- Pharmacists warn of dangers of using internet for health advice -
As the recession rumbles on Irish consumers are turning to the internet to self diagnose and seek advice on health conditions. A nationwide survey of 1,000 adults carried out by Quinn Healthcare revealed “almost half of Irish people (46%) find that the cost of attending their GP encourages them to consult the Internet for medical diagnosis“.
The National Consumer Agency puts the average cost per GP visit at an average of €51…prohibitive for the 60% of women and 50% of men under 44 who are turning to “Dr Google” for information on health issues.
Other stats from the survey include:
- 45% would use a phone service or web chat if GPs offered this service, with Dublin respondents being most positive on these methods of consultation (52%)
- On average 35% of the population believe the Internet is a trustworthy source of medical information, with young men being the biggest believers (48%)
- 53% of females aged between 35-44 use the Internet for a second opinion and as a tool to challenge GP diagnosis
- More than 55% of younger males, and also 54% of women aged between 35-44 would consult the Internet rather than their GP if suffering from an embarrassing medical problem
The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) posted a statement in response to this research, saying: “We are concerned at the growing trend for people using the internet to self diagnose. The information online may not always be correct and your symptoms could worsen if you are not properly diagnosed. We encourage people to drop in and ask their pharmacist first for advice.”
The IPU ‘Ask your Pharmacist First’ campaign has been running for some months now with a series of radio adverts and the launch of their website ‘watercooleradvice.ie‘. On the interactive site you can type in any health topic and the three ‘watercooler experts’ will give you their advice. The idea being to underscore that “On the internet, everyone’s an “expert” and you should ask a qualified healthcare professional (such as your pharmacist) for advice.
The most interesting stat that jumps out of this research for me is the fact that women are using the internet as a virtual ‘second opinion’, gathering information to challenge their GP’s initial diagnosis. This trend suggests training healthcare professionals in communications techniques to allow them to effectively manage the expectations of ‘e-patients’ armed with print outs from the internet will become a vital element of their professional development.
I doubt that anything will dissuade consumers from seeking information online…convenience, curiosity and cost savings will mean that the numbers of people visiting “Dr Google” is only going to increase. The focus of those operating in the healthcare sector, (the Department of Health, healthcare professionals, advocacy groups and pharmaceutical companies), should be on ensuring that accurate and engaging health education content is available for all conditions and that this is readily accessible online.
The e-patient is not going away and so healthcare must adapt to provide e-treatment.
I came across these great adverts by Australian underwear brand, Bonds, today – they’re part of the company’s “Say no to Dodgy Undies” campaign which was run in Australia a few months ago.
Not just an ad campaign, the creative was launched off the back of a survey of 1100 Australian men to find out their underwear habits. The results were a little unnerving and will make me look twice at Aussie guys from now on…
- Half of the men surveyed said they sometimes wore the same pair of underpants for two or three days in a row
- Half of the men described their undergarment collection as not being “up to scratch” – purchasing undies was low on their list of priorities and they would rather purchase burgers and beers
- 25% revealed that they left the purchasing of underpants to their partner
- 70% of the men stated that they had worn women’s underwear
Survey’s are a permanent fixture in the PR toolkit – done well a survey can grab the attention of journalists and consumers and add weight to your key messages. In this case Bonds used the survey as the foundation for their creative concepts – encouraging men to ditch their dodgy underwear. Adverts were placed in sports sections and supplements of newspapers, in addition to the early news section of the papers to ensure a broad reach.
They also ran eye-catching commercial features to out forward the survey results in an entertaining way and deliver another opportunity to reach the target audience:
A simple concept executed well. No word yet on whether Aussie men have developed ‘undie pride’ or if they’re still just turning them inside out. Groan.
If you’ve heard that before then read on.
“A Global Survey of Business Social Networking“, commissioned by Regus has revealed that 40% of companies globally have successfully used social networks to find new customers, dispelling the ideas promoted by social media critics that such online channels fail to generate leads or new business.
As a result of the success of online strategies, 27% of businesses worldwide actively devote marketing budget to social media activity in order to reach and retain customers according to the report.
Apparently size does matter when it comes to leveraging the power of social media to benefit your business…but only slightly. Smaller companies (44%) seem to have more success in acquiring new customers through online networks, as compared to medium companies (36%) and large firms (28%). This is probably due to the fact that smaller companies are more focused on retaining existing business, spending more time maintaining their network of contacts online. The fact that, for a small firm with limited budget, networking online costs nothing but time probably also plays a role in their increased success as smaller firms turn to the web to cost-effectively supplement their traditional marketing strategies.
So how are firms using these online networks?
- To stay in touch with business contacts(58%)
- Getting together with special interest groups (54%)
- Finding out useful business information (54%)
- Organising/connecting/managing customer groups (51%)
- To find a new job (22%)
Who are using business social networks most?
Perhaps unsurprisingly the ICT, Retail, Media & Marketing and Consultancy sectors were above average in their use of business social networks. Those communications-savvy businesses realise that they can’t afford not to have as strong a network online as they do offline.
Who are lagging behind?
Those businesses who are traditionally focussed on B2B communications and are heavily regulated – Manufacturing, Financial Services and Healthcare – were below average in the use of business social networks.
All that said, social media sceptics still exist. Of the 15,000 respondents across 75 countries, 34% did not believe social networks will ever be a significant method of reaching customers and prospects. However this report clearly shows that a growing number of companies are using the internet to source information, foster relationships with current customers and most importantly to generate new business. As word of successful social media strategies spreads to the sceptics its unlikely they’ll be able to keep their mouse at arms length for long…nothing changes minds like money!
Full report here.
Connect with me
- Teddy Has an Operation and I Get Chills
- Clever Usain Bolt Campaign from Durex
- Social Media Revolution – The Parody
- Bottled Water Ad Like You’ve Never Seen Before (video)
- Nobody Hanging Out on Google+?
- 60 seconds in Social Media [Infographic]
- Cyber Flashmob Attacks WSJ Facebook Page
- Is the social media novelty wearing off?
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