Pharma websites a top information source for patients: survey

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

(Jane_Kelly/iStock via Getty Images Plus)
(Jane_Kelly/iStock via Getty Images Plus)

Related tags Patient centricity Pharmaceutical companies Data Consumer Health patient engagement Research

According to findings from Press Ganey, physicians and pharmaceutical company sites are the top resources patients turn to for information about medicines.

Pharmaceutical websites are second only to primary care physicians on the list of resources patients use to research prescriptions and medications, according to a survey by Press Ganey.

Late last year, the health intelligence company asked more than 1,000 healthcare consumers about their digital behaviors and expectations of pharmaceutical brands. The survey revealed the central role company websites play in the dissemination of information about pharmaceuticals to patients.

Asked to choose all the sources they use to research medications, 47% of respondents said they read the websites of pharmaceutical companies. Only primary care physicians, at 53%, were a more widely used source of information.

The survey suggests pharmaceutical websites are far more commonly used by patients than all the other sources of information. News media, specialists in the condition, and family, friends, and acquaintances occupied the next three spots on the list but only 31% to 32% of patients use those sources.

Patients use other information sources even less frequently. Condition-based community websites and social media came in toward the bottom of the list, with respectively 18% and 16% of patients saying they use them to research their prescriptions and medications.

The importance of company websites to patients provides drugmakers with an opportunity. Other parts of the survey point to ways companies can use their privileged position as a point of entry to the patient journey to improve the patient experience and generate brand loyalty.

Almost 90% of patients want pharmaceutical brand websites to host directories of physicians who treat their conditions, potentially reflecting the fact that finding a doctor is a challenge. A similar proportion of respondents want to check and compare the ratings of doctors on brand websites. 

Experts at Press Ganey believe the payoff for pharma companies that help connect patients to care can be huge, a viewpoint that is underpinned by evidence that patients will show loyalty to brands that make their journeys easier.

In an era when trust and loyalty are hard to come by, over 50% of consumers say they’d be more loyal to a pharma brand if it helped them access care through a find-a-doctor directory, and 83% say they’d be more likely to use or recommend a brand site that did so​,” said the Press Ganey experts.

The survey led Press Ganey to recommend that companies give “consumers the tools and technologies to research their options and book appointments at the exact moment your product is top of mind​” and “help them through the critical ‘last mile’ of an often stressful journey​.”

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