Cherry Hill, NJ  The next time you see your busy doctor scratching her head in the office, there’s a good chance you might catch her consulting a colleague: Dr. Google. In the 2016 edition of their annual Media Vitals report, CMI/Compas found that 70% of all physicians consult an online search engine for medical information on a daily basis. Their search engine of choice? None other than the world leader of all things searchable: Google. When broken out by specialty, oncologists come out as the most savvy digital detectives, with nearly half of the respondents by using search engines 4 or more times each day.


These statistics barely scratch the surface of the data that this Medial Vitals report uncovered. While online queries are the most popular resource for urgent needs (defined as requiring an answer in 10 minutes or less), broader windows of time lead doctors to choose different channels for their medical information. When they have a day or two to research, more traditional means rise to the top, from medical journals and trusted websites to peer consultations and even connecting with pharma reps.


Why This Matters –


Any confirmation of the importance of traditional channels (particularly sales representatives) is encouraging news for many pharma employees, especially in light of recent trends that prevent face-to-face interactions. The survey delves deeper into the sales rep/doctor interaction, and here’s the good news: it looks like the proliferation of “no-see” offices has ground to a halt with about half of all doctor’s offices still giving pharma representatives access. The bad news: this access is no longer carte blanche; many offices restrict the times and ways their doors are open to sales professionals.


On the whole, the survey results tell a clear story: multichannel marketing is crucial. With search engines driving so much of doctors’ research, search engine optimization, a strong digital presence, and coordinated traditional channels are all needed to ensure that physicians find the information they need on their terms. As marketers fill these channels, message continuity across all platforms is crucial to build the overall story that needs to be conveyed.

About the Author:

Drew Beck has spent his entire career in healthcare — from direct patient care as an EMT in college to countless roles in pharma sales and global marketing for leading life science companies including Eli Lilly & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline. He is currently a leader on the Syneos Health Insights & Innovation team, a group charged with leveraging deep expertise in virtual collaboration, behavioral science, trends-based-innovation, custom research and global marketing insights.