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Physicians are busy. Perhaps all sales, marketing, advertising and communications directed at doctors should be constructed with this thought in mind. The web has become the ultimate time saver for physicians. According to a recent Manhattan Research study, 84% of US physicians are now online daily.

This year's survey found that physicians desire to receive the majority of their pharmaceutical and device product information through online and other electronic sources. Currently, doctors conduct 41% of their pharma research online.

“This trend could prove to be an opportunity for smaller and targeted specialty pharmaceutical and biotech companies to gain ground on larger competitors in physician reach and market share through cost effective digital sales and marketing support strategies,” says Mark Bard, Manhattan Research president. “Digital channels have leveled the playing field in many industries, giving sales and marketing groups the chance to make a big impact even with limited—yet targeted—resources.”

Physicians simply find it easier and faster to conduct the majority of their research online. More doctors are reading journals and attending conferences online. Both of these activities have been growing at a double-digit rate since 2005.  During this period, physician readerships of offline journals and attendance at offline conferences have declined.

Physicians participating in the study say they will increase the amount of time they spend reading online journals in the coming years.  

In the long run, physicians save time by accessing this information online only when they need it. After all, doctors are busy.

Dan McKillen is the CEO of the HealthDay news service

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