Consumer health trends

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In these slides, I briefly outline how the Internet is changing healthcare by empowering the consumer and the e-patient. We look at data and examples from the USA and Europe, and consider the impact of ratings websites, online health records, and the way in which doctors are responding to the e-patient.

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  • Creation Healthcare is an international consultancy helping healthcare and pharmaceutical companies to understand and implement engagement strategies. In this presentation today we will be taking a look at some of the emerging trends for consumers using the Internet , and the impact that this is having on the healthcare landscape. This will only be a snapshot, based on a compilation of various existing studies that have relevance to this organization. We are not predicting the future, but merely bringing a perspective on what is happening right now, at this moment in time.
  • There is no need to iterate that our healthcare system has no function without a patient. Many stakeholders are interconnected through this healthcare universe to provide the necessary support and services for patients. Over time the healthcare system has increased in complexity , to the point where the patient had in recent times become arguably insignificant in the process of choosing and administering treatment. Along comes the Internet; giving the patient an ability to discover health information which may impact on their treatment choices . Additionally, the healthcare system paradigm has been forced into a new landscape; When transposed to the age of the Internet, new factors affect the relationships between these stakeholders i.e. Ratings, user generated content, etc.
  • The Internet is a phenomenon which no one could have predicted during the early 1990s. According to ITU, approximately 1 in 4 people in the world are now online; nearly 3 in 4 citizens of the developed world . This is such a fundamental and powerful change affecting the world and healthcare, which is only growing in importance.
  • When the Internet first became a public entity, communicators could only see the potential as another advertising or PR channel. For many, a website was simply and electronic version of the company brochure. Not only have the numbers increased, but the whole mode of operation has changed. The Internet is not a broadcast medium, it is a dynamic and lively place for information exchange .
  • When looking by market, there are clear patterns and differences between the fast growing emerging web markets such as the Far East and India compared with the more established web markets like the United Kingdom and Europe. The Western developed countries have stabilised in behaviour; tending to maintain a relatively common spread of usage between social networking, entertainment, and researching.
  • This becomes quite clear when comparing to other emerging markets such as Russia and Brazil. Note that the emerging markets are very engaged in social activity and slightly less in researching about products or services online. Whereas the UK, Germany, Japan, and South Korea have a greater focus on using the Internet for informational and researching needs.
  • In just four years from 2004 to 2008, we have seen approximately 30% increase in usage of the Internet in relation to health . These figures are based on a survey of 8,714 people in the USA, Q3 2008. Nonetheless, this is indicative of the developed world generally. Since the inception of the Internet, the US has been a useful indicator for global trends – usually one to two years ahead of the rest of the world. This gap has been reducing in the past ten years. Considering a more international example, in a global study of 5183 people across US, UK, Germany, Russia, and China : 63 percent of people said they are becoming more actively engaged in health issues ; 60 percent are becoming more actively engaged with health products and services; and 40 percent are becoming more actively engaged with companies and organizations involved in health . (Edelman 2009).
  • Time to introduce a term that is used increasingly in relation to online health consumers: e-Patient Note: other consultancies create different words to explain the same thing; i.e. Edelman calls them “Health Info-entials”. They are Health Involved, Health Informed and Health Engaged... A little different to a typical Internet user – they are proactively participating in the treatment of their own condition, or that of a loved one. They are champions of finding and disseminating information to people like themselves. Information is key . In this diagram we see three concentric circles, representing the overlap of health management sites, health information sites, and social networking sites. There is a convergence taking place in the Internet between social networking and health information sharing websites, with the individual participating at the centre . Who provides the information? How accurate is the information? Who owns and maintains the information. Increasingly, the ‘land-grab’ of online information provision is ‘health and wellness’ – rather than ‘sickness’.
  • So which countries have the most Internet users that are ‘e-Patients’, as a percentage? It is in emerging markets such as China that we see the greatest engagement of ‘e-Patients’ in finding health information, and making decisions based on this information. There are a variety of reasons why some developed countries do not engage more on health – including apathy, time, tradition etc.
