SOURCE: Cutting Edge Information

Cutting Edge Information

September 17, 2009 09:48 ET

For Pharma, Online Patients Present Opportunities and Risk, Says Cutting Edge Information

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwire - September 17, 2009) - Today's consumers are more and more likely to turn to the Internet for medical and drug information.

About.com's recent Health Site Intercept Study finds that, among Web-using patients who receive a diagnosis, only 35% rely completely on a doctor for decisions about prescriptions and treatment.

The remaining 65% go online to learn about their prescribed treatments as well as alternative options. They also seek new scientific developments and other patients' accounts of their experiences. With a wealth of knowledge available in just a few mouse clicks, the Web provides a deep resource for information on conditions, treatments, and disease management.

"Considering that patients nationwide overwhelmingly trust their physicians to make the right diagnosis and prescribe the right therapy, this statistic shows how much patients want to get involved in their own health decisions," said Jason Richardson, president of Cutting Edge Information, a research firm that tracks the drug industry.

This opening provides an opportunity for drug companies trying to connect with consumers. It's a tough job, though, because patients want easy-to-understand content that answers a range of critical questions. If they get a whiff of promotional language, they'll move on to the next site.

Those challenges make it difficult to develop effective consumer content. A new report from Cutting Edge Information, "Designing Patient Communications Programs," (http://www.cuttingedgeinformation.com/patient-communication/) discusses how patient marketing and communications teams develop programs that address patients' needs while building relationships with them.

Although drug teams have the opportunity to speak directly to a willing audience, they must carefully manage consumer desire for unbiased, accessible information. If they do it well, they will become resources that patients call on time and time again.

"Consumers are looking for any tool that helps them educate themselves," Richardson said. "They just want to be more informed about decisions that affect their lives."

The report, "Designing Patient Communications Programs," provides a complete breakdown of the communication programs of 27 pharmaceutical brands. It includes the costs, development times, and goals of 19 different communication tools. These data, coupled with ROI measurements, best practices, and industry trends, provide a comprehensive picture of patient communications program design and implementation.

For a complimentary brochure of this report, visit http://www.cuttingedgeinformation.com/patient-communication.

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