In a time marred by isolation and lockdowns, patients are turning to online condition communities for support and advice more than ever before. Just how important a role do online communities play in patients’ lives, and what impact do they have on health decisions? Wego Health’s recent research reveals how patients interact with online communities and how pharma marketers can tap into their influence. Here are the five stats you need to know.

1) Nine in 10 patients say online health communities play a “somewhat” to an “extremely” important role in their health decisions.

Whether learning, validating information or reading about shared experiences, 92% of patients report the role of online health communities is at least a somewhat important one. These spaces are trusted by patients when it comes to taking ownership of their health and making decisions.

2) Patient influencers drive 89% of patients to have medication conversations with an HCP and 82% to share the information with others.

When people whom patients consider influential share information about a specific medication, 90% of them will ask their doctor about that information. Beyond that, they’ll also continue disseminating that information by sharing it with others they believe to be interested. Patient influencers, both within and outside of patient communities, directly drive others to action in meaningful, bottom-of-the-funnel ways.

3) Four in 10 patients share information via some private means.

Traditional advertising methods simply can’t always reach a target patient audience. Healthcare conversations happen behind the “closed doors” of private condition communities via Facebook Groups, Messenger and even direct email. It’s critical to partner with patient influencers to arm them with credible and relevant information to share on behalf of your brand. 

4) Patients both consume and share information via Facebook more than any other platform.

Over the past three years, we’ve seen numerous new social media platforms capture patients’ attention, and others have jumped the ranks. However, Facebook remains the most dominant social media platform for online patient communities — perhaps because there’s no other platform that simultaneously provides communities such as Groups, private messaging through Messenger and promotion of a patient’s personal brand via pages. Even TikTok, the most downloaded app of 2020 and 2021, so far captures only 11% of the patient community audience.

5) Partnerships with patients are key to tapping into the power of online communities for pharma brand marketing.

The interactions and information shared within online communities directly influence a patient’s approach to receiving care. These spaces are somewhat sacred to patients in that they are a trusted place to turn to others with shared experiences to help inform their own patient journey. Traditional marketing and advertising methods can’t always reach these audiences because much of the information shared is happening privately. The key to penetrating those walls in an authentic, nonintrusive way is through trusted patient influencer partnerships and content co-creation with patients whom they’re likely to share in those gated spaces. 

Wego Health is a bridge for pharma brands to reach patients, with more than 14 years of building trusted relationships with over 100,000 patient leaders and influencers. From patient insight programs to fully scaled influencer marketing campaigns, Wego Health is your key to tapping into the power of online communities. Scan the QR code to download our full report on patient influencer impact in 2021.