Docs Keep Going Online!!

Manhattan Research is a leading health care research firm and they have a preeminent annual study of physicians called Taking the Pulse now on version 8. I have been fortunate to be able to review this data for as many years as they have been releasing it and there is one trend that is consistent and now overwhelming. The fact that doctor's are going online to get medical and health related information.

In the early years the data was viewed more in a skeptical light and I think to a certain extent many doctor's didn't appreciate this Internet thing that people are going to to get information. It meant that they had to be prepared for this person armed with a stack of paper printed off from some health site and deal with the new found information or misinformation this person brought with them.

However, over the last 2-3 years I think that trend has slowly but surely been changing and you can see it changing not only in the US but Europe as well.

Via Clickz Some 60 percent of doctors in the United States use social networking sites for physicians, or are interested in joining them, and they write more prescriptions than medical colleagues who are not active in such sites.

Sermo and Medscape Physician Connect are the two largest physician-only online communities, and the chief subjects of "Taking the Pulse." In addition to interactive discussions, both offer continuing education credits, job boards, and access to medical journals. While their traffic is a blip next to sites like Facebook and MySpace -- both Sermo and the Medscape site claim to have attracted more than 100,000 physicians since launch -- they share the uncertainty facing all social networking sites as they attempt to monetize their audiences
This shift leads me to the fact Rx/Dx organizations are all trying to figure out how to be effective in B2C and B2B social media. I think the primary focus has been on the consumer, but I think it may be actually easier to implement with doctor's because it is much more controlled environment and there are fewer options to choose from.

Either way, Rx/Dx must confront how they can utilize social media in their marketing. It reflects the ongoing fragmentation of marketing and quite soon, there's not going to be "marketing" and "social media" marketing it's all going to be one thing (I actually think we're already there, but I'm being generous). So some marketing leaders are going to have to roll up their sleeves, take on some risk and figure out how they are going to deliver effective results or I guarantee you someone else will if given the opportunity. I know your competitors are.

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