO Nicholas Miller. “The healthcare industry should support physicians in connecting patients with online resources that help them understand and manage their conditions. The market is there and it is asking for direction.”

The study represents the findings of a telephone survey conducted among a national probability sample of 1,008 adults, comprising 507 men and 501 women.

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