Pharma insight on digital marketing, social media, mobile apps, online video, websites and interactive healthcare tools
by Dominic Tyer
Difference is most pronounced when it comes to mainstream sites such as Facebook
Doctors working in the four key emerging markets are more likely to use social media sites than their counterparts in Europe, according to a new survey.
Cegedim Strategic Data (CSD) polled 6,700 physicians and found the trend was most pronounced when it came to mainstream sites, where doctors in India led the pack with 58 per cent of those surveyed.
Facebook was generally the most commonly used mainstream social media site across most of the surveyed countries with the exception of China and Russia, where local platforms still lead.
CSD also found that Russian physicians who use public social networking sites were the most likely of those surveyed to use them to contact pharmaceutical sales reps.
However, doctors in developed countries may be more cautious of the technology, particularly when it comes to mainstream social media, as professional bodies move to issue guidelines on the area.
In the UK, the General Medical Council (GMC) has just wrapped up an eight-week consultation on doctors' use of social media and last year the British Medical Association (BMA) published practical and ethical guidance for doctors and medical students.
CSD's survey found that across Brazil, Russia, India and China - the so-called BRIC block of emerging markets - there was high use of mainstream social media, professional networking sites and online medical communities.
Use of the internet for professional networking was particularly important in India (65 per cent of those surveyed) and Brazil (56 per cent).
The only category to be led by a developed market was physicians who accessed online medical communities, with 78 per cent of Japanese physicians doing so, but the next three places were occupied by China (55 per cent), India (54 per cent) and Russia (52 per cent).
Among European doctors, the survey found those in the UK and Germany were most likely to use either online medical communities (both countries have well established physician-only social networks), or professional networking sites.
CSD concluded: “The internet is an important source of information for healthcare professionals in emerging and established markets.
“However, the study results show that physicians in Europe, particularly in Italy and France, are by far the most conservative when it comes to using public social media sites, medical community sites or the internet for professional networking, compared to physicians in the emerging markets.”
The online study was conducted between February and April 2012 and involved 6,700 physicians from a range of specialties and general practice. Surveyed physicians came from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, the USA, Japan and the BRIC countries.