  • Health is personal, but e-Patients are willing to share. Privacy is certainly an increasingly important issue with the Internet generally, but evidence suggests that in health there is a willingness to contribute information that may help others.
  • That said, we find that patients/consumers spend more time looking for information than they are prepared to spend sharing it.
  • The ability to research health information has an impact on the decisions made about healthcare too The question was asked; “Where do you go to find information to make decisions about your healthcare?” (Select all that apply). N=3,500 consumers in seven countries (the U.K., Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, U.S., Canada, and Australia).
  • Other studies show similar evidence that e-Patients are researching prior to undertaking a health related decision. This data is based on a survey of 4,001 people, conducted October 2008.
  • Not just research for informational reasons; these people are empowered to make different decisions. This data is based on a sample size of 2,253 US adults, Nov-Dec 2008.
  • This leads us into discussing Doctors online: Physicians have been turning to the Internet for some time. Sermo (US), Doctors.net.uk (UK), doc2doc and others are providing private networks where serious information sharing and communication is taking place. In the EU we now see 95% using the Internet for professional use .
  • More importantly, these doctors are influencing patients and consumers in the way they access information . Mainly for disease or condition awareness, but also patient support; health or lifestyle change; compliance and disease management; medicine and treatment specific information; online communities for patients with the same condition.
  • Eighty-eight percent of respondents noted that they turn to their physicians to validate online information, and the same number turn to other sources to validate information from their doctor. (n=5183, Global)
  • New technology brings controversy – change. Evidence shows that the impact of the Internet is more than a simple trend, it is a paradigm shift unlike anything the health care industry has seen before. It is at times subtle, yet is slowly and consistently impacting every aspect of health services provision. The key to it all is information, and the potential for two-way engagement with individuals. For those wanting to capitalize on the opportunities – need an informed and strategic approach. What is the role of this organization in providing information? What kinds of information will you provide? What level of two-way engagement will be appropriate? What perception does/will the consumer have of the organizational ‘brand’? How can the organization tap into new insights and measurement afforded by patient communities?
  • Consumer health trends

    1. 1. Creation Healthcare is an international consultancy helping healthcare and pharmaceutical companies to understand and implement engagement strategies. In this presentation today we will be taking a look at some of the emerging trends for consumers using the Internet, and the impact that this is having on the healthcare landscape. This will only be a snapshot, based on a compilation of various existing studies that have relevance to this organization. We are not predicting the future, but merely bringing a perspective on what is happening right now, at this moment in time.
    2. 2. There is no need to iterate that our healthcare system has no function without a patient. Many stakeholders are interconnected through this healthcare universe to provide the necessary support and services for patients. Over time the healthcare system has increased in complexity, to the point where the patient had in recent times become arguably insignificant in the process of choosing and administering treatment. Along comes the Internet; giving the patient an ability to discover health information which may impact on their treatment choices. Additionally, the healthcare system paradigm has been forced into a new landscape; When transposed to the age of the Internet, new factors affect the relationships between these stakeholders i.e. Ratings, user generated content, etc.
    3. 3. The Internet is a phenomenon which no one could have predicted during the early 1990s. According to ITU, approximately 1 in 4 people in the world are now online; nearly 3 in 4 citizens of the developed world. This is such a fundamental and powerful change affecting the world and healthcare, which is only growing in importance.
    4. 4. When the Internet first became a public entity, communicators could only see the potential as another advertising or PR channel. For many, a website was simply and electronic version of the company brochure. Not only have the numbers increased, but the whole mode of operation has changed. The Internet is not a broadcast medium, it is a dynamic and lively place for information exchange.
    5. 5. When looking by market, there are clear patterns and differences between the fast growing emerging web markets such as the Far East and India compared with the more established web markets like the United Kingdom and Europe. The Western developed countries have stabilised in behaviour; tending to maintain a relatively common spread of usage between social networking, entertainment, and researching.
