Approximately 3 out of 10 have ever participated in a forum related to health issues, either to meet other patients suffering from the same disease, to share experiences, receive recommendations or as a way of escape to vent. These are some of the results of the study “You share; We care “, made by Marco de Comunicación and its partner MSL / Publicis Group, and presented yesterday in Madrid.
The study gathers the opinions and experiences of more than 1,000 patients and about 70 directors of health communication, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, the Scandinavian countries and Switzerland. Thus, the report prepared by Framework for Communication reveals that the constant interaction between patients through the Internet is posing new challenges for the health sector. However, although this new paradigm can make the communication process more complex, 6 out of 10 European healthcare professionals see this new situation as a good opportunity to better understand patients and their needs.
In addition, the Agency of the Year in the Iberian Peninsula has compiled the experiences of 1,200 patients regarding the use of the Internet and social networks as sources of information for health issues. Thus, the study reveals that 72% of patients use the Internet to search for information on health topics and that the most consulted sources in the network are the forums (42%), Google (41%) and Wikipedia %). The growing influence of the Internet is manifested in the fact that 20% of patients prefer to have a consultation on the network rather than visit their specialist when they think they have a disease. In addition, 35% of acknowledge having self-medicated ever following instructions they found on the Internet.
These data, among others, have been announced at an event attended by directors of communication of pharmaceutical laboratories, research centers, hospitals and patient associations. The event ended with a roundtable discussion in which Montserrat Tarrés, Director of Communication and Public Relations of Novartis and member of the Board of Directors of Dircom participated; Juan José Moreno, president of the Madrid Federation of Alzheimer’s (FAFAL); Mercedes Otero, third vice-president of the Society of General Practitioners and Family (SEMG); And Ángeles López, head of the Health section of elmundo.es.
Digital communication, a key factor to improve the doctor-patient relationship
The conclusions of the study “You share; We care “point to the fact that patients increasingly demand a greater interaction in the network with all the actors of the health system. According to the report, 35% of patients feel that their doctor does not spend enough time in consultations. In fact, they claim to go to the Internet to check the data that has given their specialist, to meet other individuals with the same disease or because they consider insufficient information that has provided their doctor, among other factors.
In addition, the Internet has become not only a source of disease-related data and prognosis, the study reveals that 2 out of 10 patients seek referrals from their doctors through the network.
Can Environment 2.0 help the physician improve this relationship with the patient? During the presentation debate of the study “You share; We care “has stressed that the medical community must see the Internet and social networks as allies to communicate more immediately and effectively with their patients. This will increase access to quality information that can meet the needs of patients.
New challenges for the healthcare industry
Seventy percent of the health communication directors who participated in the study recognize the importance of including digital communication tools in their strategies, such as community management services or SEO positioning strategies. However, most of the professionals surveyed admit to being concerned about the legal restrictions they have to face in the 2.0 environment. In addition, 7 out of 10 dircoms have stated they are not yet ready to start this new relationship with patients, professionals and institutions.
9 out of every 10 patients surveyed feel that more needs to be invested in population-oriented awareness campaigns. The same thinks more than half of the dircom consulted, that agrees in which concretely it is necessary to promote preventive measures in the habits of life of the citizenship.
“All this shows us that the public in general and patients in particular clearly call for awareness campaigns that can improve their quality of life and health knowledge. In fact, active in Internet to supplement the perceived lack of communication with the medical sector , “ says Didier Lagae, CEO of Communication Framework.