Polls highlight chronic disease information needs

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Polls highlight chronic disease information needs
Polls highlight chronic disease information needs

Two studies tracking adult internet preferences have honed in on the type of experience and information chronic-disease patients are seeking online. Nonprofit Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project found, for example, that internet users with more than one chronic condition are more likely to use the internet to “read or watch something online about someone else's personal health experience,” and are also more likely to share what they know with online communities than users without chronic conditions.

Decision Resources finds that this sort of soft support—as opposed to a straightforward brand message—is important to note because while 68% of polled Boomers (who make up the majority of patients with chronic diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis and heart disease) said they use the internet, they generally gravitate toward broad-based health websites, like WebMD for disease and drug information.

Decision Resources also found that going broad—such as creating preventative-care resources with information about weight loss or even preventive screenings—is a waste of time for the 60s generation, because they are looking for information about a specific symptom or diagnosis.

The “look at me” angle is not unique to Boomers. Pew also found that chronic-disease patients were more likely than non-chronic patients to look for condition and treatment information. Pew also took it further and found that patients are using the internet to stockpile data and support, but are more likely to depend on clinicians for a diagnosis.

Beyond the resource and support angle, Decision Resources notes that pharma is missing a key opportunity to engage patients from a community-centric perspective and financially savvy perspective: texted medication reminders and live, online nurse support drive adherence and favorable health outcomes, “however, most marketers of drugs highly used by Baby Boomers are not currently offering this service.”

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