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Does Social Media Matter In Healthcare? According To The Research, YES

Here in our online bubble it can sometimes appear as if we are drinking the collective social media Kool-Aid.  Evangelists think blogs, wikis and other forms of user-generated media are important, but many do not.  Sometimes convincing the skeptics takes hard work and a lot of number crunching.  Two studies, one of which I had a little something to do with, indicate that social media really matters in healthcare. 

JupiterKagan: “Health Connectors” Influencing Online Dialogue

Earlier this month, JupiterKagan released research focusing on how people creating content online are influencing health-related dialogue and perceptions.  Monique Levy, who headed up the research, told John Bell:

“As many as 34 percent of online users said they connected to others or the content they created online about health and wellness issues using various types of peer-to-peer and social media in the last year.  Of these health connectors 69 percent are consuming content, 41 percent creating and 32 percent doing both.”

In addition, Jupiter’s research examines how and whether these “health connectors” are influencing how people consume healthcare products and services, specifically prescription drugs.

Levy will be presenting more data from this study at this year’s 6th Annual eMarketing for the Pharmaceutical Industry conference, which is taking place from March 7 - 9 in Philadelphia.  I will be attending Levy’s presentation and will report on what I learn.  (Jupiter’s research is available for purchase here.  Contact the company’s press representatives for information about this study’s methodology.) 

Envision Solutions: Online Health Searchers Are Exposed To & Use Social Media On A Regular Basis

Clearly, people are creating health content on blogs, wikis and other forms of social media.  However, are people reading it?  Research released this week by my firm, Envision Solutions, indicates they are.  This study, conducted with support from Hitwise, indicates that:

- US Internet users' exposure to health-related user-generated media is significant

- In certain cases, wikis and blogs are receiving a great deal of traffic from online health searchers

In addition, this research provides insights as to why some Americans are not consistently checking the source and date of the information they find online, as the Pew Internet & American Life Project reported last year.  This is because certain online health searchers are relying on sources they view as well established and credible, including government, corporate and non-profit Websites.  To download a free report about this study, please click here.

So, healthcare social media evangelists, take heart.  Blogs, wikis and other forms of user-generated media matter.  It remains to be seen what many industry stakeholders will do about it.  

3 Comments/Trackbacks

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