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Manhattan Predicts Online Health Trends

January 26 2006
US healthcare specialist Manhattan Research has published a summary of the major trends for health and pharmaceutical marketers to consider in 2006. The trends chart the increased use of the web and other new technologies as a health information and communication tool for both patients and physicians.

The company has identified a number of 'eHealth' trends for marketers, based on research studies conducted in the US and Europe over the past ten years. The main trends include.
  • Use of search engines. Consumers are 30% more likely to begin their online health session with a search engine than by going directly to a known website.
  • Broadband explosion. The increase in broadband connections - 31% over the past year - has had far-reaching effects on the amount of time consumers spend online, as well as the frequency of Internet use.
  • 'Alternative' media. More than 61m US adults now participate in 'alternative' media such as online video, blogs or podcasts. Manhattan expects the number of people who rely on these information sources to experience double-digit growth in 2006.
  • Prescription product web sites. Web sites dedicated to specific prescription drugs now attract 2m visitors a year, and are emerging as robust information sources for both patients and physicians.
These trends will be discussed in a free webinar on February 1st. Details are at www.manhattanresearch.com/trends2006.aspx

The company has also identified specific trends for those wanting to reach European physicians, based on a telephone survey, Taking the Pulse Europe, conducted with 1,000 physicians from Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK in the fourth quarter of 2005. The trends are as follows.
  • Reliance on the Internet. On a daily basis, 84% of European physicians use the Internet. A majority of this access is for professional use, such as online journals, searching literature databases, accessing clinical trial information, and searching for prescription drug information.
  • Well-established technology infrastructure. 86% of European physicians have an Internet connection in their offices, and nearly two thirds have implemented digital medical records.
  • Mobile devices. Almost one in three have a handheld mobile device, and the majority use them for advanced professional activities such as scheduling, drug reference, clinical notes and reading articles online. As devices evolve, the opportunity to use them at the point of care will increase.
  • Email and connectivity. Less than one quarter email their patients, but nearly a third have an email relationship with a pharmaceutical company. This represents a strategic opportunity for pharmaceutical marketers.
  • Visits to pharmaceutical web sites. 49% of European physicians who use the Internet for professional purposes have visited a corporate pharmaceutical site. The most visited sites are Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Novartis, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi-Aventis, Merck, Roche, Bayer, Lilly and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
The European physician market trends will be discussed in a free webinar on February 15th. Details are online at www.manhattanresearch.com/euphysicians.aspx

Manhattan Research conducts annual research studies among physicians and consumers, including Cybercitizen Health, ePharma Consumer, Taking the Pulse, and ePharma Physician. The company is online at www.manhattanresearch.com