    6. 6. This becomes quite clear when comparing to other emerging markets such as Russia and Brazil. Note that the emerging markets are very engaged in social activity and slightly less in researching about products or services online. Whereas the UK, Germany, Japan, and South Korea have a greater focus on using the Internet for informational and researching needs.
    7. 7. In just four years from 2004 to 2008, we have seen approximately 30% increase in usage of the Internet in relation to health. These figures are based on a survey of 8,714 people in the USA, Q3 2008. Nonetheless, this is indicative of the developed world generally. Since the inception of the Internet, the US has been a useful indicator for global trends – usually one to two years ahead of the rest of the world. This gap has been reducing in the past ten years. Considering a more international example, in a global study of 5183 people across US, UK, Germany, Russia, and China: 63 percent of people said they are becoming more actively engaged in health issues; 60 percent are becoming more actively engaged with health products and services; and 40 percent are becoming more actively engaged with companies and organizations involved in health. (Edelman 2009).
    8. 8. Time to introduce a term that is used increasingly in relation to online health consumers: e- Patient Note: other consultancies create different words to explain the same thing; i.e. Edelman calls them “Health Info-entials”. They are Health Involved, Health Informed and Health Engaged... A little different to a typical Internet user – they are proactively participating in the treatment of their own condition, or that of a loved one. They are champions of finding and disseminating information to people like themselves. Information is key. In this diagram we see three concentric circles, representing the overlap of health management sites, health information sites, and social networking sites. There is a convergence taking place in the Internet between social networking and health information sharing websites, with the individual participating at the centre. Who provides the information? How accurate is the information? Who owns and maintains the information. Increasingly, the „land-grab‟ of online information provision is „health and wellness‟ – rather than „sickness‟.
    9. 9. So which countries have the most Internet users that are „e-Patients‟, as a percentage? It is in emerging markets such as China that we see the greatest engagement of „e- Patients‟ in finding health information, and making decisions based on this information. There are a variety of reasons why some developed countries do not engage more on health – including apathy, time, tradition etc.
    10. 10. Health is personal, but e-Patients are willing to share. Privacy is certainly an increasingly important issue with the Internet generally, but evidence suggests that in health there is a willingness to contribute information that may help others.
    11. 11. That said, we find that patients/consumers spend more time looking for information than they are prepared to spend sharing it.
    12. 12. The ability to research health information has an impact on the decisions made about healthcare too The question was asked; “Where do you go to find information to make decisions about your healthcare?” (Select all that apply). N=3,500 consumers in seven countries (the U.K., Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, U.S., Canada, and Australia).
    13. 13. Other studies show similar evidence that e-Patients are researching prior to undertaking a health related decision. This data is based on a survey of 4,001 people, conducted October 2008.
    14. 14. Not just research for informational reasons; these people are empowered to make different decisions. This data is based on a sample size of 2,253 US adults, Nov-Dec 2008.
    15. 15. This leads us into discussing Doctors online: Physicians have been turning to the Internet for some time. Sermo (US), Doctors.net.uk (UK), doc2doc and others are providing private networks where serious information sharing and communication is taking place. In the EU we now see 95% using the Internet for professional use.
    16. 16. More importantly, these doctors are influencing patients and consumers in the way they access information. Mainly for disease or condition awareness, but also patient support; health or lifestyle change; compliance and disease management; medicine and treatment specific information; online communities for patients with the same condition.
    17. 17. Eighty-eight percent of respondents noted that they turn to their physicians to validate online information, and the same number turn to other sources to validate information from their doctor. (n=5183, Global)
    18. 18. New technology brings controversy – change. Evidence shows that the impact of the Internet is more than a simple trend, it is a paradigm shift unlike anything the health care industry has seen before. It is at times subtle, yet is slowly and consistently impacting every aspect of health services provision. The key to it all is information, and the potential for two- way engagement with individuals. For those wanting to capitalize on the opportunities – need an informed and strategic approach. What is the role of this organization in providing information? What kinds of information will you provide? What level of two-way engagement will be appropriate? What perception does/will the consumer have of the organizational „brand‟? How can the organization tap into new insights and measurement afforded by patient communities?

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