One third of online physicians use blogs, professional networks, forums, and message boards to connect with other physicians according to a new report from JupiterResearch "Direct-to-Physician Online Marketing: Benchmarking and Leveraging Physicians’ Adoption of Social Media."
More than half (63%) percent of connected physicians took part in a variety of pharma-sponsored marketing programs monthly including online detailing, compared to 53 percent of unconnected online physicians. Connected physicians are more likely to use branded Web sites and manufacturer’s Web sites than their counterparts.
Connected physicians are more likely to be influencers among other physicians and patients. Two-thirds of connected physicians passed along useful content to colleagues, and 58 percent recommended specific web sites to patients.
"Connected physicians who perform social activity in a work context in general are more engaged with and responsive to online pharma marketing than are unconnected online physicians, signaling an important target segment for marketers," explained Lead Analyst Monique Levy, Senior Analyst for JupiterResearch.
"Marketers must promote word-of-mouth tactics and explore partnerships with professional networks to leverage this growing trend."
Marketers have been hesitant to invest in social media because of regulatory concerns around off-label discussions and adverse event reporting.
"Leveraging the Web to connect and share information is likely to grow significantly among online physicians in terms of both total adoption and frequency," said David Schatsky, President of JupiterResearch. "Pharmaceuticals that ignore social media may undermine their marketing efforts."