The number of Americans using mobile phones for health information or tools reached 95 million in 2013, Manhattan Research’s Cybercitizen Health® U.S. 2013 study has found – up 27 percent from 75 million a year ago. Smartphones have become, for many, an indispensable source of healthcare information – 38 percent of online smartphone users agree that the device is “essential” for finding health and medical info.

For pharma marketers, having mobile-optimized websites is key in light of the growth of mobile health. The Cybercitizen Health® U.S. 2013 study found that consumers access health information on mobile phones at home, not just on the go, and that while adoption of mobile health apps from pharma companies is so far low, they are strongly influential for those users.

The study also shows that mobile health adoption, activities and attitudes vary greatly among the patient audiences tracked, highlighting the need for marketers to understand mobile behavior by unique therapeutic segments.

Online patient audiences who are most likely to be mobile health users:

Cystic fibrosis patients
Growth hormone deficiency patients
Acne patients
ADD/ADHD patients
Hepatitis C patients
Migraine patients
Crohn’s disease patients
Chronic kidney disease patients
Generalized anxiety disorder patients
Bipolar disorder patients

“Many pharma marketers still underestimate both the opportunity and complexity of the mobile channel,” said Monique Levy, Vice President of Research at Manhattan Research. “Many marketers will need to reset assumptions around when, where and how these devices are used for health. What’s clear is that patients are using these devices throughout the patient journey, for quick questions and deep research, and increasingly to actually manage their condition and care.”

Manhattan Research surveyed 8,605 U.S. adults online and on the phone in Q3 2013 for the Cybercitizen Health® U.S. digital health study and advisory service, which helps pharmaceutical brand marketers understand how more than 50 patient and caregiver audiences interact with online and offline channels to make health and treatment decisions throughout the care journey. The research focuses on key media and marketing topics, including mobile, social, video, websites, TV, search, and email, as well as user content needs and interests. The study also highlights which resources are most influential on care choices and how digital is driving behavior offline, such as requesting treatment from healthcare professionals.

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