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Nielsen Looks at Traffic to Medical Sites

Social Ones Becoming More Popular

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[ Social Media]

People often turn to the Internet for information about illnesses and treatments. Many put off going to the doctor as long as possible just because they don’t find it enjoyable. Many others simply can’t afford to go to the doctor because of a lack of health insurance or plans that still end up costing them too much in co-pays anyway.

"Specifically, social media vehicles are expanding and accelerating the pace at which patients and caregivers can gain access to drug treatment ratings.," says Jessica Hogue on the Nielsen Online blog. "Similar to how an online shopper may peruse consumer reviews and ratings for, say, a flat screen TV on WalMart.com, today’s patients can get a similar quick fix."

Still, these sites can’t replace real medical care. They can be useful for obtaining information and opinions, but they’re not necessarily going to make you feel better, and they’re certainly not going to give you treatment.

Nielsen decided to look at traffic for the popular WebMD and compare it to the traffic of some other medical review sites combined. "By literally putting a human face on this vast repository of patient information and fostering social networking, these sites distinguish themselves from predecessors like DrugRatingz.com, and even established sites like WebMD.com, which also allows users to rate treatments," says Hogue. "I was curious to see what traffic to the sites looked like. As yet, traffic is quite low and below our minimum reporting levels, but directionally this data seems to indicate that awareness of review sites is gradually increasing."

 If nothing else, this data indicates that people are beginning to trust social media more as a legitimate source of information. When you can interact with a number of people who share similar experiences to your own, you build a connection and often establish a trusting (at least to some degree) relationship with them. Of course, even if these social sites are looked to more often, that doesn’t mean that people aren’t taking some of the information obtained with a grain of salt. But that’s part of the beauty of it. There will often be people there to discredit bogus information or to disagree with ideas, and sometimes such responses are just as useful as the original idea.

Nielsen Looks at Traffic to Medical Sites
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  • http://randomplaza.com Richard Mongler

    You can find on the internet such wonderful knowledge like claims that AIDS being caused by HIV is a myth and that it’s some other virus.

  • http://www.myfootshop.com Jeff

    It all boils down to consumer confidence. And how do you gain consumer confidence? In part, we’ve done it with social media.

    We’ve spent ten years building and maintaining a consumer oriented web site at http://www.myfootshop.com. We use two separate blogs. One for consumers and one for providers. We use twitter. And we use a forum. Each of these social media methods contribute in a unique way to the overall presence of the site.

    Sure, there’s a lot more to it. Grammatically correct articles, references, the appearance of the site, customer service…the list goes on. But yes, a big part of our site is social media.

    Jeff

  • http://www.healthinsurancereviewer.com/ Healthy Reviews

    It’s a given that you won’t necessarily get a professional and comprehensive answer to your ailments from a single health related web site, but you can find valuable information depending on your health concerns from these sites.

    Getting information from just one site probably isn’t the best idea, but you can put together some very clear pictures from the informational aspects of these medical sites, to give you more medical information of what you happen to be researching, whether it’s a disease or a medication.

    I think we’ll see ever-green growth in health-related websites, especially those that allow social interaction between users. I think this makes for a better informed public on health concerns

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