New York, NY– The 2015 Makovsky survey “Pulse of Online Health,” reveals willingness amongst Americans to share health data and leverage new technology in order to better their own health. It also provides key insights into how much trust different generations are willing to put into digital resources.

The perceived quality of online health information is instrumental in guiding healthcare decision-making. The stress and search cycle in which many of us live in (millennials especially) has directed our digital attention to websites that provide us with quick answers. Although quick answers aren’t always the best alternative to a proper diagnosis, the survey shows that many of us are still very likely to trust the information they provide. In fact, Americans are three times more likely to turn to WebMD over government sites such as the CDC or FDA.

“It’s amazing that, almost 20 years after it launched, WebMD has become America’s doctor. Online searches are the new house call. This survey shows Americans aren’t relying exclusively on healthcare providers or the government for health information these days, underscoring the enormous opportunity for health news organizations and healthcare companies to become go-to sources,” said Tom Bernthal, founder and CEO of Kelton.

Among the 91% of Americans that said they would use online searches for health information, the most popular searches pertain to condition management (58%), exploring symptoms (57%), and researching prescribed treatments (55%). However, Americans who have been diagnosed with a medical condition are more likely to research symptoms (41%), treatment options (26%), and specialized doctors or care facilities (18%).

Americans are also very open to the idea of visiting pharma-sponsored websites for health information. In fact, a full 80% say they are willing to. But millennials and older generations tend to place different weight on visiting these sites when they receive recommendations from healthcare professionals. Millennials tend to place less emphasis on physician suggestions and are more influenced by advertisements to visit pharma sponsored websites than those who are 66 and older.

Technology presents us with new advancements in the healthcare sector every single day. But just how willing are we to adopt these new solutions? This growing generational divide provides us with intriguing new challenges for getting the right messaging to the right people.


About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for shaping the company’s perspective on the next era of healthcare marketing. Through thought leadership, strategic innovation workshops and new products and capabilities, Leigh focuses on identifying marketing approaches that will fuel that new era and generate significant growth for clients. Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for over 17 years. She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she had several leadership roles at one of our agencies, GSW. There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business. Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes. A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice, Leigh also was recognized as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.